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Fox News
Fox News
25 Mar 2023


When Auburn began its search for the program's next head coach toward the end of the 2022 college football season, Lane Kiffin quickly became the school's top choice.

In an interview with ESPN on Friday, Kiffin revealed that the criticism he received from some fans over how he handled the process had left him feeling conflicted.

For several weeks, Kiffin weighed the pros and cons between the opportunity at Auburn and his current job with the Rebels.

Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during a college football game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on November 12, 2022, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during a college football game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on November 12, 2022, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

But, Kiffin believes that he took the right approach in the midst of a difficult situation.

"We screw up all the time," Kiffin noted. "But when you think you’re doing the right thing, and then you’re really criticized for it — especially by your own people — I struggled with that because I feel like I went through a decision-making process that you’re supposed to go through."

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Three days before Ole Miss closed out the regular season, WCBI News reported Kiffin was expected to resign from his head coaching position and take the reins at Auburn's next coach.

A short time later, Kiffin took to Twitter to respond to the report by posting a picuture of him reading "The Egg Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss" along with the caption, "Just doing some late night reading ⁦@OleMissFB."

Kiffin then quote-tweeted a WCBI reporter's tweet and said, in part, "That's news to me Jon."

Ultimately, Kiffin stayed in Oxford, while Auburn decided to hire Hugh Freeze as the 31st head football coach in the school's 129-year history.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin on the sideline during the NCAA football game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 17th, 2022 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin on the sideline during the NCAA football game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 17th, 2022 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, GA.   (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Before joining Auburn, Freeze served as Liberty's head coach in from 2019-2022. 

Kiffin disclosed his intentions to remain with Ole Miss to his players before a game against Mississippi State, ESPN reported. Ole Miss went on to suffer a 24-22 lost to Mississippi State.

Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels during the game against the Central Arkansas Bears at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 10, 2022, in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels during the game against the Central Arkansas Bears at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 10, 2022, in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Kiffin did not want to say anything publicly about his decision until after the season, because he did not want to become a distraction.

But "sometimes the right thing to do doesn’t always go right in areas," Kiffin told ESPN.

Kiffin has helped turn the Ole Miss program around. He went 5-5 in his first season in Oxford, which was shortened by two games due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Rebels have gone 18-8 over the past two seasons with Kiffin at the helm.

Chantz Martin is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.