Lane Kiffin has had a successful run as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. He’s been so successful he’s whitewashed his résumé. His name has been bandied about for major head coaching jobs such as Oregon.
Just a reminder: We know what Lane Kiffin is like as a head coach. The collective memory may not be what it once was. But, Kiffin had three major head coaching jobs before landing at Alabama and ranged from moderately to wildly unsuccessful at each of them. He has one full season in college with fewer than five losses.
Kiffin spent 1.25 seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2007-08, amassing a 5-15 record. Al Davis fired him four games into his second season. There was a report Davis tried to make Kiffin resign after his first season. He wanted Kiffin fired for cause.
Less than two months later, Kiffin landed the job replacing Phil Fullmer at Tennessee. In about a calendar year, he ticked off just about everyone. He accused Urban Meyer of recruiting violations in public, told Alshon Jeffery he would end up pumping gas at South Carolina, ran up some secondary recruiting violations. Kiffin went 7-6, then left for his dream job at USC.
Kiffin arrived at USC for the postseason ban and the crippling scholarship restrictions leftover from the Carroll era. He started well. The Trojans finished 10-2 and No. 6 overall his second season. They entered 2012 No. 1 overall. But, the collapse came soon after. Kiffin lost seven of his last nine games against Power 5 teams. Pat Haden pulled him off a team bus to fire him.
In the aftermath Kiffin was so toxic Saban hiring him to call his offense was controversial.
This is not saying Kiffin has not matured during his three-year stint at Alabama. He is only 41. Sticking to offensive play-calling under Saban has been good for him. He deserves another crack at a head job.
But, that doesn’t mean Kiffin should get a clean slate. He’s no mere coordinator on this rise. His track record, at three major stops, is being a jerk without the success to excuse it. Landing the now vacant job at Houston is far more his level.