Lane Kiffin Still Building Something Special At Ole Miss, But Has Earned Right To Weigh Options Like Auburn Coaching Job

In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss to Alabama, you could sense a bit of defeat in the voice of Lane Kiffin. One throw from Jaxson Dart was the deciding factor in whether the Rebels would be celebrating on the field after knocking off the Tide. It wasn’t meant to be this past weekend, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come in the future.

There certainly is a lot of chatter surrounding the Rebels head coach and the Auburn job, which there should be. Anytime a major job like Auburn opens up, Kiffin’s name will automatically be tied to it, based off the success he’s had as a head coach. This shouldn’t cause Ole Miss fans to head straight to the message boards and worry about their coach leaving. But I can’t blame them for voicing concerns.

College football is shifting. The transfer portal is the new recruiting tool that every university is using to gain an edge on their opponents. Tabbed as the ‘Portal King’, Kiffin could do the same in Oxford, where he’s looked upon as the saving grace of football. But there’s the opening at Auburn that looks enticing on the outside, before you strip down the layers of the current state.

HOT YOGA, CHURCH AND NICHOLAS SPARKS? LANE KIFFIN ENTERS NEW CHAPTER

Make no mistake, you can win championships on the Plains. It’s been done before and it will be done again, but the upcoming expansion to the SEC will make it tougher. The same could be said for Ole Miss, which has found success under Kiffin. Looking ahead to the playoff expansion, there’s room for the Rebels in this equation, even if Ole Miss is perceived by some as the lesser job of the two.

Lane Is Learning From The Past, Enjoying His Everyday Life

There comes a time where a coach has to make a decision that shows he’s learned from the past. This certainly isn’t the same Lane Kiffin that bolted for other jobs in the past. He’s grown up, matured from the ‘Joey Freshwater’ days. Over the summer, Kiffin talked about his daughter enjoying her time in Oxford, the movie nights he would have on Sundays, while also having a new sense of purpose in life.

Lane Kiffin Personally Thanks Fan For Calling Ole Miss Football 'Mediocre'
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

These weren’t just words from a guy who knows how to work the media, he meant it. Discussing his new lifestyle in August, Lane brought up the fact that he didn’t think he’d be the guy to sit around and watch a rom-com movie on a Sunday night with his daughter and friends.

“I think we all go through things,” Kiffin added. “I’ve been through a lot, I think they’re well-documented, you know divorce, firings. So now being here, daughter moving here, you kinda get out of that world, you get back in it, some things change. I didn’t think I’d be watching a Nicholas Sparks movie on Sunday night, last night with six high school girls there sitting on the couch and a dog. So I guess maybe things have changed.”

So when folks start talking about money figures and what’s best for his career, I promise you his first conversation is with his kids. He’s got a son who would love to be closer to his dad on a regular basis and a job in Oxford that allows him the downtime to enjoy his family.

LANE KIFFIN APOLOGIZES TO JAXSON DART’S MOM FOR OFFCIATING

Starting From Scratch In Auburn Or Elsewhere

It will be a strain on Kiffin’s life if he decides to move on from Ole Miss. The booster club meetings, golf outings, living in a town like Auburn comes with far more duties than being a head coach. His life would change wherever he went, whether it be the State of Alabama or even Texas. Could he turn another program around? Yes, without a doubt he could, especially with the transfer portal.

But is it worth it right now? That’s not my call to make, but it feels like the Ole Miss coach is on the cusp of something in Oxford. He’ll have a great chance at another SEC title run next season with the talent he’d have returning, along with what NIL does for the roster. But most importantly, his life is stable. For a man who has lived at 100 mph for a good chunk of his life, maybe ending up in Oxford was part of a bigger plan for him.

Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide converses with head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels. (Getty Images)

Coming off years where he would be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Lane Kiffin has turned a corner in his personal life that he credits to growing up and family. So jumping at the first offer inside the SEC doesn’t feel like the Kiffin we’ve seen over the past few years.

I say all of this and the guy could end up taking the Auburn job after the final game of the regular season on Thanksgiving day.

But to me, he has the opportunity to continue building something special in Oxford, which I promise you isn’t lost on him. Time will tell.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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  1. Lane Kiffin should stay in Oxford. …….. “Coach Prime” should take the USF job …. Jamey Chadwell should get the GeorgiaTech job … Hugh Freeze should stay at LIberty ……. Jim Leonhard definitely gets the Wisconsin job ….

    Nebraska – Auburn – Arizona State ????? I don’t care.

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