Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Familiar foes: Analyzing the Ole Miss-Alabama coaching pipeline

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin celebrates in the Rebels’ game against the Tulane Green Wave on Sept. 9 at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans, LA.

Aside from annually sharing the field, the Ole Miss and Alabama football programs often share coaches.  

It all starts with head coach Lane Kiffin. The former Alabama offensive coordinator, who is almost annually linked to the post-Saban Alabama job, has recruited a plethora of former Crimson Tide players and coaches to the Rebels staff. Here’s how Pete Golding, Wes Neighbors III and Charlie Weis Jr. have done since trading in their crimson and white in favor of Ole Miss baby blue. 

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin 

 Kiffin has had a lengthy coaching career, including stints at USC, and even some time in the NFL. The “Lane train” left Tuscaloosa in 2017 to accept the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic, landing the Ole Miss job two seasons later.  

 During his time in Oxford, Kiffin has been the engineer behind one of college football’s top offenses; in his three seasons, Ole Miss has ranked top 10 in total offense each season. Kiffin has also led the Rebel program to three straight bowl games, along with earning the program’s first 10-win season in 2021. Kiffin has also been a catalyst in the NIL and transfer portal era, as his “come to the sip” mantra has landed the top three transfer classes in 2022 and 2023. 

During his time with the Rebels, Kiffin has interacted with Alabama and Saban in many ways, including his infamous “Get your popcorn ready” interview before being thrashed by the Crimson Tide 42-21 in 2021.  


When asked about his relationship with Nick Saban, Kiffin has not shied away from showing his appreciation for his former boss. 

“I’m extremely grateful to him,” Kiffin said. “He really helped me on a really challenging time in my life. Sometimes you don’t really figure out yourself until you’re kind of torn down, you have to rebuild yourself, and I’m grateful for him being part of that process.” 

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Pete Golding 

Aside from Kiffin, Alabama will welcome back another familiar face; last season’s defensive coordinator Pete Golding returns to Bryant-Denny Stadium. Golding was with the Crimson Tide staff from 2018 until the end of the 2022 season, leaving for Oxford this past January. In his five-year tenure with Alabama, Golding led a top-20 scoring defense in each season. His defenses included consensus All-Americans like Will Anderson Jr. and Patrick Surtain II, among other stars.  

Despite moving from Alabama to Ole Miss, Golding is no stranger to football in Mississippi. Playing college football and coaching two Mississippi-based teams before accepting the Ole Miss job, Golding attributed the reasoning for his move to this prior experience.  

“My wife graduated from Ole Miss, she was born and raised in Mississippi, my mom was born and raised in Mississippi,” Golding said. “I enjoyed where I was at, I learned a ton, it had nothing to do with Alabama, this was strictly based on trying to be a better husband and a better father.” 

Ole Miss coaching assistants Wes Neighbors III and Charlie Weis Jr.  

Former assistants Wes Neighbors III and Charlie Weis Jr. will also return to Tuscaloosa for the first time on Saturday. Neighbors and Weis were assistants on both the Alabama and Florida Atlantic staffs under Kiffin.  

Neighbors played for Alabama from 2008 to 2011, being a part of two Bowl Championship Series national championship teams. He was hired for the Rebel staff in 2023, coaching the safety position under Golding and Kiffin.  

Weis graduated from the University of Kansas in 2015 and has been coaching at the Football Bowl Subdivision level since. He began his coaching career working in quality control at the University of Florida in 2011, then bounced around until becoming a co-offensive coordinator for Ole Miss in 2022. 

 Regardless of what happens on the gridiron, Alabama fans, players and coaches will have a lot of familiar faces to look at on the opposing sideline come Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.  

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