Update: Rumors of Kiffin’s hiring were greatly exaggerated as Houston announced that current offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has been promoted to head coach on Friday.
Houston received a bit of a gut punch when head coach Tom Herman bolted to take the big job at Texas at the end of November. The Cougars have recovered from what was a shock (or not depending on who you ask) and have reportedly settled on the next head coach for their program: Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin has spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Before that he held short but massively publicized positions with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders as well as the Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans in the college ranks. With a 35-21 career record at the coaching level and a clear offensive vision, Kiffin was bound to get another shot at some point and he steps in at a UH program that has been on the rise of late.
Update: As pointed by several other outlets, Kiffin to Houston is not a done deal yet.
Sources at Houston say that no head coaching hire has been approved yet. Deliberation is still ongoing regarding multiple candidates.— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) December 8, 2016
USAToday reporting Houston's set to hire Lane Kiffin.. UH source told FoxSports no decision's been made & no offer's been extended to anyone— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 8, 2016
Now, if Kiffin is actually going to Houston, what does this mean for Cincinnati’s coaching search? Not a ton. Kiffin was never linked to UC and its unlikely a marriage of the two would have been something either party wanted or something that worked out. However, there is the fact that another coaching vacancy has been filled, and this time its one in UC’s conference. With Purdue, Oregon, Texas and now Houston bringing in new head coaches, there are fewer jobs to compete with (USF and Temple being two that remain) even if the candidates for those jobs are also being snapped up.
However, for those holding out for P.J. Fleck, Neal Brown, Charlie Strong or whoever, having Houston off the board could help UC’s pursuit of one of those candidates.