This time of the year in college football is glorious. Top teams vying for playoff spots hope to fall into the committee’s good graces if they don’t control their own destiny. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some programs are looking to pry away other high-profile coaches. Auburn is in the latter, similar to USC and LSU last season, and it seems the consensus top candidate is Lane Kiffin.
The eccentric Ole Miss head coach has been mentioned as Auburn’s No. 1 choice, but we know how these rumors can be just that, rumors. During the last hiring cycle, everyone thought the Bayou Bengals would land Lincoln Riley but instead ended up prying Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, where he left as the winningest coach in program history. That’s a splash. And stealing Kiffin away from Oxford would be an equally impressive hire.
Kiffin has established himself as one hell of a recruiter and one of the brightest offensive minds in college football, and Auburn could easily give him superior resources compared to Ole Miss. In no slight to the Rebels, the Tigers have more emotional and financial support from its boosters and fans. Ole Miss is undoubtedly in the upper echelon of college football programs, but Kiffin has made no mistake regarding his displeasure of the support he gets compared to other top universities in the country.
He’s commented about students and fans not showing up to games, likening games in Oxford to high school ones. Kiffin has also commented on losing D.J. Durkin to Texas A&M because of a lack of funds while also mentioning NIL funds aren’t where they need to be. Despite that, recent reports have suggested Ole Miss is making Lane Kiffin an offer he can’t refuse.
According to Richard Cross of SporsTalk Mississippi (no connection to the superior SportsTalkATL), the Rebels have presented Kiffin with a deal that’d make him one of college football’s ten highest-paid coaches. That report is a bit misleading, though. Kiffin is only $300K away from reaching that status. So, there has to be more than just getting into the top ten.
If Ole Miss beats Arkansas and Mississippi State, Kiffin will have led the program to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in more than 60 years. Yet, the Rebels boosters and AD can’t keep that man happy. The 47-year-old Kiffin is under contract through 2025, earning at least $7.25 million; however, he should be making more, or at least given a bigger budget for his coaching staff, upgrades in facilities, etc.
Auburn would happily give the high-profile coach those things. A 300K raise seems purely speculative because if Ole Miss is serious about retaining Kiffin, they’ll give him a substantial raise, improve NIL funds, retain assistants, and upgrade facilities. Money talks, and it seems Kiffin will be getting a raise one way or another this winter.
Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire