On May 9, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin had a strong message of appreciation and support to Alabama head coach Nick Saban shared on College Sports on SiriusXM Radio — likening him to a family member and saying that because of the connection to Saban, Kiffin has special privileges to joke about the 71-year-old that others do not.
Lane Kiffin loves to poke fun at Nick Saban on Twitter, but don’t get it twisted — he has a tremendous amount of respect for the Alabama Head Coach.
Kiffin describes his relationship with Saban and why he considers him the G.O.A.T.🐐@OleMissFB | @AlabamaFTBL | @Lane_Kiffin pic.twitter.com/pr9eFe5ozy
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) May 9, 2023
“He’s like a family member where I can joke about him or something,” Kiffin prefaced before saying, “but, if someone else does, it really pisses me off.”
Kiffin was the offensive coordinator under Saban for the Crimson Tide from 2014 to 2016 before becoming a head coach once more with Florida Atlantic. They famously butted heads, and as AL.com Mark Heim recalls from a 2016 Week 2 matchup, it was in plain sight.
“Over his time in Tuscaloosa, Kiffin was on the wrong end of some heated discussions, like the famous ‘ass-chewing,'” Heim prefaced before saying, “In 2016, Alabama beat Western Kentucky 38-10, but Saban wasn’t mad the Tide fumbled and Western Kentucky scored late. With 46 seconds left in the game, Saban laid into Kiffin.”
Lane Kiffin: Nick Saban ‘Greatest College Coach’
Perhaps sending the slightest bit of shade Saban’s way in dismissing his NFL experience, Kiffin called Saban “the greatest college coach to ever coach college football” during his discussion with the College Sports on SiriusXM crew.
“I have respect for what he did for me,” Kiffin said. “First of all, I respect the guy. He’s the greatest college coach to ever coach college football because he is doing it in an era different than Bear Bryant and some of those names because of scholarship limitations compared to back then.”
Kiffin believes Saban would have even more of a stranglehold on the sport had he operated under the same rules as Bear Bryant.
“Imagine if Nick Saban had unlimited scholarships or if he could take 150 players,” Kiffin said. “Good luck, everybody else. It would be Alabama and Georgia, I guess.”
Nick Saban: Lane Kiffin a Better Head Coach Than Assistant
Back in a story published on September 30, 2021, by ESPN’s Chris Low and Alex Scarborough, Saban shared his belief that Kiffin better fit the profile of a head coach than an assistant coach based on the time the two worked together in Tuscaloosa.
“I wanted things done a certain way,” Saban said. “I wanted the coaches to meet. I wanted everybody to have input, and that was not his style. Some of the other coaches complained to me about it, and I always said that Lane would be a much better head coach than an assistant because when you’re a head coach and you know what you want to do and you’ve got organized people around you, you really don’t need to be that organized.”
Kiffin is 23-13 at Ole Miss through three seasons (2020-2022) and owns an 84-47 record overall as a head coach.