BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Florida Atlantic has announced the hiring of Lane Kiffin as its new football coach.
The school announced the move on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after Alabama coach Nick Saban said his offensive coordinator was leaving to take over the Owls. It's the fourth opportunity for Kiffin to be a head coach, after an NFL stint with the Oakland Raiders and college ones at Tennessee and USC.
"We will work every day to create a championship environment by the way that we work," Kiffin said at his introductory event.
Kiffin arrived in Boca Raton on Monday night. He will return to Alabama to continue running the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide's offense in the College Football Playoff, which starts Dec. 31 with a semifinal game against No. 4 Washington.
"It was very obvious that Florida Atlantic is committed to winning and committed to doing it together," Kiffin said. "We will make great things happen. For us to do the impossible, we have to see the invisible."
At Alabama, Kiffin was part of a program that has been ranked every week and no lower than No. 3 in any of the last 21 installments of the AP Top 25. At FAU, he inherits a program that has won 15 games in the last four years and has never received a single vote in the AP poll.
"The school in the world that is trending most on Twitter in the last 24 hours is FAU," school president John Kelly said.
The Owls went 3-9 in each of the last three seasons and haven't been to a bowl since 2008.
"Obviously an important day in Florida Atlantic history," FAU athletic director Patrick Chun said, after Kiffin emerged for the news conference — greeted by applause from boosters and dressed in a gray suit and crimson tie, colors more akin to Alabama than FAU.
Kiffin said he will incorporate the lessons he learned in his three seasons under Saban at Alabama, and he had a message to any recruits who may be listening: "The doors are open today."
Kiffin will be the fifth coach in FAU history, after Howard Schnellenberger, Carl Pelini, Brian Wright and Charlie Partridge. His first home game as the coordinator at Alabama was against FAU in 2014.
Kiffin went 5-15 with the Raiders in 2007 and 2008. He was the head coach at Tennessee in 2009, going 7-6 before bolting for USC — where he went 28-15 in parts of four seasons.
Kiffin met with the FAU players on Monday night, about two weeks after Chun met with them to tell them why he fired Partridge and promised them that he would deliver the best coach to lead FAU forward.
"Last night I was able to present to our team the best coach possible," Chun said.