The Lane Train is on the track and moving forward at Ole Miss, but what will be the next stop for the peripatetic coach that brings plenty of media attention and laughs wherever he goes ... and at least recently, wins.
Mississippi is 8-2 this season, and still somehow in the hunt for the SEC West title, but they’ll need plenty of help. Lane Kiffin is now 13-7 in Oxford, but that follows three seasons with two conference championships at Florida Atlantic. The 46-year-old seems to have turned things around, and his high-powered offense and ability to attract media attention could breathe life into plenty of programs.
So the question is two-fold: Will Kiffin leave Mississippi, and if so where will he land?
SLATER SCOOP: Lane Kiffin would leave Ole Miss for the University of Miami if the Hurricanes head coaching job were to open, multiple sources close to Kiffin tell me.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) November 18, 2021
As Lane himself has said, he’s already got a home in the area from his time at FAU. The Hurricanes appear ready to spend a few more dollars this cycle, and with athletic director Blake James now fired, the board and boosters could be more in control of this process than usual.
For a team that could use a jolt, Tha U might be a perfect landing spot. And Lane’s house is about as faraway from the Hurricanes home stadium as the Coral Gables campus is.
Staying in the division is probably not ideal for Kiffin, who learned via golf ball what spurned SEC fan bases think of those that leave them for greener pastures. Kiffin would have more money and resources in Baton Rouge, plus first dibs on talent in one of the most productive high school football areas in the country.
But LSU is a very political job that can be difficult to navigate. And with the recent scandals coming out of the Tigers athletic department, he might not be the best fit anyway.
The Prodigal Son returning to Heritage Hall is a script that writes itself in Tinseltown. Lane was famously fired on a tarmac at LAX in 2013, resulting in a meme for generations and the nadir of what was considered one of the most promising careers in all of football. But after a few years in Nick Saban’s Home For Wayward Coaches, Kiffin clearly has learned plenty on how to turn a big-time program into a winner.
But can he really come home? Are the famously meddlesome donors in a program that’s been as dysfunctional as any this century willing to let bygones be bygones? And is he a fit with athletic director Mike Bohn, who might be chasing the guy he hired at Cincinnati in Luke Fickell anyway?
We’ll all have to wait to see what station the Lane Train ends pulling into in a few weeks.