It wasn’t long in the South before we all came to ask the same question: What’s Lane Kiffin smoking?
Now there’s a better question: What are all the guys who are HIRING Lane Kiffin smoking?
He was a mid-level assistant at USC. Then Oakland’s Al Davis hired him to be the Raiders’ head coach. (It’s possible Davis actually thought he was hiring Kiffin to mow his lawn because he often gets confused. But we’ll never know).
Kiffin went 4-15 with the Raiders. He parlayed that into a $2.375 million contract at Tennessee.
Then he went 7-6 at Tennessee. He parlayed that into (ready for this?) a $4 million per year salary at USC.
For the record, Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett holds an undergrad degree in sociology, not economics.
Word of Kiffin’s $4 million salary apparently is included in an HBO “Real Sports” story on the coach, according to the Orange County (California) Register. That is almost as high the $4.4 million earned by Pete Carroll, who actually won something (one outright national title, one shared, seven Pacific 10 titles in eight years).
As far as I can tell, these are the coaches in Kiffin’s salary neighborhood:
1. Mack Brown, Texas: $5.1 million.
2. Les Miles*, LSU: $4.1 million. (Reportedly has clause in contract that automatically pays him $1,000 more than the next highest-paid coach in SEC.)
3. Nick Saban, Alabama: $4.1 million.
4. Urban Meyer, Florida: $4 million.
5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: $3.925.
6. Jim Tressel, Ohio State: $3.5 million.
What do all six of those coaches have in common?
They’ve won national championships.