- Jonathan Bachman/AP
Just days after being spurned by the University of Houston, Lane Kiffin surprised many by leaving his position as Alabama’s offensive coordinator to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic.
The move is even more surprising when you consider that Kiffin is taking a pay cut.
Kiffin’s salary as the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama was $1.4 million in 2016. At FAU, Kiffin will have an average annual salary of approximately $1.0 million, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, and his initial salary will likely be less than that. Most head coaches in college football have incremental pay raises built into their contracts.
Kiffin replaces Charlie Partridge who went 9-27 in three seasons at FAU. Patridge had a salary of $590,000 this past season.
Kiffin’s move comes just three days after Houston surprised many by picking Major Applewhite over Kiffin to replace Tom Herman as their head coach. Earlier reports indicated that Houston was close to hiring Kiffin.
Kiffin taking the Florida Atlantic job has many wondering: is head coach of FAU really a better job than being a top assistant under Saban at Alabama?
Not only is Kiffin taking less money, but head coach at FAU in Conference USA is arguably a lateral move, at best, and possibly even a step down. At Alabama, Kiffin could have continued to learn under one of the greatest coaches of all time, while coaching far superior talent, using far superior resources, all while waiting for a better opportunity at a school in a Power-5 conference.
On the other hand, let’s just say that working under Saban is probably stressful at times. We saw that earlier this season when Saban berated Kiffin on national television with less than a minute to go in a blowout win.
Prior to becoming the offensive coordinator at Alabama, Kiffin was a head coach with Tennessee, USC, and the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.
Kiffin will remain with the Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff.