There’s a good chance that you haven’t spent much time thinking about Lane Kiffin over the last three years, during which he had been serving as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Not that the OC job at Alabama is particularly low profile, it’s just hard to get noticed when Nick Saban and scores of All-Americans are on campus every day. But if you’ve missed having Kiffin in the news, if only because it feels good to hiss, “Fuck that guy!” every time you hear his name or catch sight of him, I’ve got good news for you. Lane fucking Kiffin is back.
Kiffin’s currently getting ready for his first season as the head coach at Florida Atlantic University, a career move that can most generously be described as diagonal given the pay cut he’s taking and the fact that the FAU is nobody’s idea of a powerhouse. This hasn’t stopped Kiffin from getting right back into the spotlight, and he appears to be just as hatable as he ever was.
Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel has done us all the favor of compiling a fresh batch of Kiffin quotes and anecdotes to be scoffed at. Thamel tagged along with Kiffin as the new head coach went house shopping in Boca Raton; the two talked a lot about the now 41-year-old Kiffin’s newfound maturity, and Kiffin, according to Thamel, liberally deployed the third person when talking about himself.
So what has the new, mature Lane Kiffin learned? For one, he’s figured out that having a hot wife (now ex-wife) is a good way to get people to hate you:
Kiffin is captivated by the Kiffin Factor. “There’s this age thing about me being so young, and I think there was something about Layla being so attractive,” he says. “There was something in there to where it became, O.K., we don’t like him.”
He’s also picked up some killer jokes:
He pauses for a minute. He’s been trying to be boring, reimagined and remastered. He thinks out loud. “Should I tell my joke?”
He can’t help himself, a classic Kiffin trait, and proceeds: “I used to say there’s a constantly daily battle between who can take more of my money between Layla and Obama.”
And he’s learned how to do math:
He continues with a bit of fuzzy math: “I figured it out. I really don’t make any money. I pay around 52% in taxes. Layla gets 34.5% in the divorce, and [agent Jimmy Sexton] gets 3%. I make [about] 9% and I’m living in Tuscaloosa.”
According to Thamel, Kiffin’s price range for a new house is $3 to $5 million.
But the biggest lesson newly wise Lane Kiffin has learned is that you have to be very careful about who you choose to surround yourself with:
He brings up the potential of hiring Art Briles, something he considered but never brought forth as an idea to his future bosses. (Kiffin hired Art’s son, Kendal Briles, as his offensive coordinator.) “I came to the decision that’s not at this time the best thing to do, even in a smaller role,” he says of Art Briles. “Because I thought it through. Risk versus reward. There’s too much risk in that. Now you have protesters in your game and at your stadium because you hired Art. That’s not worth it.”
Clearly the problem with hiring Art Briles is the fact that any school he works out will be beset by annoying protesters, and not the fact that he presided over a program that spent years actively ignoring and covering up sexual assaults committed by Baylor football players. It’s so great to see Kiffin heading into his next coaching job with such a clear perspective.