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

More Kiffin Wrap-Up | MrSEC.com

January 13th, 2010
8:29 am

[...] punked UT.”THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTIONTony Barnhart goes stream-of-consciousness and brings up a number of excellent points, including this one that might worry some Volunteer fans: “You have to wonder what Kiffin is [...]

TrueCrimson

January 13th, 2010
8:29 am

You Tech fans can rest easy. Tennessee may be hard up, but they aren’t in bad enough shape to go after your Head Coach.

BTW: I meant to say “Neither TN nor USC is a very good HC job right now.”

That will probably change in the coming years, but both programs are in the ditch at the moment.

Saban's Shadow Stays Home

January 13th, 2010
8:30 am

I’ll tell you one guy it won’t be at Tenn.

Kirby Smart.

He needs to be near his daddy, needs the pacifier.

Saban’s Shadow isn’t much for the LIGHT, he likes being the SHADOW.

Sam

January 13th, 2010
8:31 am

I have to agree with some others here, Tony: USC is a better job than Tenn. Spare me the “SEC” argument, because Tennessee’s recruiting obstacles (i.e., not exactly a hotbed of recruits) are well-documented and the Vols in their best year are but one of 6 “traditional powers,” whatever that means, in the SEC (UF, UGA, UT, LSU, ALA, AUB). USC is a traditional power nationally, located in a hot-bed of recruits, and 1 of 2 (3?) traditional powers in the PAC10 (UW, UCLA; ORE is a recent thing). Success at Tennessee, while a great job no doubt, has always been fleeting, same argument as put forth re: Brian Kelly and Cincy.

Moreover, how is the argument for prying Cutcliffe away from Duke any different than USC calling Kiffin? Did the Duke players who Cutcliffe has recruited to help turnaround one of the least successful programs in FBS not “buy in” to Cutcliffe the same as the Tennessee players did for Kiffin? But it is okay for Tennessee to hire him after a year or two, just not for Kiffin to leave for the job he was a natural successor for? That is hypocritical, unless you believe the FBS aristocracy play by a different set of rules.

Meyer left Bowling Green and Utah after only a couple of years at each, Saban same to LSU and the Dolphins. No one had any illusions about them and what they were after … it just hurts when it happens to you, huh?

kenny d

January 13th, 2010
8:32 am

Tony,
you are wrong, USC (the real one, not USC East) is a better job and always has been. you have been drinking too much of the SEC kool aid; you really need to expand your horizons

Herschel

January 13th, 2010
8:33 am

Tony, were you serious about the UT job being as good as the USC job or just pandering to the UT masses that read the AJC?

C’mon, Mr.College Football. USC is a top 5 program. Not sure the Tennessee job is even top 5 in the SEC anymore. You guys at the AJC have to get rid of your SEC bias.

Gen Neyland

January 13th, 2010
8:33 am

ReptileRule : Oakland was spiraling into shambles before CLK arrived. Research, dude. Research. Al Davis wanted JaMarcus Russell and wanted him to play. CLK told Davis he wasn’t ready. Davis pulled the ‘I’m the boss’ crap and shot himself in the foot by doing so. Do you seriously think working for Al Davis is a great gig..? The guy’s whacked.

Supes

January 13th, 2010
8:34 am

Go ahead Tenn Fans, make fun of UGA and the DC search now…Oh yeah that’s right you’ve got bigger problems at your own place to worry about!

TrueCrimson

January 13th, 2010
8:36 am

If USC is such a “great job”, then why did they have to hire Lane Kiffin?

Some of you Trojans should think about that for a moment. He was a joke at Tennessee — he’s a stale, old joke now. Tennessee will recover long before USC does.

Saint Knoxville

January 13th, 2010
8:37 am

Say what you will about Kiffen dawg nation. The record will ALWAYS show your 2009 BEATDOWN (by 26 points). Like Zook and all the other ex SEC coaches you dis, Kiffen OWNED you head to head (1-0). Put that in your Shreveport bowl and eat it!

Call it Like It Is

January 13th, 2010
8:40 am

WHO CARES?

Florida wins the East again in 2010 anyway.

Enough Said!

Blue

January 13th, 2010
8:40 am

Really? Seriously? USC is NOT a better job than TN??? You just lost some credibility with me. FYI…not EVERY SEC school is a better job than USC. Maybe FL and AL, but not the others.

mootpoint

January 13th, 2010
8:41 am

Randy Edsall from Uconn?

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:42 am

USC is a much better job than UT:

1. Better HS recruiting base
2. More national exposure
3. Easier road to conference title
4. Easier road to BCS title
5. Better weather
6. Better looking women
7. An airport
8. Fans have teeth
9. Fans don’t wear overalls
10. No possum stew at booster club functions
11. No snuff juice
12. No annoying Rocky Top music
13. No Mike Slive to ruin your fun

Blue

January 13th, 2010
8:43 am

Sad Vol in ATL: “Never should have hired a yankee”?? I wonder how Florida and Alabama feel about the yankees they hired.

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:44 am

Saban is from West Virginia.

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:44 am

West Virginia = Hillbilly, not Yankee

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:46 am

And, to answer your question, we are loving our hire.

Gen Neyland

January 13th, 2010
8:47 am

Got 12? : Except for #12 on your list, I thought for aminute you were standing in line at the Wal-Mart.

m

January 13th, 2010
8:47 am

It is kind of a shame that lil kiffy is leaving the sec. He is such a low life that he fit in quite well in the sec.

Blue

January 13th, 2010
8:49 am

You braniacs who think Gruden will be next; I don’t think so, but IF it does happen, prepare for a coaching search within 2 years. Gruden…dealing with boosters, recruiting, parents calling about playing time for their kids, etc? He was one of the least tolerant coaches in the NFL when it came to players. It would be like hiring freaking Parcells.

YankeeJacket

January 13th, 2010
8:50 am

Mr. Barnhart, you are badly mistaken about Tennessee being a better job than USC. Count the National Championships, Heisman Trophies etc. Ask Bill Battle and Phil Fulmer and John Majors about the wonderful fans (lynch mob mentality). My god have you ever been to Knoxville??? It is a bad day for college football because college football is no longer controlled by the colleges. When an assistant coach makes more than the governor of the state or the president of the university, there is a cancer that needs to be cut out, chauvanistic win at any cost mobs be damned. The SEC is the worst of the lot in this whole mess. Where has integrity, loyalty and honor gone?? It is long past time for the presidents, through the NCAA, to take sports (college) back from the big money interests and let the players be students, not year round lackeys of a bunch of overpaid coaches. Remember that the judge in Georgia just ruled that the athletic department could not be sued because it was under the state government. So don’t give me that “market forces junk”.

Roll Tider

January 13th, 2010
8:51 am

Sorry, can’t feel for Vol fans. Choosing to root for that puke orange band of criminals is masochistic to begin with and deserves heartache.

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:55 am

Gen Ney,

If I lived within driving distance of Tuscaloosa or Birmingham, I would certainly have been in line at Wal-mart to take a picture with the BCS national championship trophy. If UT wins again, you’ll be standing in line.

I understand the pain you’re feeling right now. Fran did something similiar (but worse) to us. At least Kiffin called a press conference. Fran jumped on a Texas A&M jet and called an assistant coach and told him to tell the players Fran had left.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2010
8:55 am

Tennessee is way better off without Kiffin…what a little terd.

Tennessee will learn from this and get a great guy. My call would be to Cutcliffe but then again people may think he is past his prime to take on such a huge endeavor.

The Tenn job is a great job and i am sure they are plenty of quality candidates who are interested.

Reggie Ball JD

January 13th, 2010
8:57 am

You guys are stupider than me! Kiffin had it in his contract that he could leave, without recourse or penalty, to go to USC. So he didn’t violate the terms of his contract. Although he did violate it’s spirit.

TrueCrimson

January 13th, 2010
8:57 am

Got 12?

January 13th, 2010
8:42 am
USC is a much better job than UT:

1. Better HS recruiting base – Tennessee recruits nation-wide.

2. More national exposure – NCAA investigations will do that for you.

3. Easier road to conference title – No argument with that.

4. Easier road to BCS title – This is not last decade. When was the last time USC competed for a NC?

5. Better weather – Sure.

6. Better looking women – Not so sure about that one. Have you actually ever been to TN?

7. An airport – Right… but TN has some fancy horse-drawn carriages.

8. Fans have teeth – But, like the breasts, they’re fake.

9. Fans don’t wear overalls – No. They wear pink boas.

10. No possum stew at booster club functions – Chinatown can top that one.

11. No snuff juice – Can’t argue with that. ;-)

12. No annoying Rocky Top music – Okay… I’ll give you that one.

13. No Mike Slive to ruin your fun – Sure. But there are 10 members of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions…

Blue

January 13th, 2010
8:57 am

12; just because you don’t want to consider WV a “yankee state” doesn’t mean it ain’t so. Hillbilly is accurate, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Good part of the state is bordered by Ohio, PA and MD. I would consider that “north”. And you didn’t mention Meyer.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2010
8:57 am

Gen Neyland,

you are always a quality poster on this blog. i wish you the best as you search for your new HC…as long as you don’t take away from our DC search, ha!

seriously, the Vol Nation, and the SEC for that matter, is better off without Kiffin. He was immature and not devoted to the Tennessee program. You guys deserve better.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2010
8:59 am

True Crimson,

simply awesome post. too funny.

Lane Kiffin

January 13th, 2010
9:00 am

lets sing this all together now……

ROCKEY TOP YOU’LL ALWAY BE A PILE OF S@%T TO ME, SMELLY OLE ROCKEY TOP A PILE OF S@%T IN TENESSEE A PILE OF S@%T IN TENNNNNNNEESSSSSSSSSSSEE

WonderDawg

January 13th, 2010
9:00 am

Kiffin at UT was all about Kiffin. UT was already a big deal, so UT didn’t need all of that splash. He did it for himself. And it worked. This guy has a losing record (like 12-21?) and keeps getting more and more money to coach.

SEC fan

January 13th, 2010
9:01 am

what? there are only two good jobs in the SEC. FLORIDA and BAMA. and thats it. Every one knows that every sec team thinks they should win the NC every year and fires coaches yearly for not winning it all. They will fill those jobs because coaches want big money,even if its just for 1 year. Look what a fine mess you’ve gotten us into Wally.

Ron Mexico

January 13th, 2010
9:02 am

Many have pointed out that you need to take off the SEC colored glasses. Tennessee is a top 25 quality coaching job, USC is top 5. When discussing Kiffin’s hire last year, you yourself Tony mentioned how hard recruiting would be with Tennessee being assaulted from all sides. USC doesn’t have that issue – though everyone looks to CA for the top recruits, USC is the only premier program in the area.

I don’t fault Kiffin for taking the job – how many people would turn down a million dollar raise, even with commitments to a group of teenagers?

FLA DAWG

January 13th, 2010
9:03 am

Kirby Smart turned down the UGA DC job waiting to be hired on as a Head Coach. Well, here’s his first chance – think his phone is ringing!? (Nope)

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2010
9:04 am

dawg in L.A.,

totally agree. that was the most chicken crap “press conference” i have ever seen.

t

January 13th, 2010
9:05 am

you folks calling for fulmer’s return are MORONS! This is all FULMER’s fault. He wins one championship, and like typical white trash he gets fat as hell and rests on that one positive and proceeds to drive the program into the ground, bring about his firing and the mess known as Lane Kiffin. I say stay away from UT people altogether. 1940’s football doesn’t work anymore.
The kiffin hiring was the right thinking but wrong guy. Pro background who can pull great coaches together.
The main thing that EVERYONE at UT should be thinking about is why Mike Hamilton still has a job. UT has become thug U, looking as bad or worse than U. Miami used to. Time for Hamilton to go!

Ugahall

January 13th, 2010
9:05 am

I say you replace a jerk with a jerk, how about Bobby Petrino or Paul Johnson!!!

SimpleDawg

January 13th, 2010
9:06 am

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-plaschke-usc13-2010jan13,0,1888002.column

Check out the LA Times……
I’m not sure that Lil’ Lane is seen as the Defender of the Faith, Supreme Commander, Savior of the Program…….

