The coaching carousel dominos are falling as Lane Kiffin prepares to leave Florida Atlantic to become the Ole Miss head coach. The vacancy at FAU could create one on Mark Stoops’ staff at Kentucky.
Bruce Feldman, the college football reporter for The Athletic that’s cornered the coaching carousel market, produced two names to potentially replace Kiffin at FAU: former Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
“Gran’s coached at Miami & FSU, and has long been regarded as one of the best recruiters in CFB, especially when it comes to Florida,” Feldman said.
Gran’s primary recruiting territory is in the area surrounding Boca Raton. He could hit the ground running in a C-USA program that’s played in two of the last three conference championship games. Gran is 54 years old. If he ever wants to be a head coach, this may be the time to do it.
Leaving Lexington will be a tough sell. After turning down the chance to be Georgia’s offensive coordinator, Gran was rewarded with a contract extension that will pay him $900,000 in 2020, only $50,000 less than what Kiffin made last season. With the current deal he is set to make $925,000 in 2021.
Monetary reasons aside, Gran has never had better tools to work with on his UK offense. Lynn Bowden, Ahmad Wagner and Logan Stenberg are the only significant contributors expected to depart. Terry Wilson will return with a stable of running backs, while Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen enter the quarterbacks’ meeting room.
Gran’s offenses have produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his four seasons at UK. One of the most successful runs in school history, Kentucky has won 31 games and played in four consecutive postseason bowls. He has his detractors, but keeping Gran and the rest of the coaching staff intact must be priority No. 1 for Mark Stoops this offseason.