Where does Tennessee go from here?

 So much for taking some time off.

After 30 years in the business, not a lot surprises me any more. Lane Kiffin’s bolt for USC just three weeks away from National Signing Day surprises me. It also makes me sad. This is not a good night for college football. Some quick thoughts:

**–With this shocking decision, Lane Kiffin proved he is everything we thought he was. He used the University of Tennessee in the worst possible way.

**–The Tennessee people will not understand because USC is simply not a better job. It’s in California, which is more suited to Kiffin’s personality, but it is not a better job by any measure.

**–You have to wonder what Kiffin is thinking because, based on everything I’ve heard, USC is going to get hammered by the NCAA. I just hope he didn’t leave an NCAA mess at Tennessee that others will have to clean up.

**–Mike Hamilton, the Tennessee AD, is going to be under tremendous pressure to bring some stabilty to the program. The fact is that he got played by Kiffin. Mike is a good guy but I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes tonight.

**–There is going to be some support to bring Phillip Fulmer back. Before you dismiss the idea, just think about it. Tennessee needs stability and somebody who cares about the school, which Kiffin obviously did not. Even the people who fired Fulmer never questioned his love for UT.

**–If not Fulmer, then who? I would call Will Muschamp and tell him that Mack Brown and his new $5 million deal are not going to retire anytime soon.

**–If not Fulmer or Will Muschamp, why not David Cutcliffe? Tennessee’s quarterbacks have only been good when he was the offensive coordinator.

**–A bunch of people around the SEC are smiling tonight. Kiffin was a time bomb waiting to explode all over this league. I promise you that commissioner Mike Slive is not sheading any tears over this. Kiffin was a pain in the butt.

**–I feel for the Tennessee people. They supported this guy and were ready for the program to become a contender again. They have to feel used as well.

**–If I’m a Tennessee player, I’m pretty disillusioned right now. This is not good for college. This is not good at all.

367 comments Add your comment

Football Fan

January 13th, 2010
6:08 am

Facts are Facts…USC is a better job in a bigger market. Better recruitng abiltiy, why is he a bad guy for taking it? He did not go to UT to leave in a year but when offered a better job, took it. Why would Kirby Smart leave for UGA? It is not a better job. Brian Kelly left Cincy becase ND was a better job…Why did Reily leave SI for ESPN, better job…we ALL would leave our current employer for a better job that offers more success. I am no Kiffin fan but thecomments about him are unfair. Would Cutliff be wrong to take UT job and leave Duke? NO..better job.

Dexter

January 13th, 2010
6:16 am

now watch Kirby Smart leave for this job…hahahahahhaha

INBRED POOPHEADS

January 13th, 2010
6:26 am

Henry Reardon you are so full of yourself..CPJ pretty much won the big one in Athens in his first year with the likes of Moreno and Stafford..

why in hell would Fulmer be sitting by the phone for UT to call? What do you do for a living? My guess, make the Hardees biscuits each morning

low lives

January 13th, 2010
6:33 am

Football Fan I have a big problem with Kelly abandoning his team before Sugar Bowl. He should have stayed and been with his team for encouragement and support. Those kids at Cincinnati deserved that, they went 12 and oh. Notre Dame could have waited. He could have handled both. #hitheads in the coaching world who say one thing and do another.

The Grinch

January 13th, 2010
7:06 am

I feel for the Vol fans, but I don’t feel for the idiot who hired Kiffin. You’ve had your “sizzle”, now try for some sanity.

Cracker Jacket

January 13th, 2010
7:11 am

Vols will be after Paul Johnson! Can’t blame them!

Jim007

January 13th, 2010
7:11 am

Bottom Line….P. O. S.

I am not a Tennessee fan, but Kiffin is a Low Life POS to do that to any team after 14 months.

Jeff

January 13th, 2010
7:12 am

Thank goodness for Mark Richt. Anyone think he would leave us in the middle of the night to go back to Tallahassee. No way! All of the Richt haters, (Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz)need to realize what we have in Richt. Maybe you should stop writing articles about Richt being too nice.

UGAFan

January 13th, 2010
7:13 am

I feel for the Vol fans also, but I am glad he is gone. The guy was an embarrassment to the SEC. We are all better off without him.

Dick Nixon

January 13th, 2010
7:15 am

You poo-poo Kiffen abd rightfully so, but what about USC? What about Tennessee turning their program to an unproven left coast oddity? I hop everyone involved gets some warm NCAA loving.

d norwood

January 13th, 2010
7:23 am

Kiffin leaving is a blessing. He was going to get Tenn in trouble sooner or later. They should hire John Gruden. As a Ga fan that would scare the H.. out of me.

gomdawg

January 13th, 2010
7:33 am

Please take Kirby Smart picture off the Georgia Page

ATL AU FAN

January 13th, 2010
7:35 am

I’m obvously not a Vol fan but I am a fan of the game. I hate to see anyone act in the manner of Kiffen and Vol fans will one day be pleased with his departure (maybe some already are). UT as a whole didn’t deserve this guy and the negativity of his actions. Here’s hoping you land a quality coach that actually deserves to coach in the SEC.

OrlG8r

January 13th, 2010
7:36 am

I’m obviously a Gator fan, and I also feel for the Vol fans. They were played royally by this jerk, and don’t deserve this. I do believe in karma, however, and that Lane’s is coming round to greet him…

Hardy "Flippin" Har

January 13th, 2010
7:38 am

Out with the Kiffy, in with the Kippy. As Dennis Green so famously said, “He was who everyone told you he was … and he left you on the hook.” Apparently, Mike Garrett went up to Kiffin outside a Knoxville convenience store and said, “Lane, we got to go.”

This is the best thing to ever happen. The Vol fans drank Kool-Aid and kissed his butt for 14 months and he with his henchmen bailed out of Backwater like a prison break.

Actually, Lane was absolutely right...

January 13th, 2010
7:40 am

…when he said that UGA would never beat UT as long as he was the coach!

Let's Go

January 13th, 2010
7:41 am

It’s funny how you can say this is bad for college football but things like the NCAA allowing the corrupt BCS to still be around is OK. It’s OK to for conferences to steal teams from other conferences so they can have enough teams to put on the multi million dollar champtionship games. Kiffin had a clause that allowed him to leave for certain jobs and USC was one of them, Tenn probably never expected Pete Carroll to leave but he did.

Tony, You mention Cutcliffe at Duke. Isn’t that the same thing, a bigger program stealing from a smaller fish? And for all you Tenn fans, yes USC is bigger on the food chain than Tenn.

One thing Tenn can say and that is the football program is in better shape now then where it was this time last year.

Mark Richt

January 13th, 2010
7:41 am

Thanks, Lane, for taking the attention off of me and my failures at trying to hire a defensive coordinator!

ClinchPanther

January 13th, 2010
7:42 am

usc is not a better job by an means? someone spiked your coffee tony.

01HAWK

January 13th, 2010
7:43 am

AL DAVIS comments on Lane “PRETTY BOY” Kiffin:

“Maybe I didn’t want to admit that I made a mistake … to be quite frank with you, I’m firing him for cause now, I’m not firing him for anything else other than cause. …

I reached a point where I felt the whole staff, we were fractionalized … that the best thing to do … was to make a change. It hurts because I picked the guy. I picked the wrong guy. This is regretful, but I thought it was best for the Raiders. And I wanted to make it work, because I want the Raiders to do great. Someone said to me the other day, a newspaper man, ‘Why don’t you tell us your side of the story? Why don’t you tell us what’s happening?’ And I said to him, look, I don’t want to win in the press, I want to win on the field”

“Over the past months you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical and designed to embarrass and discredit the organization its players and coaches. I left you alone during training camp, the implication when you were doing these things, in the hopes you would cease your immature and destructive campaign. I wanted to make this work. …

Your actions are those of a coach looking to make excuses for not winning, rather than of a coach focused on winning. “

gtcivil

January 13th, 2010
7:45 am

Tony, you are such an SEC homer some times that it sickens me. Yes, it is the best conference in football, but that doesn’t mean every team in the SEC is a better destination than every other team in the nation. USC is a much better place to be and coach than UT. Location, talent, easier road to the BCS, the sun, the babes…I could go on.

The remainder of your write-up is valid. Kiffin is scum, but you loose serious credibility with the whole USC isn’t a better job thing.

01HAWK

January 13th, 2010
7:46 am

Time to head to the KNOXVILLE NEWSPAPERS. Just last week I stated that it was time for me to leave the UGA turmoil and go to Tennessee blogs. OH, I was so right to decide to go there and blast the VOLUNTEERS.

Peadawg

January 13th, 2010
7:47 am

Southern California or Knoxville, TN? Is it really that hard of a decision?

Dawg Fan

January 13th, 2010
7:48 am

Tony,
Your southern bias is shining through in this article. If you are to be taken seriously on the national stage, you have to put your southern bias to the side. Tennessee is not a better job than USC. Neither is UGA, LSU, or Auburn. I would say the only job that is on par with USC on a national stage is Florida, unfortunately. California is loaded with talent just like the state of Florida, the Pac-10 is much easier to navigate than the SEC, and they can pretty much get any 5 star recruit they want, west of the Mississippi. USC is almost like coaching an NFL team. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the U.S. and they dont’ have a pro team. Their tradition might not be on par with UT , but USC is definitely a better job.

JB

January 13th, 2010
7:50 am

This is not good news for Georgia……..Tenn. will get it right this time. It’ll be 5 mil a year and it will be a surprise. If I’m that AD, I get out the check book and get the right guy. A stud. It will happen……GO DAWGS.

JB

January 13th, 2010
7:52 am

Kiffen will do pretty good at USC. Who wouldn’t with 80- 5 star players. His Daddy will make the defense stout, and that alone in the Pac 10 will win them 10 a year.

Big time?? Not

January 13th, 2010
7:56 am

Sure glad to have a class act like Richt, even if he’s having trouble finding the right DC.

The USC job is a better job because they don’t have to play UGA, Auburn, Florida, Alabama, LSU…………

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

January 13th, 2010
7:59 am

SEC east is up for grabs- too many vacancies, not enough quality coaches. Kiffin belongs in LA but me thinking that UT has some NCAA sanctions on its way to Knoxville. feel bad for the recruits.

Richie

January 13th, 2010
8:01 am

He was a nut!!!!!

Elmer Gantry

January 13th, 2010
8:04 am

This is rich!

The Grinch

January 13th, 2010
8:04 am

Lane will get his come-uppance. Now that prima donna Carroll has left, the NCAA will finally grow some stones and do what they should have done years ago, and when all of the facts are in, I believe USC will get hammered with sanctions. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Jake

January 13th, 2010
8:05 am

I would say Mike Hamilton AD at Tn is deep do, do. Put him on the plane and send him to LA too.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

January 13th, 2010
8:05 am

USC is not a better job than UT? Tony, why do you so lightly toss all your credibility out the window? That’s like saying Guatamala is a wealthier country than Brazil. It just ain’t true and everybody but you and some morons in Knoxville know it.

Hal

January 13th, 2010
8:06 am

I am surprised by your defense of Kiffin You would make a great politician. You sound like Obama not calling the Christmas attempt to blow up the jetliner a terrorist act. This is not the way to treat a great football program like Tennessee. Every football fan in the south knows Tennesee is a great program and having lived on the west coast for years I can tell you college football “it taint the same”. The answer to your question is “UP”. I hope the AD learned a lesson. Get a coach that loves the idea of being a part of the great Tennessee tradition and respects southern football. I’ll bet he will try to get some of his recruits to follow him to USC. A Tech fan.

The Grinch

January 13th, 2010
8:06 am

JB

January 13th, 2010
7:50 am

It’s bad for UGA because UT will get it right this time? If I remember right, and I do, Kiffin’s Vols destroyed us. UT has long been a thorn in our sides and may continue to do so.

gatorsam

January 13th, 2010
8:07 am

There are 10 schools in the SEC that I would feel sorry for should this type of thing happened to them. Rocky Flop ain’t one of ‘em!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 13th, 2010
8:14 am

Tony,

What are you taking a break from? Its not like you work that hard around here! Your blogs stay up on the ajc website for days and days. Everyone else on the payroll is working hard and writing daily articles, but not you. I know you are “big time” and everything, but get real dude.

ReptilesRule

January 13th, 2010
8:14 am

As much as the Tennessee faithful tried to embrace him and time and time defend him, I don’t think Kiffin really ever embraced them. They seemed to “have his back” but he ended up stabbing theirs. He and his brash personality and his movie star looking wife, who by the way seems like a very nice person, just didn’t seem to quite fit the Knoxville scene. I am sure that they couldn’t wait to get back to the much more glamorous West Coast. I guess the thing that absolutely amazes me the most is the fact that this guy has NEVER shown that he’s a accomplished success and yet he keeps getting these plum jobs!! OK, yes, he can assemble an “all star” coaching staff (with daddy included) and his guys can recruit well enough, but when it comes down to the bottom line of wins and losses…Where’s the beef??? Now he has left Oakland and UT in shambles, which neither one will recover from real soon. Yet, what happens?? One of the super elite programs in all of college football comes calling!? Give him some credit, he must be a hell of a salesman!!! This guy could make $$$$$ on Wall Street. Tennessee now needs to forget the “glamour” hire and go get a real coach, one who will truly appreciate the program and not see it as a potential stepping stone. And one who will fit in and truly embrace the Vol faithful.

