Kiffin coaching quarterback Matt Barkley during a game
May 9, 1975 |
Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Fresno State (assistant)
Colorado State (OL)
Jacksonville Jaguars (OQC)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
Lane Monte Kiffin (born May 9, 1975) is currently the head coach of the University of Southern California Trojans college football team. He previously served as offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans from 2005–2006, head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders from 2007–2008, and head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. Kiffin was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he was with the Raiders, and for a time was the youngest head coach of a BCS Conference team in college football. He is the son of longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who is the Defensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.
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 as a quality control assistant for one year. He was then hired by Pete Carroll as a tight ends coach at USC.
USC Trojans Assistant Coach 
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.
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 (However, in June 2010 the NCAA retroactively declared Reggie Bush ineligible for the entire 2005 season, and forced USC to vacate all of their 2005 wins, resulting in a record of 11-3, 79% wins). 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 and LenDale White), and a 1,000 yard receiver (Dwayne Jarrett). Steve Smith fell a few yards 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.
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), and signed Kiffin to a two-year deal worth about $4 million with a team option for 2009. Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden was 32 when he was elevated to the head post by Davis in 1969. Davis had 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 vehemently opposed the selection of JaMarcus Russell. After being drafted with the first overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Russell held out until September 12, and didn't make his first start until December 2, long after the season was effectively over.
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.
Departure from the Raiders 
On January 25, 2008, it was reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Davis, who was not known for being patient with his coaches, tried to force Kiffin to resign after his first season ended with a 4–12 record. 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. However, the Raiders denied the story, while Kiffin refused to comment.
On September 15, 2008 NBC Sports reported Davis was unhappy with Kiffin, and intended to fire him as soon as the following Monday or Tuesday. On September 30, 2008, Davis fired Kiffin over the telephone. 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 would terminate his contract immediately without paying the $2.6 million that was left on it for 2008. Kiffin later added in an interview with ESPN that he was not proud to be associated with Davis's accusations and was actually more embarrassed for Davis than himself. The Raiders subsequently released a letter Davis sent to Kiffin on September 12 which warned him that he was on the verge of being fired for "conduct detrimental to the Raiders," including repeated instances of making excuses and outright lies. Kiffin's post-firing press conference was cancelled. Kiffin filed a grievance against the Raiders, claiming that he was fired without cause, but on November 15, 2010, an arbitrator ruled that Davis did indeed have cause to fire Kiffin. Kiffin's short tenure as the Raiders' head 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.
Several of his former Raider staff expressed interest as Kiffin began assembling his new staff at the University of 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.
Despite the animosity between the Raiders and Kiffin, he released a statement following Al Davis' death in October 2011 stating that although their relationship had not ended well, he appreciated the opportunity Davis had given him and had "nothing but the greatest respect" for the late Raiders owner. 
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. UT formally introduced Kiffin as the school's 21st head football coach on December 1, 2008 in a 2:00 p.m. news conference.
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. 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.
Kiffin led the Vols to a 7–6 record in 2009, an improvement from their 5–7 record in 2008. The Vols increased their offensive output by more than 60 percent in 2009 with Kiffin calling the offensive plays. Highlights included wins over South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. 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. After one season as coach, Kiffin left the Vols during the 2010 recruiting season to accept the head coaching job at the University of Southern California.
Remarks and accusations 
On February 5, 2009, Kiffin accused Urban Meyer, the former head coach of the Florida Gators, of violating NCAA recruiting rules while at a Tennessee booster breakfast at the Knoxville Convention Center.
|“||"I'm going to turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin told the crowd. "As Nu'Keese (Richardson) 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."||”|
While Kiffin accused Meyer of violating NCAA rules, he incidentally violated a Southeastern Conference rule that prevented coaches from mentioning a recruit by name, and his accusations against Meyer were mistaken. Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive issued a public reprimand to Kiffin due to the comment. In addition to the public reprimand by Slive, Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley issued a statement demanding a public apology from Kiffin. Kiffin issued a public apology one day after making the comment. In a statement released by the University of Tennessee, Kiffin wrote, "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."
Kiffin generated further controversy when he told recruit Alshon Jeffery 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." Kiffin denied making the statement however the incident was corroborated by Alshon Jeffery's coach Walter Wilson who was listening to Kiffin's remarks on speakerphone.
