Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Lane Kiffin says God is better than 'success, fame and money'

Lane Kiffin had it all, and he had it early.

The son of longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, he had overseen USC’s powerhouse offense and become the NFL’s youngest head coach by the time he was 31. A former Fresno State quarterback himself, his resume included a multi-million-dollar contract, tutelage of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and a regular California spotlight.

Anyone who’s followed football, however, knows things didn’t exactly go as planned for Kiffin.

Twenty games into his Raiders job, he was fired over the phone by late team owner Al Davis. An ugly departure ensued, and Kiffin left Oakland not only with a 5-15 record but stern criticisms from Davis. In the six years afterward, he spent time with three different colleges, coaching for Tennessee, returning to USC and then relocating to Alabama before joining Florida Atlantic University as head coach in 2017.

Along the way, and especially amid the Raiders turmoil, Kiffin says he found a new perspective on life. And it was all thanks to God bringing some humility into his big-stage life.

“I’ll be the first one to say it: I had too much success, fame and money in life too soon,” Kiffin wrote for AthletesForGod.com. “You see it all the time … in Hollywood. (And) God wasn’t punishing me; he was just giving me a wake-up call.”

God, Kiffin says, “was humbling me to the man I am today”:

When God gives you a second chance, it’s not something you take for granted.

As the 2013 season came to a close, I had no job and no head coaching offers, and my relationship with God was a fraction of what it used to be. God gave me a second chance to redeem both …

I’ve now restarted my relationship with God and I’m using my obstacles to help others through hard times.

For the first time in program history, FAU enters 2018 ranked in Sports Illustrated‘s annual preseason Top 25 rankings. The Owls are ranked No. 25 after going 11-3 and finishing on a 10-game winning streak last season.

FAU opens up the 2018 college football season Sept. 1 on the road against No. 5 Oklahoma.

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