With the success Dan Lanning has had in his first season at Oregon, it came as no surprise when his name emerged in a recent report from Sports Illustrated linking the football coach to the opening at Auburn.
The story indicated there was “mutual interest,” between the SEC program and Lanning, who coached at Georgia and Alabama before taking the Ducks’ job last December.
During his weekly press conference Monday night, Lanning said he is happy in Eugene.
“First, I will say things like this are going to come up when you have team success, and you do your job and things go the way they’re supposed to go. That’s credit really to our team,” Lanning said. “I think there’s a little bit of a problem in society today with people looking for what’s next and where there’s an opportunity. The reality is the grass is not always greener. In fact, the grass is damn green in Eugene.”
Oregon gave a Lanning, then the defensive coordinator for the national champion Bulldogs, a six-year, $29.1 million contract to replace Mario Cristobal. The 36-year-old has backed it up as the No. 6 Ducks are 8-1 and leading the Pac-12 as they prepare to host No. 24 Washington at 4 p.m. Saturday in Autzen Stadium.
“When you talk about things that align, things that match your vision, what you’re looking for as a head coach, Oregon checks every box for me,” he said. “I think history maybe shows this is a great place to be and not a place to leave. I want to be here.”
The Auburn job opened a week ago when the school fired coach Bryan Harsin, and for sure the Tigers will be offering big money to a coach who can make the program a contender again in college football’s best conference.
Still, Lanning said neither he nor his family are wanting to make another move.
“I want to be here in Eugene for as long as Eugene will have me,” Lanning said. “This place has everything that I could possibly want. Everything my family would ever want. I have an 11-year old that’s lived in eight different states. The last thing I want to do for everyone is leave.”
Oregon fans have been through this before as the last two coaches both left for their “dream” jobs. Willie Taggart lasted one season before packing up for Florida State. He was replaced by Cristobal, whose five-year stint ended last December when he was hired away by Miami, his alma mater.
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“Hopefully, that’s the last time I have to really address it, but the reality is this is a destination not just for me but for elite players,” Lanning said. “And why is it a destination? Because of great administration, great fans, great support, and it’s a good reason to be here and why we’re having the success we’re having.”
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