Mike Garrett may just have met his Waterloo.

IowaDawg

January 13th, 2010
9:06 am

Seriously Vol Fans, your better off without this juvenile. He was an embarrasment to the league and Tenn will find a quality coach. Next year you will struggle, but it won’t be long before your back into the thick of things. Kiffy will pull the same crap at USC and I highly doubt he is going to be very successful. His mentality mirrors a spoiled brat.

Saint Knoxville

January 13th, 2010
9:10 am

45-19

LANE KIFFEN STILL OWNES GEORGIA!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

123456789

January 13th, 2010
9:10 am

Wow. That’s a lotof self-righteous talk from “Mr. College Football.”

Tony says: “It also makes me sad. This is not a good night for college football.”

And yet, Barnhart STILL defends the fraudulent & corrupt
college athletic CARTEL, commonly referred to as the BCS.

1. So, Tony thinks Kiffin used Tenn “in the worst possible way.”
Really, so did Kirby Smart “use” UGA only to boost his pay
at Bama AS SO MANY UGA “FANS” have argued?
How about when Steve Spurrier recently AND VERY PUBLICLY threatened to quit USC-East if the USC didnt significantly LOWER the academic standards for football recruits?
I guess Tony doesnt read ALL the news around the SEC and college football.

2. “USC is simply not a better job.” Uh, OK. What ever you say, “Mr. College Football.”

“He was a time-bomb waiting to explode all over this league.”
The outcome of the Decory Bryant case will explode…ALL OVER COLLEGE FOOTBALL.

“I just hope he didn’t leave an NCAA mess at Tennessee that others will have to clean up.”
It’s not nearly as big a mess as Hoke Wilder has left for the UGA-AA.
Isnt that right Tony? You do remember Decory Bryant, don’t you Tony?

The ONLY thing that causes Mike Slive to shed tears is the
Profit & Loss Statements of the SEC. Nothing else.

Tony’s comment: “I’m pretty disillusioned right now.”
Agreed. Its the ONLY thing in this self-righteous diatribe that is accurate.

Saint Knoxville

January 13th, 2010
9:11 am

At least Lane Kiffen HAS a defensive coordinator.

Gator Great

January 13th, 2010
9:11 am

Well, now UT fans can join the rest of the SEC in their distaste of Kiffen.

ReptilesRule

January 13th, 2010
9:12 am

Neyland…my research shows that Lane Kiffin has never really accomplished anything. Even at USC, he was the “Co” offensive coordinator and even second fiddle there. I would suspect that daddy and the Kiffin name has alot to do with the opportunities he’s been presented. Bottom line, he’s never won anything. 12-21 during his head coaching career is all the research I need to do, my man. Your continued defense of him in this situation mystifies me and is a prime example of why you wake up this morning to find your program in the present state it is in. It’s also why you don’t see too much symphathy on here by rival fans…sometimes you truly get what you deserve.

King Gator

January 13th, 2010
9:14 am

I heard he was taking those two “road hostesses” with him to USC with the rest of the staff and recruits.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

January 13th, 2010
9:14 am

Time to clean house in Knoxville. Dump that mangy old coon hound–Smokey, I think is his name. Bring me in under a great contract. But no butt-painting. I ain’t going thru that again. The place where I worked last season has no loyalty. They’ll bring in some kid to be UGA VIII and then talk about me like I’m a dog–”he’s old, sick, his butt needs to be painted, etc.” All I want is a great contract, some respect, and maybe a chance to be around some of them hostesses.

Socal Dawg

January 13th, 2010
9:14 am

All it took was one year in the mighty SEC to send that PAC10 sissy home. UT should be glad he’s gone.

LuvMachine

January 13th, 2010
9:16 am

The “purfik” fit for TN, why Snuffy Smith of course!

WonderDawg

January 13th, 2010
9:17 am

Tony, if this is so bad for college football, wouldn’t it be bad also for UT to “get Cutcliffe” from Duke? I mean, wouldn’t that be the same thing?

And Jeff, I love Mark Richt too, but he won’t be leaving in the middle of the night because he won’t be getting offers, unless maybe Mercer starts up a football program.