Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has been named as one of 15 candidates as a semifinalist for the George Munger College Coach of the Year Award, by the Maxwell Football Club on Thursday.
In just his second season at the helm, Kiffin has led the Rebels to their first 10-win regular season in program history. Ole Miss finished the 10-2 headed into the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
This season, Ole Miss’ offense leads the SEC in total offense at over 500 yards per game. The Rebels have gone over 600 yards of total offense 19 times under Kiffin after hitting that mark just 16 times in the program’s history before his arrival.
However, in year two, Kiffin proved he isn’t just a one-dimensional coach. The Rebel defense ranks as one of the top-five most-improved units in the FBS, allowing 13.3 fewer points per game this season compared to 2020.
Kiffin quickly turned the Rebels into an offensive machine in 2020, leading the program to an Outback Bowl win over No. 7 Indiana and a 5-5 record against an all-SEC schedule. Ole Miss ranked top 20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories, including having the No. 3 team in the country in total offense, shattering the school record with 555.5 yards per game. The Rebels broke the SEC record for total offense in conference games (562.4 ypg), besting LSU’s mark of 550.0 yards per game set during the Tigers’ run to a national title in 2019.
The offensive explosion by the Rebels came as no surprise, as Kiffin has shown a propensity in helping turn programs around. In his first season at FAU, USC and Tennessee, Kiffin’s team improved in win differential (+3.33), scoring (+10.2), passing (+34.5 ypg) and rushing (+51.3 ypg).
Kiffin, who won two Conference USA titles in three seasons at Florida Atlantic, has a dozen years of head coaching experience, including 10 years at the NCAA level where he has posted an all-time record of 76-41.
The 15 semifinalist will be paired down to five by the end of December and the winner will be announced on Jan. 13. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected national media.
The formal presentation of the Munger Award will take place at the 85th Maxwell Awards Gala which will be held on March 18 at Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort.