BOCA RATON – During his first day on the job, new FAU coach Lane Kiffin told six assistant coaches that they would no longer have an on-field job with the Owls, sources have told OwlAccess.com.
Following his introductory press conference, Kiffin met with each FAU assistant coach individually.
He informed offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Travis Trickett, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Roc Bellantoni, running backs coach Jared Allen, tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Chris Hurd, defensive line coach Terrance Jamison and secondary coach Ben Strickland that they will not be retained on his staff.
It is not unusual for a new head coach to re-construct a coaching staff with coaches of his choosing.
Trickett interviewed at Georgia St. on Tuesday and multiple media outlets are reporting that he will be the Panthers’ new offensive coordinator.
As offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Trickett was the primary recruiter of East Mississippi C. C. quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who signed with FAU on Tuesday.
Kiffin elected to keep offensive line coach Garin Justice, cornerbacks coach Corey Bell and wide receivers coach Dan Shula with the Owls – at least for the time being. Once Kiffin hires his coordinators they will meet and re-evaluate the trio.
Justice has only been with the Owls for one season, but it was one of the most trying seasons any FAU position coach has ever endured. The Owls’ offensive line was decimated by injuries, with five linemen suffering season-ending injuries and another handful that were sidelined for a game or two.
FAU elected to keep all the assistants on staff after the firing of coach Charlie Partridge. Despite the lack of a head coach, Justice turned out to be a force on the recruiting scene. He landed a commitment from Blinn College offensive tackle Hanner Shipley, but Shipley later flipped to Louisiana Tech, citing the uncertainty in the Owls’ coaching staff. Shipley signed with the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
Bell quickly became one of the key recruiters for Partridge, bringing scores of talent north from the Miami area to Boca Raton. Two years ago, on Signing Day, he flipped nickel back Ocie Rose from FIU to FAU. On last year’s signing day linebacker Rashad Smith surprised by signing with the Owls, foregoing his previous commitment to Syracuse. Both players became starters as true freshmen.
Kiffin is also considering keeping wide receivers coach Dan Shula. Grandson of former Hall-of-Fame coach Don Shula, Dan’s wide receivers under performed for much of the 2016 season.
While Kalib Woods enjoyed a breakout season, no other wide receiver caught more than 24 passes. All FAU wide receivers combined caught only nine touchdown passes.
Trickett is the second former assistant to accept a job away from FAU. Allen, a former start quarterback for the Owls who has been with the program as a coach or off-the-field assistant since 2009, has accepted a job outside of football.
Kiffin returned to Alabama Tuesday night to coach the Alabama offense through the playoffs. The Crimson Tide are considered to be the favorite to win this year’s college football playoff.
He said on Tuesday that much of the hiring process, including interviews, would take place in Tuscaloosa.
OwlAccess.com first reported on Tuesday that Kiffin hired former Alabama assistant strength and conditioning coach Wilson Love for the same position with the Owls.