Monday, December 18, 2017
Colleges

Alabama hires Lane Kiffin

Alabama hired former Southern California coach Lane Kiffin on Friday as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Kiffin returns to the SEC after head coaching stints with the NFL's Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and the Trojans. He replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama for Michigan.

"He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level," coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "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."

Kiffin spent a week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last month exchanging ideas with Saban and his staff and observing the offense. No terms of the deal with Alabama were released, pending formal approval by the university's board of trustees.

Kiffin, 38, was 28-15 in three-plus seasons at Southern Cal. He was fired five games into last season. Kiffin spent six seasons (2001-06) at USC under Pete Carroll as an assistant, including the final two as offensive coordinator. He also called plays during his time as a head coach. He spent the 2009 season at Tennessee, going 7-6 before leaving to replace Carroll.

"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," Kiffin said in a statement. "I've always had the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has done with his programs."

Now, Kiffin is tasked with finding a replacement for quarterback AJ McCarron, the Heisman Trophy runnerup. One potential contender, Alec Morris, posted on his Twitter page "Love it" after the hiring.

Kiffin did run afoul of SEC commissioner Mike Slive during his stint at Tennessee. After Kiffin was publicly dismissive of his second reprimand from the league, this one for criticizing officials, Slive issued a letter warning him that further such comments from he or his staff would lead to a suspension from at least one game.

FSU WR to enter draft: Kelvin Benjamin, who caught the winning touchdown with 13 seconds left in the BCS championship victory over Auburn, will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, multiple media outlets reported. Benjamin was second on the team with 54 receptions for 1,011 yards and a team-leading 15 TD receptions.

Canes staying: Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who led the Hurricanes in tackles and was projected as a potential third-rounder if he entered the NFL draft, joined defensive end Anthony Chickillo, a former Alonso High standout, in announcing they will return for their senior seasons.

Penn State coach search: University officials said they will make a "major announcement" this afternoon, likely naming Vanderbilt coach James Franklin as the Nittany Lions' successor to Bill O'Brien, who left for the NFL. Vanderbilt officials said Thursday night that Franklin hadn't made a decision, but ESPN.com reported Friday that the deal could be worth up to $4.5 million per year. O'Brien made about $3.2 million this season.

W. Kentucky Hires Coach: The Hilltoppers promoted offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm to head coach. Brohm, 42, replaces Bobby Petrino, who left for Louisville. A Louisville native who played quarterback for the Cardinals and later was on the Bucs roster (1998), Brohm also had coaching stops at Florida Atlantic, Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham. "We're going to try to stay cutting edge, be ahead of the curve and be creative," he said.

Motivated at Auburn: Coach Gus Malzahn didn't sleep in after returning from the BCS national championship game loss to FSU. Instead, he arrived at the office early Wednesday like always. Coming up 13 seconds short of a title tends to be motivating. "The future's bright. That's what I told our team … that the groundwork's laid," Malzahn said. "Once I get over the feeling of when you lose a championship game that close, you put that behind you and move forward. We'll work extremely hard to get back there and try to redeem ourselves."

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