Florida Atlantic University hired Lane Kiffin as head coach with the belief that the controversial, oft-fired Kiffin had finally learned to stop pissing people off. They were wrong, of course—Kiffin managed to burn his bridges at Alabama just weeks after taking the FAU job, leaving the Tide just before the National Championship Game in what was laughably described as a "mutual decision."
OK, but pissing off Alabama (and USC, and Tennessee) is one thing, and anyway, those schools aren't exactly rivals of FAU. All local fans in Boca Raton needed Kiffin to do was recruit without getting under the skin of the power brokers of Florida high school football.
Welp. Kiffin has already fostered a feud with Miami-Booker T. Washington coach Tim "Ice" Harris, who is upset with the new coach for rescinding a scholarship former FAU coach Charlie Partridge had offered to prep linebacker Isaac Readon. We all know that players tend to get jerked around by regime changes, but the longtime high school coach did not appreciate the way Kiffin went after other Booker T. Washington players without first clarifying the status of Readon, according to OwlAccess.com:
"Kiffin 'was calling about another kid and then he said they hadn't evaluated (Readon) yet and they didn't know if they were going to get him or not,' Harris said.
A well-respected coach who's won three state titles, including the high school national title at Booker T. Washington in 2013, Harris is currently in his third stint as the Tornadoes coach. He didn't like Kiffin's answer.
'When you say, 'We're not sure,' that's code for 'No,'' Harris said.
So Harris took a stand.
'I had no comment on other players,' Harris said. 'I wanted to make sure we cleaned up the problem with (Readon) first.'"
Kiffin never did clean up the problem; instead he sent an assistant to inform Readon—who had remained committed to FAU while Harris kept other interested schools away—that the scholarship was pulled. Ten days ago.
This isn't the first instance of Kiffin ignoring former FAU commits: Blythewood (S.C.) tight end Roger Carter and Tallahassee-Leon defensive tackle Jalon Sheffield also claimed they were never contacted by the new coach.
And then there's Orlando Dr. Phillips' D.J. Charles, who according to the Orlando Sentinel was semi-informed that FAU would not be honoring their commitment in the most bizarre way possible: by Kiffin's brother (and defensive coordinator) Chris sliding into the recruit's DMs.
"[Chris Kiffin] actually had reached out to me. He followed me on Twitter, so I followed him back and then he hit me up on DM, saying, "Hey D.J., what's up?" … and then he asked me, "Why did I decommit from FAU."
Charles never decommitted and whether it was all a ruse to give FAU leverage to pull his scholarship, we'll possibly never know, but that's how it was presented to Charles.
"I said, 'I never posted anything saying I decommitted from FAU,' and I told him, 'I was just wondering why I hadn't heard from anybody since the new coaching staff came in,'" Charles said.
"And then he said he'd have to get with Coach Kiffin [the head coach] and have him watch my film and he'd get back to me soon. A couple days later I asked him [on Twitter] if there was any update, and he was like, 'Let me find out today.' So I guess he never got with Coach Kiffin and it was left at that."
Charles' father finally got the official news—no scholarship—when he reached out to the athletic office by phone. National Signing Day is February 1, by the way, and many schools already have their scholarships spoken for.
It's nice to see that the Kiffins are on the cutting edge of finding ways to screw over high school kids. Local recruits are already getting a taste of the Lane Experience, and if the coach doesn't finally figure out how to maintain proper working relations, he may once again find himself out of a job.