KNOXVILLE – Former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin is coming back to the SEC.
Alabama hired the ex-UT and USC head coach to be its offensive coordinator, the team confirmed through its official Twitter account on Friday evening.
Kiffin was fired from USC on Sept. 29 of this season after the Trojans fell to 3-2 on the season after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State. He worked as an offensive consultant for the Tide during bowl season and head coach Nick Saban quickly made the hire after former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier accepted the same position at Michigan earlier in the week.
The son of legendary NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Lane Kiffin took over for former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer in late 2008. He briefly invigorated the Vols with his recruiting prowess and his brash and sometimes rule-bending style.
He was 7-6 in his one season (2009) in Knoxville, helping the Vols post their best record in the last five years. But his hasty departure, paired with his regular run-ins with the NCAA rulebook, made him a vilified character in East Tennessee.
He was hired at USC on Jan. 13, 2010, the night before the spring semester was set to begin at UT that year. His departure left early-enrollee recruits, in addition to the rest of his highly-acclaimed class of 2010, in limbo going forward.
Derek Dooley, Kiffin’s successor at UT, was able to salvage some of the 2010 class, but the damage Kiffin did and the instability his departure caused have harmed UT all the way up to the present day.
Kiffin did, however, have one of his finest moments as a head coach at Tennessee at Alabama. He led a near-upset bid at then No. 2 Alabama in what turned out to be a 12-10 victory for the Tide. Tennessee’s potential game-winning field goal was blocked as time expired.
Though Kiffin’s career as a head coach has been spotty, he did have a highly-successful run as USC’s offensive coordinator in 2005-06, helping lead some of the most prolific offenses in college football history.
His pro-style scheme should mesh well with the style of offense that Saban normally utilizes in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee and Alabama play in Knoxville on Oct. 25 of this season.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga