Kiffin’s candidacy for Auburn’s vacancy reached a crescendo last November, so much so that would-he-stay-or-would-he-go drama became the story of Egg Bowl week.
And Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl isn’t ready to let him forget it.
“Bruce Pearl interrupted my dinner two nights ago down here and said we could have been buddies again,” Kiffin said Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings. “Other than that, I really don’t spend any time” evaluating that decision.
Kiffin spent one season as Tennessee’s football coach while Pearl coached Vols basketball, before Kiffin skipped town for Southern Cal in January 2010.
Kiffin, 48, said as he’s gotten older, he doesn’t worry about things he can’t control. He files second-guessing a career choice in that category.
However, throughout the years, he has pondered what his career would have been like had he not left Tennessee when he did.
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In this case, Kiffin says he experiences a visual reminder of his decision’s effect. Kiffin’s daughter, Landry, lives with him. She recently graduated from Oxford High School, and she’ll attend Ole Miss.
“I have a daily reminder with a daughter who lives with me that I would have had to move away from – and not just live with me now, but she’s going to Ole Miss,” Kiffin said. “It makes that pretty easy.”
Ole Miss is 23-13 in three seasons under Kiffin, highlighted by a Sugar Bowl appearance to culminate the 2021 season. After receiving a contract extension and raise, he’ll earn $9 million this season, putting him in elite company on the national pay scale.
Auburn, in a move that shows the small world of college coaching, hired Hugh Freeze, the former Ole Miss coach.
The current Ole Miss coach says his sights are set on what’s ahead.
“Once you make a decision, you aren’t going back,” he said.
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