The perfect head coaching job for Alabama’s Lane Kiffin


Editor's note: This is an excerpt from Stewart Mandel's Mailbag. To submit questions, email


With some time and evidence that Lane Kiffin can manage an offense, do you think that both Raiders and USC fired Lane for issues beyond his control? Also, they fired him in the middle of a season so we never got to see if he could have produced teams. Do you see any schools that would take the risk of hiring him as head coach? I think he should stay at Alabama for a few more seasons.

— Jim Shilander, somewhere

Those organizations fired Lane because he was a bad head coach. Had he stayed at Tennessee I’m sure that marriage would have ended in similar fashion.

Kiffin in fact is the embodiment of something I’ve been espousing for some time, which is, there’s very little overlap at this point between the skill set necessary to be a good coordinator and the skill set necessary to be a good head coach. No question, he’s one of the absolute best in the business at devising an offensive game plan, calling plays and developing quarterbacks. But all of that takes place mostly behind the scenes. The head coach is a public ambassador for his program, and Kiffin has repeatedly demonstrated in public that he can’t get out of his own way.

But make no mistake, he’s going to get another head coaching job, likely after this season. Alabama keeps winning, and CBS keeps showing him on the sideline. His ability to get Jalen Hurts playing at such a high level as a true freshman becomes another line on his resume.

It’s not going to be anywhere near as glamorous as Alabama, but I can think of one possibility for sure. Fresno State, his alma mater, is 1-6 and all but certain to fire Tim DeRuyter. It would be the perfect low-profile job at a program where he can win, further restore his image and possibly springboard back to the Pac-12 in a few more years.