Cougars Luckily Missed Out on the Lane Kiffin Circus

Cougars get ready to play some football.
Cougars get ready to play some football. Jackson Gorman
Lane Kiffin failed as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. He fled Tennessee after just one season. He failed at USC. Lane Kiffin has left every football team he was the head coach of in worse shape than it was when he arrived.

Lane Kiffin, the son of long-time (and well respected NFL assistant coach Monte Kiffin) is one of those legacy kids who keeps getting high-profile jobs because of his name. He's like Kyle Shanahan and Jim Mora, Jr., Mike Nolan, and David Shula except that he has accomplished way less than they have.

Al Davis famously called Kiffin a liar. The University of Tennessee had to deal with sanctions after he left. USC fired him at the airport following USC’s return to Los Angeles following a loss. Nick Saban fired him just before the NCAA Title game last year because he was a distraction.

In the aftermath of Tom Herman's departure from the University of Houston last year, there were rumors that Lane Kiffin was going to be named as his replacement. Kiffin was then offensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama and he would supposedly make sure that the Cougars kept using a high-flying offense. But UH wisely passed on Kiffin, who was instead hired by Conference USA bottom dweller Florida Atlantic University.

The Cougars were supposedly never serious about Kiffin, and that's a very good thing. Tom Herman may have constantly sought the media spotlight, but he was nothing compared to Kiffin. Kiffin accused fellow college coaches of cheating. Kiffin’s boss at Oakland, Al Davis, accused Kiffin of constant insubordination. The relationship between Kiffin and Saban was also testy. Kiffin, a supposed offensive genius, is best known for sending his kicker out to attempt a 76-yard field goal when he coached the Raiders.

Major Applewhite is an unknown commodity when it comes to being a head coach. But he seems calm, mature and level-headed. He seems to be that type of coach who prefers his team's actual play on the field to be his calling card. He's different than Tom Herman, and he seems to be way different than Lane Kiffin.

The controversy has continued with Kiffin since he got the FAU job. For some reason he hires Kendal Briles, the son of Art Briles and himself someone caught up in the Baylor scandal. Then Kiffin was immediately linked to the Ole Miss job when Hugh Freeze was fired in a prostitution scandal last month. And just this past weekend Kiffin and Kendal Briles bragged about consulting with Art Briles since the Kiffin offense is similar to Briles' offense.

“Obviously, [Art Briles has] done unbelievable things on offense,” Kiffin told the Florida media. “It’s his system that he started years and years ago. Every once in a while, I’ll text or call him and bounce something off of him.”

Kiffin has since tried to walk this back, claiming this is all the fault of the media for making up a story based on his actual statements. But seriously, if you yourself are a scandal-plagued coach trying to salvage your career, is associating with Art Briles in any form really the way to do that? While he's at it, why doesn't Kiffin just put in a call to whatever prison Jerry Sandusky's residing in and ask Sandusky for advice on the best way to deploy linebackers?

The overhype that never delivers. The crazy sex scandals. Flash over substance. This is so stereotypical that it could only happen in Florida, which means that Lane Kiffin and FAU are a match made in heaven, or rather, Florida's version of Hell.

This three-ring circus could have been yours UH. You could have been dealing with the lunacy that follows Lane Kiffin from job to job. You could have had to explain away connections to the Briles family. You could have to deal with rumors of your coach departing before even coaching a game. But now all you have to worry is just playing football.
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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal