Reports: Lane Kiffin tells Ole Miss players he plans to return to coach the Rebels
OXFORD, Miss. — Early Wednesday evening, our sources began saying Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin had met with his team, ahead of Thursday’s Egg Bowl and informed them he intends to be their head coach for the 2023 season — “unless something changes.”
The message to his team directly contradicts numerous reports that Kiffin was definitively leaving to become the head coach of Auburn.
We confirmed with three independent sources — two players and one parent of a player — that Kiffin indeed indicated Wednesday evening to the players he is staying at Ole Miss. However, it’s important to note that others inside the room say they heard somewhat of a caveat in the “unless something changes” phrasing.
After his talk to the team, it does appear more likely now that Kiffin stays, as opposed to how things looked even as recently as Wednesday morning when rumors of a done deal were rampant.
But at this point, frankly, anything is possible until there is actually a signed contract extension. If Kiffin remains Auburn’s top choice, will AD John Cohen do all he can to get Kiffin to the Plains? Definitely. But what we do know, at least for now, is what Kiffin told his team the night before the Egg Bowl.
This all comes after what can only be described as a roller-coaster ride — and that is putting it mildly. After Bryan Harsin was fired on October 31 as the Tigers’ head coach, rumors begin circulating that Lane Kiffin was Auburn’s top target.
As time went on, the smoke grew. Several outlets reported Kiffin held Zoom interviews with Auburn last week, with one reporter tweeting Kiffin planned to step down as the Rebels’ coach on Friday and head to Auburn. Kiffin denied that tweet was accurate.
The numbers bandied about for Kiffin’s potential salary at Auburn have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Ole Miss reportedly offered Kiffin somewhere in the neighborhood of 9.5 million per year, an increase of two million per year over his current salary.
On Tuesday, the Grove Collective reported surpassing its revenue goals for 2023 of over $10 million in NIL funds raised — far exceeding what had been reported by national media in their various narratives that Auburn had far more NIL money than Ole Miss.
Thank You Rebel Nation! We have surpassed our 2023 revenue goal of 10+m dollars in NIL funding for our student athletes. This would not have been possible without your support, trust and generosity to the Grove Collective. We are LOYAL Rebels and have proved that, regardless…
— The Grove Collective (@grovecollectnil) November 23, 2022
With so many questions yet still unanswered, what we do know for sure is Ole Miss and MSU kick off at 6:00 pm Thursday in the Battle for the Golden Egg at Vaught-Hemingway. It should be a heck of a game as always.
Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk as we bring you updates on all the action — on and off the field!
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.