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Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin
Title Head Coach
College University of Southern California
Sport Football
Conference Pac-10
Team record 0–0
Born May 9, 1975 (1975-05-09) (age 34)
Place of birth Lincoln, Nebraska
Annual salary $2 million
Career highlights
Overall 7–6 (NCAA)
5–15 (NFL)
Bowls 0–1
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Playing career
1994–1996 Fresno State
Position Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Fresno State (Positions)
Colorado State (OL)
Jacksonville Jaguars (Asst)
Oakland Raiders

Lane Monte Kiffin (born May 9, 1975), is the current head coach of the University of Southern California Trojans college football team.[1] He was previously the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers college football team, the Oakland Raiders of the NFL, and the offensive coordinator for the Trojans.


Early life

Kiffin is a 1993 graduate of Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota[2] and a 1998 graduate of California State University, Fresno. He played backup quarterback for the Fresno State Bulldogs and gave up his senior season to become a Student Assistant Coach at Fresno State University, where his position coach was current University of California Head Coach Jeff Tedford. He earned his bachelor degree in Leisure Service Management from Fresno State in 1998 where in addition to football, he played basketball and baseball.

Coaching career

Early positions

Kiffin also worked as a Graduate Assistant for one year at Colorado State University. In 1999, while he was working with the offensive line, the Rams played in the Liberty Bowl that season. Kiffin secured a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars[citation needed] as a quality control assistant for one year. He was then hired by Pete Carroll as a tight ends coach at USC.

USC assistant

Kiffin joined the University of Southern California (USC) staff in 2001 and became the wide receivers coach in 2002. In 2004, he added the duties of passing game coordinator and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2005. Kiffin also took the reins as recruiting coordinator that year, after offensive coordinator Norm Chow left USC for the same position with the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Along with these duties, Kiffin continued as the wide receivers coach.

During Kiffin's tenure with USC, he was instrumental in the development of several wide receivers and tight ends in the program. While he was there, USC produced noted talents such as NFL draftees Mike Williams, Keary Colbert, Kareem Kelly, Alex Holmes and Dominique Byrd. In addition, Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett of the 2006 USC Trojans football team were both selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft by the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers, respectively. Patrick Turner, Fred Davis and several other young new recruits such as Vidal Hazelton, Travon Patterson and Jamere Holland seem likely to continue the trend of excellence at this position. Holland transferred to the University of Oregon in 2006. Notably, Lane Kiffin also helped amass the number-one recruiting class in the nation, the past several years (as evaluated by organizations such as and

In 2005, USC head coach Pete Carroll selected Kiffin to replace Norm Chow as offensive coordinator. Despite being new to the role, Lane Kiffin helped guide USC to a 23–3 win-loss record during his tenure- an 88% win percentage. During the previous four years under Norm Chow's play calling, the Trojans achieved 41 wins and 9 losses (82%). Under Kiffin in 2005 the USC offense produced school records in virtually every dimension, averaging 49.1 points and 579 yards per game. USC’s potent offense that season became the first in NCAA history to have a 3,000 yard passer (Matt Leinart), two 1,000 yard rushers (Reggie Bush & LenDale White), and a 1,000 yard receiver (Dwayne Jarrett). Steve Smith fell a few yards short of also surpassing 1,000 yards in receiving. With an all new offensive cast at the skill positions and in what was generally viewed as a rebuilding year for USC the offensive totals fell off to 30.5 point, and 391 yards per game, and 11 wins overall, he was promoted to offensive and recruiting coordinator while continuing as the wide receivers coach. In Kiffin’s three years as recruiting coordinator at USC, the Trojans had the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in college football every year. Under Kiffin leadership in 2006, the Trojans finished first in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency by averaging 142.8 yards per game, produced two, 1,000-yard receivers – Dwayne Jarrett (1,105) and Steve Smith (1,083) – and a 3,000-yard passer John David Booty, with 3,347 yards. Injuries affected the team all year as three fullbacks went down to major injury by the third game of the year, several freshman running backs rotated as starting tailback, and wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett missed parts of the mid-season due to injury. Despite these losses and key injuries the team produced top 20 statistics in most NCAA offensive categories and concluded with a 32–18 win over the then #3 ranked team the University of Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

After an upset loss to the UCLA Bruins to close the 2006 season, eliminating USC from the 2006 BCS title game, there were reports in the news media that previous coordinator Norm Chow publicly criticized the young coordinator along with quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian. He was interviewed by the Orange County Register.