Shug

January 13th, 2010
8:15 am

I don’t see how you can worship Nick Saban and his meanderings and then criticize Kiffin for taking his dream job. Believe it or not, Mr. College Football, college football is big business operated by big businessmen.

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 13th, 2010
8:16 am

Tenn fans:

You cannot have Paul Johnson! He is here to stay at my institution. Go out and get Cutcliffe. Looking at that guy’s picture, he looks like the world’s most boring man.

richtisthenewfulmer

January 13th, 2010
8:18 am

Hamilton has 1 chance to make things right, or he is a memory. Make Phil the AD, offer job to:
1. Gruden
2. Muschamp

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 13th, 2010
8:18 am

Sorry UGA, but all the best UT recruits are going to be pulled to UF.

The Grinch

January 13th, 2010
8:19 am

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 13th, 2010
8:18 am

Why? Does UF also have “hostesses”? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 13th, 2010
8:22 am

You won’t see Tech students rioting and burning mattresses on the streets! That stuff is really low class. We are way to smart and sophisticated to be doing that. Actually, we are way to busy studying and working hard to do that. In case you haven’t heard, GT is considered the “MIT of the South” and that is no joke. The football players work at least twice as hard as any SEC player and yet they can still beat UGA (45-42)!

01HAWK

January 13th, 2010
8:22 am

New name for Kiffin…………………………………..LANE VIOLATION from the Florida Gator sites.

Dan

January 13th, 2010
8:22 am

“Simply not a better job?”

SC Rules has it right – Tennessee is a second tier program in the SEC while USC has at least as much tradition as any school in the SEC, a very successful past decade on the field, and definiite recruiting advantages. Not to mention living in Los Angeles has, shall we say, an arguable appeal over the bright lights and urban sophistication of eastern Tennessee.

Only a SEC homer would contend SC is not a beter job – I expect better from Tony but you never know when regional biases will be revealed

TrueCrimson

January 13th, 2010
8:23 am

Tennessee wanted John Gruden last year, but he was not ready to leave his job — contract obligations, you know…

Cutcliffe would be a good hire. I can’t see Phil coming back. USC is a great job for 4 or 5 years every other decade. At the moment, they are mediocre and moving in the wrong direction. Neither TN nor USC is a very HC good job right now.

Kiffin can take this job for a couple of years and then retire from coaching with a very nice nest-egg. He’s never going to be a successful HC — his record proves it. He’s just a placeholder. Lane was fortunate to be offered the job prior to being fired from TN. USC was fortunate to find ANYONE to take their HC job under the current circumstances.

Gen Neyland

January 13th, 2010
8:25 am

One of the first reactions I had last night was of lacking continuity Atop Rocky. The 2010 Sr class may have 4 different OC’s in their 4 year stint. That’s going back into CPF’s day. Would I want CPF back..? Double he11 no..! Am I po’ed with CLK’s departure..? No. I like CLK. I liked his energy and his passion. The team loved playing for him and he was getting a bit of swag going Atop Rocky. He was left with a mess and a lack of depth from the CPF Era and did his best to re-energize the program by recruiting pretty darn well and utilizing what was available. He was given an opportunity after a 1 year stint at Knoxville to return to his basic roots and for that I fault him not. The USC HC’ing job is considered the Holy Grail to many in the HC’ing world. Yeah, bigger than Notre Dame. As for AD Mike Hamilton, I wish CLK would take him along to California and lose him somewhere along the tracks.

To the Tennessee fanbase that are joining in the fray today of CLK bashing, stop. It’s a real honest to gosh embarrassment to associate with those that have doing so for the past year. Either you’re with US and the TEAM or you’re not…Go Vols

59bulldawg

January 13th, 2010
8:27 am

Despite all that Tennessee has to offer, it seems that Kiffin’s wife was never happy there. And if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Jake

January 13th, 2010
8:27 am

Sorry about your sleep Tony during winter. Seems only Kiffin would wake you in the middle of a nice dream. Good things will happen with Kiffin leaving.