UPDATED: 3:20 p.m. with remarks from Lane Kiffin.
Coaching FAU is no longer a part time job for Lane Kiffin.
Alabama announced today that Kiffin has left Alabama to dedicate himself to the Owls.
“After going through these last couple of weeks, trying to serve the best interests of two universities as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, it became apparent that both programs would be better served by me giving all my time and efforts to being the head coach at FAU,” Kiffin said via an Alabama press release. “After meeting with Coach Saban during preparations last night and this morning, we mutually decided that it was in everyone’s best interests for the players and the program for Coach Sarkisian to take over all responsibilities as offensive coordinator for the championship game. This was a very difficult decision, but it’s a decision made in the best interests of the program. I look forward to helping Alabama win another championship, and would like to thank Coach Saban, the staff, and all the players and fans for the past three years at UA for an unforgettable time and championship run. Roll Tide!”
Kiffin had been serving as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and FAU’s head coach ever since FAU named him its fifth coach in program history on Dec. 13.
In the weeks that followed Kiffin spent a couple of days in Boca Raton, electing to spend the majority of his time in Alabama and Atlanta helping the Crimson Tide prepare for Saturday’s NCAA semifinal game.
“I think I thought it would be easier than it was,” Kiffin told the SEC Network.
Kiffin and Alabama won the national title last year and have yet to lose this season heading into the national title game.
“We appreciate all that Lane has done for our football program over the last three years,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in the same release. “We sat down following the Washington game and talked about the time demands of managing both jobs, and we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.”
During his time away from FAU Kiffin has managed to hire about half of his coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin.
Alabama defeated Washingon 24-7 that afternoon and will face Clemson in the NCAA title game. Kiffin will call plays for that game.
Following the victory over Washington, one in which the Crimson Tide offense looked sluggish, Alabama fans took to social media to criticize Kiffin.
“Lane did the best he could,” Saban told ESPN. “It’s a difficult circumstance.”
Kiffin said he intentionally called a conservative game against Washington because the defense was playing so well.
He watched video of the game a couple times over the past 24 hours and didn’t like what he saw.
“It wasn’t anything about the in-game,” Kiffin told the SEC Network. “I was wondering, was I always there because you are bouncing to the two jobs, you are interviewing guys at night, calling recruits at night.”
It is unclear when Kiffin will return to Boca Raton to rejoin the Owls.