The 10-year contract extension for Florida Atlantic football coach Lane Kiffin, announced in December during recruiting season speculation about Kiffin's future, is starting to look as mythical as UCF's national championship. Or, those Alabama national championships on segregated schedules.
Where the Lane Train would stop next was a hot topic after Kiffin turned FAU around with an 11-3 season that included an undefeated romp through Conference USA and 50-3 Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Bowl win against Akron. Then came the extension announcement.
When the Miami Herald put in a public records request in January for Kiffin's contract, the prompt e-mailed response from Florida Atlantic clarified, "Coach Kiffin's extension is an agreement in principle and the written details are still being worked out."
The reply to a a May 8 just-checking Herald e-mail stated the situation remained the same, five months after Kiffin retweeted an ESPN story announcing the extension. But, the school offered Kiffin's current contract, which runs until Dec. 12, 2021. Perusing that, we see:
▪ The buyout amount for Kiffin to go skippin' should a juicier job come along might have been halved in January.
Kiffin's buyout number is at $2 million until Dec. 12, when it drops to $1.5 million for the next 12 months of the contract. Each Dec. 12, it drops another $500,000.
But the clause also states, "In the event the current University President and Athletic Director are no longer serving in those capacities at any time during the term, each of the forgoing amounts are reduced by half."
Pat Chun left the FAU athletic director job for Washington State's AD job in January. So, it seems after next season, it will cost Kiffin or a school desiring Kiffin only $750,000 to buy his freedom.
▪ Kiffin earned some bonuses last season. How much remains a mystery for one of the highest-paid employees at this public university.
On the contract provided to the Herald, the bonuses for appearing in the Conference USA title game, receiving an at-large bowl game invitation and winning the CUSA title and getting invited to a non-College Football Playoff each are "TBD." Kiffin earned those bonuses.
The amounts for the bonuses Kiffin didn't earn are in the contract. Kiffin's fellow Conference USA coaches voted CUSA Coach of the Year to UAB's Bill Clark, which would've been a $7,500 bonus. Kiffin and Clark were finalists for the Football Writers Association of American Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award, but that went to UCF's Scott Frost, so that's $25,000 Kiffin didn't get.