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.


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.

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.


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.

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 is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series. Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football "Credit Card Scandal" along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.