Football: FAU shakes up coaching staff after historic season

Head football coach Lane Kiffin hired three new assistants to his staff


FAU head coach Lane Kiffin is handed the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl trophy during the trophy ceremony after FAU’s 50-3 victory Saturday night. Alexander Rodriguez | Features Editor

Wajih AlBaroudi, Contributing Writer

When FAU kicks-off its 2018-2019 football season against the defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners, there will be a new trio of coaches patrolling the sideline.

FAU head football coach Lane Kiffin added three new members to his staff with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr.,  safeties coach Wes Neighbors and offensive line coach John Garrison.

Weis Jr.(the son of former Notre Dame Fighting Irish head football coach Charlie Weis Sr.) is now the youngest offensive coordinator in FBS at 24-years-old. He served as an offensive analyst for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2015-2016 under then-Alabama offensive coordinator and current FAU head football coach Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin hired Weis Jr. to be the Owls tight ends coach in Dec. 2017, but Weis Jr. left shortly after his arrival to become an offensive assistant for the Atlanta Falcons.

Weis Jr. won a national championship in 2015 with the Crimson Tide and helped the Falcons reach the divisional round of the 2018 NFL playoffs.

Weis Jr.–who will coach quarterbacks along with his offensive coordinator duties–expressed excitement about his arrival to FAU.

“Heading on down to #SoFla to see some big time ballers!!! Let’s get it!! #OWLin” Weis Jr. said in a Jan. 17 post on his Twitter account.

Neighbors joined FAU’s coaching staff following a five year stint as a defensive analyst for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Neighbors joins his brother Connor Neighbors–assistant strength and conditioning coach–on the Owls staff.  With head coach Lane Kiffin and his brother Chris Kiffin, the team’s defensive coordinator, there are now two pairs of siblings coaching for FAU.

Neighbors signed to play defensive back for Alabama in 2008 but injuries derailed his career. He began coaching for the Crimson Tide after he stopped playing.

Neighbors came to FAU after he helped Alabama rank top five in FBS for total defense each of the past three seasons, including its No. 1 ranking among all FBS teams last season.

Garrison is tasked with leading a unit losing two first-team All-Conference USA selections in guard Roman Fernandez and center Antonyo Woods.

Before coming to FAU, Garrison served as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at UNLV. In 2016, Garrison led the Runnin’ Rebels offensive line to a school record for least sacks allowed in a season (10).

Garrison started his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska. Garrison was an assistant on the Nebraska Cornhusker staff from 2008-2014 and was promoted to offensive line coach in 2013.

Garrison was the starting center for the 2001 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team that advanced to the national championship game.

The Owls are hoping to build off of last season’s success where they went an undefeated 8-0 in conference play, won their first ever C-USA championship and third bowl game in school history.

Wajih AlBaroudi is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @WajihAlBaroudi