How exactly did Florida Atlantic find a way to bring Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to Boca Raton — a surprising move that, for a brief moment, sent ripples through the 2016-17 coaching carousel?

FAU athletic director Pat Chun fired Charlie Partridge on Nov. 27 after three straight 3-9 seasons and immediately told the players “I’m going to bring you the best coach possible.” He had a simple criteria: head coaching experience and an offensive background.

“It was a brainstorming meeting about what’s going to be available in the marketplace,” Chun told “Once we had a specific profile, the reality is that there weren’t going to be that many guys that had that type of profile and that had head coaching experience on the offensive side of the ball, so that kind of limited our pool and really gave us kind of a targeted profile. So, that meeting was more of ‘This is the profile. These are some names I’m hearing out there. What are the names you’re hearing?’ And I think we just came together in kind of a brainstorming session about ‘Are these guys we can get?'”

Chun gave Kiffin a buzz three days after the Crimson Tide’s SEC championship win over Florida and set up a meeting with the goal of getting a “feel for Kiffin as a person and to share their vision for the program.”

The meeting lasted three hours.

“His humility was probably the thing that stuck out the most to me,” Chun said of Kiffin. “All you can do is read, and you see everything that’s out there and the comments he made in the past, but his humility is what has still stuck out most to me to this day.”

Talks with Kiffin intensified Dec. 9, three days after the meeting in New York and the same day Houston decided to move forward with Major Applewhite. A second three-hour meeting was enough confirmation for Chun to believe Kiffin was the man for the job.

“During that second meeting, we dove in deeper on what are his overarching philosophies and student athlete development, community service, impacting an institution and things of that nature,” Chun said. “… His background is pretty compelling. What he learned from coach Saban was compelling. But I think the things I liked the most was the dialogue we had about student athlete development, about community service. I was just really impressed with how he planned on managing the program, how he was planning on developing student athletes and what are the things he likes in kids when he looks for them. And that’s what I came away with (Sunday night) was that this guy has a very good plan for how to develop these kids, and we’re the best place for him to do it.”

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