Florida Atlantic names Lane Kiffin new head coach
Florida Atlantic University has appointed a head football coach with extensive college and professional coaching experience to accelerate development of its ambitious program and help transform college football in South Florida.
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Kiffin joins the FAU Owls from the University of Alabama where, as offensive coordinator, he aims to help the Crimson Tide become back-to-back NCAA national champions. He also helped guide Alabama to the Southeastern Conference Championship. Kiffin was a 2014 finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, which is given to the country’s best assistant coach.
FAU President John Kelly said Kiffin has coached at the highest level and brings to Boca Raton a winning mentality.
“Lane will change the face of college football here,” Kelly said. “Our players will respond to him, our recruitment drives will respond to him, and our fans will respond to him. FAU Stadium will be the home of college football in South Florida.”
Kiffin, 41, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and played quarterback for the University of California, Fresno. In college football, he also has coached for the University of Southern California, including a period as head coach, and the University of Tennessee. He has coached in the National Football League for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and in 2007, the Oakland Raiders made Kiffin the youngest head coach in NFL history. As a position coach, Kiffin has coached two Heisman Trophy winners.
While he remains focused on his role with the Crimson Tide, Kiffin said he is eager to begin the next phase of his career with the Owls.
“After meeting numerous times with President John Kelly, Anthony Barbar, Abdol Moabery, Dick Schmidt and Pat Chun, it was obvious the commitment here at Florida Atlantic is to take this program to the next level,” Kiffin said. “I’m very honored and humbled for Florida Atlantic to give myself and our staff an opportunity to build a championship program here. There’s no timeline for championships, but there is a commitment to go to work every day to get there.”
Previous FAU head coaches include NCAA national championship winner Howard Schnellenberger, and, most recently, Charlie Partridge.
FAU Vice President for Athletics Pat Chun said Kiffin has an opportunity in Boca Raton to define his legacy. With a ceremonial groundbreaking in January for the new Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence, made possible by a Schmidt Family Foundation gift, the largest gift in FAU history, Kiffin will be given all the tools he needs to succeed.
“Nobody wanted to be the head coach of Florida Atlantic more than Lane Kiffin,” Chun said. “He emerged as our top candidate because of his conviction and belief in FAU. He impressed us with his humility and plan to demand excellence out of our student-athletes. We are excited to have a coach of his caliber lead our program.”