Lane Kiffin contrasts coaching in Tuscaloosa compared to LA and Boca Raton

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday March 10, 2017

When Lane Kiffin was at USC, he liked the big city, relaxed feeling where he could go outside and not get mobbed by fans, compared to all attention he drew in Knoxville.

Now at FAU, he has the same feeling compared to Tuscaloosa.

“There are times where you put a hat on or want to be normal. It depends where you live, too,” he said on The Herd. “Back here, Manhattan Beach (Calif.), it’s a lot more like that, where people leave you alone and you do your own deal. Boca is definitely like that for sure.

“I can go the whole day here and get stopped maybe by two people who say something. If you’re in more of a football driven place like Alabama, I don’t think I even went to a grocery store, because you’ll be there for two hours, a line of pictures and stories.”

But there’s also a positive to the attention sometimes.

“(It can be) great, because they’re so passionate about the football program and places like that,” he said, “but you’re not going to be normal, so it is what it is.”

Back in 2013, Kiffin said there was a five-month period he didn’t go to a restaurant, grocery store or anything in Knoxville. In college towns, the football programs are the biggest celebrities around. At Alabama, Kiffin was spotted around town, which people noted on social media. In a place like Boca Raton, people have a different ranking of priorities.

"(In Knoxville), my daughter was having a birthday party. She wanted to go to this restaurant, and my wife said I had to go. So I go,” Kiffin said in 2013. “My parents were there, and we had some presents for her. We're opening the presents at the side of the restaurant, and Tennessee fans walk up, right in the middle of my daughter opening the presents, 'Hey, coach, can you come over and take pictures with us?' I did it, because I understand that's part of the Tennessee fans. They're so passionate. There wasn't an understanding of what was going on."

The flip side is that Kiffin is tasked with creating more support for the program, meaning ticket sales and donations. A strange Signing Day video only does so much.

FAU opens spring practice on March 21.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to