Departure from Tennessee 
Kiffin's departure for USC in 2010 after just one season as head coach of the Volunteers upset some students and fans of the University of Tennessee. When Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton was asked for an assessment of Kiffin's tenure coaching the Volunteers, he responded with just one word: "Brief." Hundreds of students rioted on campus at the news of Kiffin's departure. Knoxville police and fire department were brought in after students blocked the exit from the Neyland Thompson Sports Center and started several small fires.
USC Trojans 
In June 2010, after a prolonged four-year investigation into whether former USC running back Reggie Bush and his family had accepted financial benefits and housing from two sports agents in San Diego while he was a student athlete at USC, the NCAA imposed sanctions against the Trojan football program for a "lack of institutional control," including a two-year postseason ban, the loss of 30 scholarships over three years, and the vacation of all wins in which Bush participated as an "ineligible" player, including the 2005 Orange Bowl, in which the Trojans won the BCS National Championship. These sanctions have been criticized by some NCAA football writers, including ESPN’s Ted Miller, who wrote, “It's become an accepted fact among informed college football observers that the NCAA sanctions against USC were a travesty of justice, and the NCAA’s refusal to revisit that travesty are a massive act of cowardice on the part of the organization.”
2010 season 
In 2010, his first season at USC, Kiffin's Trojans team finished the season 8–5 but were ineligible for post-season play due to the NCAA sanctions. After the NCAA issued a guideline allowing current USC juniors and seniors to automatically transfer from USC without having to sit out a year, several USC players left before the start of the 2010 season, including Malik Jackson and Byron Moore to Tennessee, Travon Patterson to Colorado, D.J. Shoemate to Connecticut, Uona Kaveinga to BYU, and Blake Ayles to Miami, among others. Seantrel Henderson, who had signed a letter of intent to USC, was granted a release by Kiffin and immediately enrolled at Miami. Both Kiffin and former head coach Pete Carroll publicly referred to this NCAA-transfer exception as "free agency" because it allowed current USC players to be targeted for transfer opportunities and granted them immediate eligibility at their transfer destination. USC played the 2010 season with just 71 scholarship players, some of whom were redshirt candidates who did not play, instead of the normal NCAA allowance of 85 scholarship players.
Season highlights included a 48–14 win over the California Golden Bears in which Matt Barkley tied the USC record for touchdown passes in a game by completing five in just the first half to put the Trojans up 42–0 at halftime. After losing to rival Notre Dame for the first time in eight years, USC bounced back to close their season with a win over cross-town rival UCLA to retain the Victory Bell. Quarterback Matt Barkley returned after missing the previous week and threw one of the team's two touchdown passes. Allen Bradford led the Trojans by gaining 212 yards rushing and catching a 47-yard touchdown pass.
2011 season 
In 2011, Kiffin coached the Trojans to a 10–2 record (7–2 in the Pac-12), despite being ineligible for post-season play for the second-consecutive season. On May 26, 2011, the NCAA's Appeals Committee upheld the sanctions against USC, after ruling that the use of precedent was not allowed under NCAA Bylaws, so the USC football team could not participate in the Pacific-12 Football Championship Game (although they held the best record in the South division) or play in a bowl game during the 2011–12 season. The BCS announced June 6, 2011, that it had stripped USC of the 2004 title, though USC still retains the 2003 and 2004 AP National Championships.
Season highlights included road wins against the California Golden Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Oregon Ducks. Kiffin's Trojans lost in triple overtime to the Stanford Cardinal, who were led by Andrew Luck, but they bounced back by winning their last four games and defeating the UCLA Bruins 50–0 at the Coliseum, which extended the Trojans victory streak against the Bruins to five.
USC ended the season with two thousand-yard receivers (Robert Woods and Marqise Lee), a thousand-yard rusher (Curtis McNeal), and a 3,000-yard passer (Matt Barkley) for the first time since the 2005 season, when Kiffin served as offensive coordinator.
2012 season 
Kiffin for the first time became a voting member of the USA Today Coaches' Poll, but he resigned after just one vote amidst controversy over his preseason selection of USC as No. 1. After being informed that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez had voted the Trojans as the top team, Kiffin told reporters, "I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that much." However, USA Today, citing the need to "protect the poll's integrity", revealed that Kiffin had voted his team for the top spot. Kiffin apologized and explained that his comments were from the perspective of an opposing coach voting for USC.
During the 2012 season, Kiffin became the first coach since 1964 to take the pre-season #1 ranked team to unranked by the end of the season. Further, Kiffin presided over the first team in college football history, University of Southern California, to have ever done this more than once. Prior to 2012, the last time USC went pre-season ranked #1 to unranked is 1963.
