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Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin: ‘Ridiculous’ Black coaches don’t get more opportunities to become head coaches

Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin wants to see change on the sidelines and expressed as much to reporters on Saturday as the Rebels get set to play Mercer in about three weeks.

Kiffin was asked about giving wide receivers coach Derrick Nix the chance to act as the head coach for the team’s scrimmage. Kiffin said he wanted to give Nix the “opportunity to see what it’s like.”

He then talked about wanting to see more minority head coaches in the NFL and college football.

Lane Kiffin in 2022

Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels during the Mississippi State Bulldogs game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Nov. 24, 2022, in Oxford, Mississippi. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

“I remember my dad telling me a long time ago to be very grateful for what you have, because this has not been a good profession at all for minorities,” Kiffin said, via the Clarion Ledger. “He used to say all the time, ‘I’m just telling you, there’s more Tony Dungys, there’s more Lovie Smiths, there’s more Mike Tomlins that never get the opportunity.’”

Kiffin’s father, Monte, was a longtime NFL and college coach before he joined Ole Miss as a player personnel analyst under his son. He was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator that produced a Hall of Fame defense with Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch. Monte Kiffin worked under Dungy for some of those years. Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith and Jim Caldwell were among the assistants.

“I just hope Black coaches that don’t get opportunities start getting opportunities, because it is ridiculous,” Lane Kiffin added. “We’re talking about two major conferences right here in this area. Whatever it is – 80% of our players are minority, but we’ve got all White coaches. It’s really a system that needs to be fixed.”

Nix, who is Black, is in his 16th season on the Ole Miss staff. He spent 12 years as the team’s running backs coach and is entering his fourth as the wide receivers coach.

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Derrick Nix on the sideline

Ole Miss Rebels assistant coach Derrick Nix gives instructions during the Texas A&M Aggies game on Oct. 29, 2022, at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. (John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He said people like Kiffin are important in opening the door for more Black representation on the sidelines.

“I think as time goes on, I think the door will continue to open up wider and wider,” Nix added. “I’ve kind of told myself, I would love to be able to get to the highest level and be able to do that, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Control the controllables, you know?”

Kiffin broke down how important it is for a longtime assistant, such as Nix, to get the experience in the head coach’s chair.

“To give someone the opportunity to speak in front of the team, to handle media, to handle pregame meal, to handle injury reports, to get out there today to manage the kind of scrimmage, which is like a mock game that way, I think was really good for (Nix),” Kiffin said, via Saturday Down South.

“And again, you can’t see how good somebody is until they get a chance to do it. That would be my wish out there to ADs and presidents and universities to understand that, and this is a good example.”

Lane Kiffin at SEC Media Days

Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin speaks during Southeastern Conference Football Kickoff Media Day, July 20, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ole Miss’ season begins Sept. 2.

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