Lane Kiffin is headed back to the SEC as the new head coach at Ole Miss, the university announced on Saturday.
Kiffin comes to Ole Miss from Florida Atlantic. The Owls beat UAB 49–6 on Saturday afternoon to win the Conference USA championship, and the Rebels announced Kiffin's deal following the game.
Kiffin had also been linked to the job vacancy at Arkansas and met with both Ole Miss and the Razorbacks this week in Boca Raton, Fla.
FAU went 26–13 in three seasons under Kiffin. He took the FAU job following a brief stint as an assistant at Alabama and a 28–15 stretch as the head coach at USC.
In January of 2007, the Raiders hired the 31-year-old Kiffin, making him the youngest NFL head coach since 1946. He struggled, however, during his brief tenure in Oakland, going 5–15 in only 20 games. Kiffin then returned to college to lead Tennessee for one season.
He will be replacing Matt Luke, who was fired on Dec. 1 following a third straight season without a bowl appearance.
A number of Ole Miss players reportedly "stormed out" of the meeting in which athletic director Keith Carter told players Luke had been fired. After the meeting, junior offensive lineman Chandler Tuitt said “half the team” is talking about leaving, adding that if the entire coaching staff is dismissed, he doesn’t think many players will stay with the program.
Sources told Sports Illustrated that Kiffin will not retain offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez.
According to 247Sports, Ole Miss has the No. 37 recruiting class in the country for 2020 and the 11th-best class in the SEC.
Kiffin, 44, will look to help the Rebels make their first bowl game since 2015-16 when the school beat Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.