Family and Personal Life 
Kiffin 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 resigned as the defensive coordinator on Lane's staff at USC and recently was hired for the same position with the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1994 Kiffin graduated from Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota and committed to Fresno State University. He played backup quarterback for the Fresno State Bulldogs and gave up his senior season to become a Student Assistant Coach at Fresno State, where his position coach was former University of California Head Coach Jeff Tedford. He graduated from Fresno State in 1998 where in addition to football, he played basketball and baseball.
Lane and his wife Layla, who is a University of Florida alumna, have two daughters named Landry and Pressley. In January 2009, Layla gave birth to their first son, Monte Knox Kiffin. He named his son Knox after Knoxville, Tennessee, in honor of the University where he served as head coach. Kiffin's brother, Chris, was a defensive lineman at Colorado State University and is the current defensive line coach for Ole Miss  Kiffin's father-in-law, John Reaves, is a former NFL quarterback who played his college football for the Florida Gators.
Head 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||–||–||–||–|
|Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (2009)|
|2009||Tennessee||7–6||4–4||T–2nd (East)||L Chick-Fil-A|
|USC Trojans (Pac-10/Pac-12 Conference) (2010–present)|
|2011||USC||10–2||7–2||1st (South) ‡||‡||‡||6|
|2012||USC||7–6||5–4||T–2nd (South)||L Sun|
|USC:||25–13||17–10||‡ Ineligible for Pac-12 title, bowl game and Coaches' Poll|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Kiffin gets 4 million – Yahoo Sports
-  Kiffin headed to USC
- "Youngest NFL Coaches (Modern Era)". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- Jones, Jason. Kiffin turns attention to future, The Sacramento Bee, January 1, 2008
- Mortensen, Chris. Raiders coach refuses to heed Davis' call to resign, ESPN.com, January 25, 2008
- Raiders deny report they asked Kiffin to resign. Fox Sports. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- ESPN: "Sources: Raiders finally fire Kiffin, consider promoting assistants". Retrieved 2008-09-30.
- Raiders' owner describes in great detail firing of Kiffin ESPN
- Al Davis' letter to Kiffin
- Kiffin to Give Deposition for Grievance Yahoo Sports, March 14, 2009
- Kiffin Denied Grievance, November 15, 2010
- "Raiders assistant leaves to join Kiffin with Vols".
- "Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin on Davis’ passing".
- "UT Selects Lane Kiffin as 21st Head Football Coach".
- "Kiffin to receive $2 million plus bonuses in 2009".
- "Kiffin introduced as UT coach; will make $2 million in 2009".
- Gene Wojciechowski (2009-02-06). "Kiffin's mouth earns him a penalty". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- "Kiffin Reprimanded". Southeastern Conference Media Relations. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-12.[dead link]
- "Foley Statement:No Violation". GatorCountry.com – ESPN.com network. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Associated Press (2009-02-06). "Kiffin apologizes for jab at Meyer". Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about incident
- ESPN.com article about incident
- Mercurynews.com article
- MSNBC article about incident
- Scout.com article about story
- "KUT Students Riot Over Coach's Departure". Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "Kiffin's departure creates hard feelings and uncertainty at Tennessee". USA Today. January 13, 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "Kiffin bolts Tennessee to coach USC". Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "NCAA sanctions against USC". The Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2010.
- Jay Bilas, "Anyone know what NCAA's standards are?", ESPN.com, July 1, 2010.
- Bryant Gumbel, "Student/Athlete Behavior", Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, September 21, 2010.
- Bryan Fischer, " Trojans never stood a chance after taking NCAA's best shot", CBSSports.com, May 26, 2011.
- Pete Fiutak, "USC paying for NCAA's inconsistency?", FoxSports.com, May 26, 2011.
- Stewart Mandel, "What USC's sanctions mean for Ohio State", SportsIllustrated.com, April 27, 2011.
- Miller, Ted. "What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 14". Pac-12 Blog. ESPN.com.
- "Matt Barkley's 5 TD passes ties USC record in rout of Cal". ESPN. 2010-10-16. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- "Allen Bradford's 212 rush yards, 47-yard TD catch carry USC past UCLA". ESPN. 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- Erick Smith, USC 'vehemently' disagrees with NCAA's rejection of appeal, USA Today, May 26, 2011
- "BCS strips Southern California of 2004 national championship", Erick Smith, USA Today, June 6, 2011
- Moura, Pedro (August 13, 2012). "Lane Kiffin relinquishes voting duty". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012.
- Lane Kiffin leaves Vols for Trojans
- "Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has new son".