I know DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys, DeWayne Walker is a heck of a football coach, which is why I wasn't too surprised he did what he did at UCLA.[3]

Other sources however point out that Chow's comments were taken out of context in this regard and did not reflect his intended meaning. These reports indicate the following conversation ensued over the airwaves.

Host: Coach, here back in Los Angeles, USC, a couple of your proteges in Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, taking over as offensive coordinators for the Trojans, they've uh, taken a lot of heat, and Joe mentioned especially after the UCLA game. Any thoughts on those two guys and the job they've done since you left?

Norm Chow : Nah, you know I don't get a chance to follow much, you know we're so busy doing what we're doing, um, you know LenDale keeps me informed of all that but I really don't, don't know. You know I know DeWayne Walker maybe better than both of those guys and DeWayne's a heck of a football coach and that's why it wasn't too surprising when DeWayne did what he did with UCLA.[4]

The contents of the interview are available for download at KLAC 570AM radio's website[5] Kiffin, Walker and Chow were all coaches on the 2001 Trojans team.

Oakland Raiders

Raiders' owner Al Davis hired Kiffin on January 23, 2007, making him the youngest head coach in Raiders history, and the youngest head coach in the NFL's "modern era" (i.e. since 1946).[6] At the introductory news conference, Davis erroneously referred to Lane Kiffin as "Lance." Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden was 32 when he was elevated to the head post by Davis in 1969. Davis has been known to select young, up-and-coming coaches in their thirties; those hires who fared well include John Madden, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. All have won Super Bowls, though Madden is the only one of the three to win a championship with the Raiders.

Age 31 at the time of his hiring by the Raiders (32 when he coached his first game), Kiffin became the youngest head coach in National Football League history; he also surpassed the New York Jets' Eric Mangini and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin as the youngest head coach since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. On August 12, 2007, in his NFL head coaching debut, Kiffin and the Raiders won their preseason opener 27–23 over the Arizona Cardinals.

Kiffin recorded his first regular season win as an NFL head coach on September 23, 2007; the Raiders defeated the Cleveland Browns 26–24 when defensive lineman Tommy Kelly blocked a late Cleveland field goal.

At his end-of-the-season press conference, Kiffin told the media and his players that he had many plans and changes he was going to make in the 2008 offseason. When asked by his players about rumors that Kiffin was interested in open coaching positions in college football, he told them he never thought the rumors were important enough to address because he was never planning to leave.[7]


On January 25, 2008, it was reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen that owner Al Davis drafted a letter of resignation for Kiffin to sign after his first season with a record of 4–12. A source allegedly close to Kiffin told Mortensen that Kiffin would not resign, and would not sign the letter of resignation which would cause him to forfeit his $2 million salary for the remaining guaranteed year of his contract.[8] However, the Raiders denied the story, while Kiffin has refused to comment.[9]

On September 15, 2008 NBC Sports reported Davis was unhappy with coach Lane Kiffin and could fire him as soon as the following Monday or Tuesday. He was not fired until Tuesday, September 30, 2008, when Davis fired Kiffin over the telephone.[10] At the televised news conference announcing the firing, Davis called Kiffin "a flat-out liar" and said he was guilty of "bringing disgrace to the organization". The Raiders said the move was made for cause, meaning they will likely try not to pay Kiffin for the remainder of his contract. He signed a two-year deal worth about $4 million with a team option for 2009 when he took over in 2007. Kiffin later added in an interview with ESPN that he wasn't proud to be associated with Davis's accusations and was actually more embarrassed for Davis than himself.[11] Kiffin's post-firing press conference was cancelled.

Following his dismissal, Kiffin filed a grievance against the Raiders, claiming that he was fired without cause. He is seeking the two months pay for the time between his firing and being hired by the University of Tennessee.[12]

The Raiders though have responded to Kiffin's accusations by referring to Kiffin's rule violations and false accusations—made while employed by the University of Tennessee—as a pattern of behavior that occurred while employed as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Kiffin's 20 game stint as Raiders coach ended with a 5–15 record. Offensive line coach Tom Cable was given interim head coaching duties for the remainder of the 2008 season and was later made their permanent head coach on February 4, 2009.

Tennessee Volunteers

On November 28, 2008, multiple media outlets reported that Lane Kiffin would be the next head football coach for the University of Tennessee Volunteers in 2009, replacing ousted head coach Phillip Fulmer.[13][14] UT formally introduced Kiffin as the school's 21st head football coach on December 1, 2008 in a 2:00 p.m. news conference.[15]

Kiffin, 33, was hired by Tennessee and became the youngest active head coach in Division I FBS, surpassing Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.[16]

Kiffin led the Vols to a 7-6 record in 2009. Highlights included wins over Memphis, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky and MAC powerhouse Ohio. However the season was marred by losses to UCLA, Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss, as well as a 23 point blow-out loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Kiffin resigned as the head Coach less than a month before National Signing day to accept the head coaching job at USC.

Raiders feud

Several of his former Raider staff expressed interest as Kiffin began assembling his new staff at Tennessee. On December 15, 2008, Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable lashed out at Kiffin for hiring one of his assistants, James Cregg, with two weeks remaining in the NFL season. Cable called the timing of Cregg's departure "wrong in the business of coaching" and indicated he had lost respect for Kiffin and planned to confront him about it. Nothing further was said publicly regarding the incident.[17]


Kiffin signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Tennessee on November 30, 2008. The deal included $2 million in 2009, with additional performance bonuses, including a $300,000 bonus if UT competes for the national championship. His salary was set to increase over the six-year-deal, reaching a high of $2.75 million in 2014. The average salary of the deal was $2.375 million. If Kiffin had been fired in 2009 or 2010, the school would have to pay him $7.5 million under a buyout clause; after the 2012 season, the buyout clause decreased to $5 million.[18] Kiffin's contract stated that if he resigned, he would have to pay UT $1 million in 2009, with the sum decreasing by $200,000 each year of his contract.[19]

Remarks and accusations

On February 5, 2009, Kiffin accused Urban Meyer, the head coach of the Florida Gators, of violating NCAA recruiting rules at Tennessee Booster breakfast at the Knoxville Convention Center.[20]

"I'm going to turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin told the crowd. "As Nu'Keese was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says, 'Who is that?' And he looks at the phone and says, 'Urban Meyer.'

"Just so you know, you can't call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."[20]

While Kiffin was accusing Meyer of violating NCAA rules, he was actually violating Southeastern Conference rules himself and his accusations of Meyer's conduct being against NCAA rules was incorrect.[20] Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive issued a public reprimand to Kiffin over the comments.[21] In addition to the public reprimand by Slive, Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley issued a statement demanding a public apology from Kiffin.[22]

Kiffin issued a public apology a day after the remarks. In a statement released by the University of Tennessee, Kiffin said, "In my enthusiasm for our recruiting class, I made some statements that were meant solely to excite those at the breakfast. If I offended anyone at the University of Florida, including Mr. Foley and Urban Meyer, I sincerely apologize. That was not my intention."[23]

During the same speech on February 5, Kiffin said he ordered high school recruit Nu'Keese Richardson to fax his signing papers from somewhere other than Pahokee High, because: "...somebody at the school was going to screw it up, the fax machine wouldn't work or they would have changed the signatures. All the things that go on in Pahokee now." [24] According to Pahokee Head Coach Blaze Thompson, Kiffin promised a public apology for these and other remarks [25], but has not delivered.

On February 13, 2009 on a Knoxville radio show, Kiffin referred to Bryce Brown as a "great player," which the university plans to self-report as a secondary recruiting violation [26] since NCAA rules prohibit coaches from publicly commenting on recruitable athletes.

In late February 2009, Kiffin was accused of denigrating the Georgia Bulldogs recruiting efforts in the state of Georgia on a talk radio show with the Rivals network. The University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans responded that the program does not need to cheat to have success.[27][28]

According to ESPN's Chris Low “Kiffin told recruit Alshon Jeffrey that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina.”[29][30] Kiffin denies ever making that statement.[31] However the incident was corroborated by Alshon Jeffrey's coach Walter Wilson who was listening to Kiffin's remarks on speakerphone.[32][33][34]

USC head coach

On January 12, 2010, Kiffin returned to USC to become the Trojans head coach. This came following Pete Carroll's departure from USC to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.[35] On January 23, 2010 it was reported[36] that Kiffin committed his first secondary recruiting violation by picking up a recruit at the airport in a limousine. Lane Kiffin made national headlines in February of 2010, by offering a scholarship to a 13-year-old middle school quarterback named David Sills.[37]

Coaching records

NFL coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
OAK 2007 4 12 0 .250 4th in AFC west
OAK 2008 1 3 0 .250
OAK Total 5 15 0 .250
Total 5 15 0 .250

College coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Tennessee Volunteers (SEC East) (2009–2009)
2009 Tennessee 7–6 4–4 2nd L Chick-Fil-A
Tennessee: 7–6 4–4
USC Trojans (Pac-10) (2010–present)
2010 USC 0–0 0–0
USC: 0–0 0–0
Total: 7–6
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


He is the son of Monte Kiffin, a long time defensive coordinator in the National Football League, most notably since 1996 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who now serves as the defensive coordinator on Lane's staff at USC.[35]

Lane and his wife Layla, who is a University of Florida alumna, have two daughters named Landry and Pressley. On January 13, 2009, Layla gave birth to their first son, Monte Knox Kiffin.[38] Kiffin's brother, Chris, was a defensive lineman at Colorado State University.[39] Kiffin's father-in-law, John Reaves, is a former NFL quarterback who played his college football for the Florida Gators.


  1. ^ [1] Kiffin headed to USC
  2. ^ Lane Kiffin leaves Vols for Trojans
  3. ^ "Chow praises UCLA's Walker, criticizes USC's play-calling", The Orange County Register, December 21, 2006
  4. ^ "LA Media Needs More Truthfulness", College Football Resource, December 21, 2006
  5. ^ AM 570 KLAC podcasts
  6. ^ "Youngest NFL Coaches (Modern Era)". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  7. ^ Jones, Jason. Kiffin turns attention to future, The Sacramento Bee, January 1, 2008
  8. ^ Mortensen, Chris. Raiders coach refuses to heed Davis' call to resign,, January 25, 2008
  9. ^ Raiders deny report they asked Kiffin to resign, Fox Sports, 2008-01-25,, retrieved 2008-01-25 
  10. ^ ESPN: "Sources: Raiders finally fire Kiffin, consider promoting assistants". Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  11. ^ Raiders' Lane Kiffin won't talk back . . . yet Los Angeles Times
  12. ^ Kiffin to Give Deposition for Grievance Yahoo Sports, March 14, 2009
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "UT Selects Lane Kiffin as 21st Head Football Coach". 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Raiders assistant leaves to join Kiffin with Vols". 
  18. ^ "Kiffin to receive $2 million plus bonuses in 2009". 
  19. ^ "Kiffin introduced as UT coach; will make $2 million in 2009". 
  20. ^ a b c Gene Wojciechowski (2009-02-06). "Kiffin's mouth earns him a penalty". Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  21. ^ "Kiffin Reprimanded". Southeastern Conference Media Relations. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  22. ^ "Foley Statement:No Violation". – network. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  23. ^ Associated Press (2009-02-06). "Kiffin apologizes for jab at Meyer". Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  24. ^ Stacy Hicklin. "Tennessee coach apologizes to Pahokee coach". Sun Sentinel.,0,3492104.story. 
  25. ^ "Pahokee Chamber of Commerce asks for apology". Palm Beach Post. 
  26. ^ Chis Low (2009-02-14). "Kiffin commits third minor violation". Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  27. ^ Atlanta Journal article about Kiffin's remarks to UGA recruiting
  28. ^ Sports Illustrated info about Evan's remarks
  29. ^ Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about incident
  30. ^ article about incident
  31. ^ NBC Sports Kiffin denies telling recruit he’d pump gas, and Jeffrey has stated that Kiffin did not make the remark. Retrieved on 2009-03-10.
  32. ^ article
  33. ^ MSNBC article about incident
  34. ^ article about story
  35. ^ a b "Kiffin bolts Tennessee to coach USC". Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ ESPN reports 13 year old offered a scholarship by USC
  38. ^ "Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has new son". 
  39. ^

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Norm Chow
USC Offensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Steve Sarkisian
Preceded by
Art Shell
Oakland Raiders Head Coach
Succeeded by
Tom Cable
Preceded by
Phillip Fulmer
Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach
Succeeded by
Derek Dooley
Preceded by
Pete Carroll
USC Trojans Head Coach
Succeeded by

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