After finishing off one of the most thrilling rides of his coaching career, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin tried to figure out his next move after the team buses left University of Phoenix Stadium without him.
"My bus is leaving," Kiffin told reporters in Glendale, Arizona, as he watched the four team buses pull away, according to FoxSports.com. "That's not good. ... They're leaving right now. Crap."
The Alabama team buses aren't here anymore. Lane Kiffin is. pic.twitter.com/CoerIM49VA
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) January 12, 2016
Kiffin, who was talking to reporters after the Crimson Tide won the national championship with a 45-40 victory over the Clemson Tigers, tried to catch the bus and asked officials to try to stop it, but it was no use. And the irony wasn't lost on him.
"First, I get fired on the tarmac, and now I get left behind at the national championship," Kiffin said, referring to his dismissal as USC coach at a private Los Angeles airport on Sept. 29, 2013.
Just this week, Kiffin shared some insight into the details of the USC firing, which he calls "the lowest part of my career, by far."
When USC's charter plane landed in Los Angeles, the coaches and players boarded buses to return to campus. Associate AD J.K. McKay came on the bus and asked Kiffin to come off the bus because athletic director Pat Haden wanted to talk to him. He was fired, and Kiffin wasn't allowed to ride the bus back to campus and had to get a ride home from one of USC's security personnel.
On Monday night, however, the story had a happy ending.
After wandering around the stadium, Kiffin returned and entered a vehicle, which just happened to be waiting for Alabama coach Nick Saban as he was wrapping up his postgame interviews. Saban on Tuesday said he usually misses the team bus after games and is the fallback ride for anybody else who does.
"Hey," Kiffin told reporters. "It is what it is."
Said Saban: "We enjoyed having him with us."
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) January 12, 2016
ESPN staff writer Brett McMurphy contributed to this report.