In an interview with AthletesForGod.com, Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin opened up in a way that not many people would expect. In the article that you can read here, Kiffin explains that he leaned on getting closer to God after being fired at Southern California.
Lane Kiffin has what most will define as the “American Dream”. Millions of dollars, fame, and a family. For most people, that is like winning the lottery. Houses and cars. Can’t walk out of your front door without people recognizing you. So much money that you can’t spend it. In this telling article, Lane explains that all of that good fortune wasn’t enough. He was missing something.
“I wish I could say that my relationship with God grew during that rough time, and that my isolation with all those fans brought me closer to Him, but that’s just not the truth. I was no closer to him in LA than when I arrived in Knoxville. Why did I need Him, I had everything people dream of; beautiful wife, houses, power and millions of dollars.” – Lane Kiffin
During his four year stay at USC while the program was riddled with sanctions, he posted one 10 win season and had a record of 28-15. Considering the situation he was in, 28-15 isn’t a bad overall record. If anything, that is proving that you are doing the best with what you’ve got. While at Tennessee, Kiffin was just two blocked field goals away from upsetting Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa with Jonathan Crompton at quarterback for the Vols. That’s saying something.
Life simply happened way too fast for Kiffin. He had everything too quickly. From being an NFL head coach of the Oakland Raiders at 31 years old, to coaching two top 10 college football programs (all time) is what most would consider the peak of football coaching. Think about it. In 2007 he was an NFL head coach. Then, he’s the head coach at the University of Tennessee in 2009. The next thing you know, in 2010 he’s replacing Pete Carrol at USC. That’s by far the fastest ascension of any coach that is roaming a sideline today.
“The last season was brutal. Fans were chanting “Fire Kiffin” during the games, and even at 3-2, after a loss at Arizona State, I was pulled off my team bus, in front of the players at the airport at 3 a.m. to be told I had been fired hours earlier. I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone. I wanted to die, because at the time I was defined by my job.”- Lane Kiffin
After being fired at USC, Kiffin explains that “he wanted to die”. Knowing how difficult it can be to be fired at any job, it’s not like most people’s situations. He had money. Big money. He wasn’t scrambling to find cash to eat or afford his house and car payments. He was secure. He could work at a gas station for the rest of his life and still not spend all of his money. Lane says that God helped him at one of the lowest moments of his life.
“And just when I needed Him, God answered in a big way. I don’t know if God is a sports fan or not, but I do know this: He loves a good comeback.”- Lane Kiffin
After a historic season at Florida Atlantic University where the Owls won 11 games and claimed the C-USA conference championship, life is making sense again for Lane Kiffin. Life is coming full circle. He’s found the reason. Life has finally humbled Lane Kiffin.
“My time in Boca Raton has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My journey has humbled me, and as a result I’m not this larger than life figure anymore that people made me out to be. I’m no better than anyone else, and have finally figured out why He put me through what He did. I wasn’t using my platform for Him, so He took it away.”- Lane Kiffin
While all of us are chasing our version of the “American Dream”, Lane brings reality to us all. It’s not about us. It’s about being kind and helping those who can’t help themselves. Money and fame does solve a ton of issues, but it doesn’t solve everything.
I think I can speak for the majority on this one… Lane Kiffin just got a whole lot cooler.