Lane Kiffin Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field during a timeout during the first quarter of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Back in November, Jon Sokoloff of CBS affiliate WCBI in Columbus, Mississippi caused quite a stir when he reported Ole Miss Rebels Lane Kiffin was planning to step down as the head coach at Ole Miss to become the next head coach of the Auburn Tigers, declaring rather definitively that “Lane to Auburn is happening.”

“Sources say Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is planning to step down Friday and become the next head coach of Auburn. Moments ago, sources in the Ole Miss athletic department denied that report. Sources close to Auburn say they have not offered the head coaching position to anyone at this time. So Lane to Auburn is happening. Story soon,” Sokoloff said in a tweet on Nov. 21.

Kiffin quickly and quite publically refuted that report with a quote tweet saying “That’s news to me Jon,” and continued to push back against the report with a series of tweets throughout the night.

Obviously, the report was incorrect – Lane to Auburn did not, in fact, happen. Kiffin chose to stay at Ole Miss, prompting Sokoloff to defend his initial reporting, saying it was based on “solid information” but that the information “can and does change.”

Kiffin did a pretty candid interview with ESPN for an article that ran this week where he opened up about his decision to stay at Ole Miss instead of leaving for Auburn. The ESPN article prompted a question about the decision at Kiffin’s press conference on Tuesday where Sokoloff happened to be in attendance, setting up a pretty awkward situation.

“It’s interesting you ask that on the first day I’ve seen Jon in a long time. Good to see you, Jon,” Kiffin said with a smile during his press conference, according to On3. “See, I did say (in the article) obstacle is the way, so I do find a way to turn everything positive. I appreciate Jon for creating all that chaos that he created with his false information. But that allowed us to work through it and, like I said in the article, help our collective. So really our fans and our collective should thank John for that.”

Kiffin is referencing a flurry of fan support for the Ole Miss NIL collective “Ole Miss’ Grove Collective” following Sokoloff’s report linking him to Auburn. Kiffin had long been candid about his belief that the Ole Miss NIL collective was lagging behind other schools, and the report prompted a massive influx of money to the collective.

So even though Sokoloff’s report turned out to be false, it ended up being a positive for Kiffin and Ole Miss in the long run. And despite Kiffin’s ribbing during the press conference, it’s clear there are no real hard feelings between him and Sokoloff.