Between Coach K’s back surgery and two basketball media opps came the news you’ve probably already heard: Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced that offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will not be with the team as they prepare for next week’s National Championship game. Kiffin’s successor, Steve Sarkisian, will instead handle the Crimson Tide offense so Kiffin can “assume his duties at Florida Atlantic,” who hired him as head coach earlier this month.
The fact that Kiffin managed to get fired from a job he was already leaving is both hilarious and not surprising. Apparently, Kiffin was not juggling both jobs well, showing up late to several events leading up to the Peach Bowl last week — prompting the team bus to leave him at the Georgia Dome on Media Day — and making odd comments about how Sarkisian will probably mesh better with Saban than he did. He even “joked” to reporters last week that he couldn’t recall any fond memories from his three years in Alabama except for the “ass-chewings” he’d get from Saban.
And then there’s the bizarre feature Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel wrote about Kiffin last week in which Kiffin allowed Thamel to tag along while he house hunted in Boca Raton. If you’re looking for an in-depth look into Kiffin’s psyche using real estate analogies, take some time and read it this afternoon. Then check back with me if you’re surprised by Saban’s move.
Kiffin doesn’t pretend that he enjoyed every moment working at Alabama, as he mentions daily 7:30 a.m. staff meetings like he was forced to drink sour milk. He felt isolated in Tuscaloosa; his family didn’t move there, and his profile didn’t allow him to go anywhere socially. “This will come across wrong,” he says. “But it’s like dog years. Three years is like 21.”
I guess you have to hand it to Kiffin; his exits are never boring.