New Florida Atlantic University coach Lane Kiffin is hiring Kendal Briles as his offensive coordinator, Kiffin told Sports Illustrated on Friday night. Briles served as the offensive coordinator at Baylor prior to coming to FAU. Kiffin said Briles has “agreed to join” the FAU staff as assistant head coach in addition to offensive coordinator.
Kiffin said Briles will have “full control of our offense” and handle all the gameday play calling duties. This will let Kiffin operate more as a CEO, much in the way he’s watched Nick Saban operate the past three years at Alabama.
Briles comes from Baylor, where he was suspended by the school for the season-opening game against Lamar in 2015. The school suspended Briles as a self-imposed sanction in connection to a recruiting violation, which the NCAA announced earlier this week. The NCAA stated that Briles and another Baylor assistant were attempting to find loopholes in NCAA rules to gain an advantage in recruiting. Briles is the son of former Baylor coach Art Briles, who was fired earlier this year amid a controversy over the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations and investigations.
“We were very deliberate in our decision to bring Kendal to FAU, engaged in and completed our due diligence—including speaking with people we trust who had worked with Kendal over a number of years,” Kiffin said in a statement to Sports Illustrated.
Kendal Briles, 34, is considered one of the bright young offensive minds in college football. He’s expected to run the same offense he ran at Baylor, which is hallmarked by hyper-tempo and distinctly accentuated wide receiver splits. Versions of the offense thrived at Baylor, Tulsa and Syracuse in 2016. In Kendal Briles’ first season as an offensive coordinator in 2015, he was nominated for the Broyles Award for the top assistant coach in the country. Prior to that, as Baylor’s pass game coordinator, he helped run an offense that ranked in the Top 5 nationally for four consecutive seasons.
“While at Baylor University,” Kiffin said, “Kendal helped lead offenses that were some of the most prolific in the country.”