Lane Kiffin Keeps Word, Stays At Ole Miss, Says Money Never A Factor; Auburn Turns To Hugh Freeze

A lot has been made over the past few weeks regarding the status of Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. Would the Rebels leader leave Oxford for Auburn? After Kiffin said for more than a week that he would not be taking the Tigers vacant head-coaching job, Hugh Freeze is now the main focus for Auburn.

Numerous reports stated that Lane Kiffin would be taking the Auburn job once the Egg Bowl was wrapped up. Now, Kiffin again has made it clear that he’s not going anywhere and agreed to a new contract at Ole Miss.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with money,” Kiffin told OutKick.


His new contract will average $9 million a year, with rollovers that can extend the total length to 8 years. It all will be funded through a private foundation to avoid the state law that allows only 4-year contracts for public state employees.

Auburn is turning its attention to Liberty coach Hugh Freeze after Lane Kiffin chooses to stay at Ole Miss. (Getty Images)

Kiffin told Outkick that he told his team that following the Egg Bowl, he’d be announcing his intentions to stay. And that’s exactly what he did.

“I told the team last week I would be announcing after the game I was staying because I wanted all this attention on them and not me,” Kiffin told OutKick. “The only reason any of this came up and became an issue was one reporter falsely making up that I was going to Auburn.”

Kiffin also told OutKick that his daughter Landry being halfway through her senior year of high school and loving it in Oxford was his main reason for not entertaining the offer. Having to move his family, with his son spending more time in Oxford, hoping to move there soon, Kiffin said that he is happy with his life. Whether you believe him or not, Kiffin might have fun on social media, but behind the scenes with his family, it’s a different life.

These coaching searches come with a number of different problems, especially if you’re trying to throw all your eggs into one basket. But Auburn AD John Cohen has worked the situation to the best of his ability, continuing to have discussions with other candidates about the opening. Now, Cohen is in the process of hiring Hugh Freeze, according to sources.

It Was About More Than Money For Lane Kiffin At Ole Miss

As we reported numerous times over the past few weeks, it wasn’t just about the money for Lane Kiffin. Family and a commitment to doing something the right way was always at the forefront in his mind, but he had earned the right to discuss the Auburn job. It sure hasn’t been an easy situation for the Ole Miss coach, coming off two losses, while being himself on social media. Whether you like him or. not, he knows how to make things interesting.


Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin admits he held back against Georgia Tech. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin. (Getty Images)

Yes, Kiffin has had a new contract on his desk over the past week, but in his eyes, it needed to be handled following the season finale. I will say that there are some relationships that need to be mended in Oxford with Kiffin. But when the final decision needed to be made last week, Kiffin knew that the best option for his family and his coaching career was staying put in Oxford.

A lot of folks will be turned off on how Kiffin handled the whole ordeal these last few weeks, but that’s just Kiffin. Why wouldn’t someone make sure it was the right decision and take their time in the process. Kiffin didn’t want to lie to anyone, and if you listened to him this past week, he never did.

When speaking to Kiffin before the season, he pointed out the changes in his life right now, while living in Oxford with family.

“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.”

Hugh Freeze Getting His Second Chance In SEC?

After the conversation with Kiffin came to a screeching halt, Auburn’s talks with Hugh Freeze picked up again. Hugh Freeze is hellbent on getting back into the SEC, after coaching Ole Miss from 2012-16. It sounds like Freeze will get his wish, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Don’t expect Freeze to waste his second shot in the SEC. For someone who has spent years trying to rebuild his image at Liberty, this is the perfect spot for Freeze to get back in the game. He knows the conference and will be able to recruit at Auburn. Also, he’s willing to do everything that is needed from the head coach at a school like Auburn.

This has been a whirlwind few weeks for Auburn. Now its attention is on Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Alabama and finalizing a contract with Freeze.

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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