Kiffin and Nick Saban will be reunited after they were SEC foes in 2009. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Lane Kiffin is back in the SEC. Kiffin has been hired as the new offensive coordinator at Alabama, the Crimson Tide announced on Friday. The news was first reported by ESPN's Alex Scarborough.
Kiffin replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left this week after two years in Tuscaloosa for the same position at Michigan. Kiffin reportedly visited Alabama last month to oversee the Crimson Tide's offense with head coach Nick Saban.
In a statement, Kiffin thanked Saban for the opportunity to join his staff.
"We want to thank the University of Alabama and Coach Saban for this tremendous opportunity, and we feel humbled and honored to be a part of the Crimson Tide family," said Kiffin. "I've always had the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has done with his programs. Having the unique opportunity to be here last month, I was able to meet some of the great players and the great people in the organization, and I'm very excited to start working with them. We've seen the passion and support of the Alabama fans firsthand, and when that's combined with the storied history and tradition of the program, this is a very special place to coach."
The former USC coach, who was fired by the Trojans this fall after a 3-2 start, went 28-15 in four seasons in Los Angeles. Prior to taking over USC following Pete Carroll's departure, Kiffin spent one season as head coach at Tennessee during the 2009 season.
Kiffin's career hasn't worked out spectacularly as a head coach, but he has a proven track record as an offensive assistant. He spent six seasons (2001 through ’06) as an assistant at USC and was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator under Carroll in 2005 and 2006. In ’05, Kiffin’s USC offense set Pac-10 records for total offense, first downs, points scored, touchdowns and PATs, and scored at least 50 points a school-record seven times. That Trojans team was also the first to boast a 3,000-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.
Saban said Kiffin's experience is exactly why the former USC headman is making his way to Tuscaloosa.
"We are excited to have Lane join our staff," said Saban. "He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level. He has a very good understanding of the game and I have always been impressed with what I saw in the games he called. He coaches with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and also does an excellent job as a teacher. Lane will be an outstanding addition to our coaching staff and we look forward to him and his family joining us at the University of Alabama."
Given Kiffin's offensive credentials, this could end up being a smart move by Saban and Alabama. The Crimson Tide will break in a new quarterback to replace the departed AJ McCarron, and Kiffin has experience molding talented passers. Moreover, Kiffin isn't likely to ruffle many feathers through the media with his newest gig, either.
With Kiffin back in the SEC, Alabama's visit to Tennessee on Oct. 25 gains a lot of intrigue. It will be Kiffin's first return to Knoxville since leaving the Vols for USC in January 2010.