Sources: Kiffin, players meet amid job speculation
5: 08 PM ET
Chris LowESPN Senior Writer
- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of the University of Tennessee
Amid speculation he’s leaving for the Auburn head-coaching job, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin met with his players Tuesday and assured them that he hasn’t accepted a job at any other school, sources told ESPN.
Kiffin as a rule doesn’t respond to coaching rumors, but sources told ESPN that he felt as if he owed it to his players and their parents to formally address the situation after a report surfaced Monday by WCBI-TV in Columbus, Mississippi, that Kiffin planned to step down Friday and head to Auburn. WCBI-TV reported that Auburn has not yet offered the job.
“He told the players his focus was on Mississippi State and nothing else and that any reports out there about his accepting another offer were totally false,” sources told ESPN.
Ole Miss faces Mississippi State on Thursday night in their annual Egg Bowl rivalry in Oxford.
Sources told ESPN that Kiffin and Liberty’s Hugh Freeze are at the forefront of Auburn’s coaching search. Auburn and Alabama will face off in the Iron Bowl rivalry match in Tuscaloosa (Alabama) on Saturday. After replacing Bryan Harsin, Cadillac Williams, a former Auburn star running back, has led the Tigers’ to two consecutive wins as interim coach.
Kiffin, in his third season at Ole Miss, guided the Rebels to their first 10-win regular season a year ago. Ole Miss is 8-3 this season but has lost three of its past four games, including a 42-27 setback last weekend at Arkansas, a game in which it trailed 42-6 at one point.
Kiffin was asked afterward about being viewed as Auburn’s top target and said he was excited about the future at Ole Miss.
“So I don’t know about all that stuff out there, No. After the Arkansas loss, Kiffin said that he was No. 1 among all the candidates. “Maybe they would have seen the first half. I wouldn’t be No. 1 anymore. “
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.