Kiffin says he expects to return as Ole Miss coach


Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said he anticipates staying with the Rebels in 2023, even if Auburn offers him the chance to fill its head-coaching vacancy.

Kiffin was asked about his status after Thursday’s 24-22 home loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss’ third consecutive defeat to end the regular season. Kiffin, who is in his third year as Rebels coach, has been viewed as one of Auburn’s top candidates to replace Bryan Harsin, who was fired Oct. 31.

“Yes, I do,” Kiffin said Thursday when asked if he expects to return to Ole Miss next season.

Sources told ESPN’s Chris Low that Kiffin met Tuesday with Ole Miss players and told them he hasn’t accepted a job at any other school. WCBI-TV in Columbus, Mississippi, reported Monday that Kiffin planned to step down Friday and take the Auburn job. Kiffin denied the report.

Asked after Thursday’s loss about signing a new contract extension at Ole Miss, Kiffin noted that he had signed several with the school and has been more focused on the Mississippi State game. In December 2021, he received an enhanced contract with Ole Miss that increased his salary to $7.25 million this year.

If Kiffin indeed passes on Auburn, Liberty coach Hugh Freeze is likely to be pursued by the school. Freeze is 34-14 at Liberty after coaching Ole Miss from 2012 to 2017, and going 39-25.

Kiffin is 23-12 at Ole Miss and 18-7 the past two seasons.

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