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Report: Kiffin, Ole Miss in negotiations about coaching vacancy

A person familiar with the negotiations says Ole Miss is working to hire Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin to be its next head football coach.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday night because negotiations were ongoing and Kiffin still has a game to coach.

Florida Atlantic faces UAB in the Conference USA championship game at home Saturday in Boca Raton, Florida. The Owls are looking for their second C-USA title in three years under the 44-year-old Kiffin.

Ole Miss fired coach Matt Luke last Sunday after three seasons. Ole Miss would be Kiffin’s fifth head coaching job, fourth in college, during a tumultuous career.

Kiffin was hired at 31 to coach the Oakland Raiders in 2007, making him one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history. That lasted 20 games. He did a one-year stint with Tennessee, and then three-plus seasons at Southern California. Kiffin was fired five games into his fourth season at USC, let go in the early morning hours after a Saturday night loss at Arizona State.

Kiffin landed at Alabama as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban in 2014 and helped the Crimson Tide win the national championship in 2015. It ended awkwardly in Tuscaloosa, too. Kiffin departed Alabama just days before the Tide played Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff championship game.

Kiffin is 60-34 as a college head coach, including 25-13 at FAU.

Kiffin’s success at Florida Atlantic has made him a popular name in coaching searches. In addition to Ole Miss, he has been rumored to be a candidate for the head coaching job at Arkansas.

Kiffin’s salary at FAU is about $1 million per year. He could make three or four times that much if he heads back to a spotlight job, a salary level that FAU simply can’t compete with.

Kiffin was asked plenty this week about his future and about speculation that he might be ready to head back to the SEC. He didn’t shed much light on the topic, plus said he hasn’t talked to his team about what the rumor mill is churning either.

“I’ve never addressed that,” Kiffin said earlier this week. “Maybe I’m wrong, but no matter where I’ve been, whatever’s been going on, I’ve never addressed that with the team. … It is what it is. And if you get mentioned for a job, it’s usually because you’re winning and a product of your coaches and players doing really well.”