Tennessee will be better off without Kiffin

I’m sorry I am going to be out of the country for the next few weeks because what eventually happens at Tennessee is going to be fascinating.

The next few weeks, even perhaps he next few months, are probably not going to be a lot of fun for Tennessee fans.

Unless athletic director Mike Hamilton can pull a rabbit out of his hat and hire somebody–like Will Muschamp of Texas–who will calm down the Tennessee fan base, the Volunteers are looking at bad stretch of road coming up with the sudden departure of Lane Kiffin to USC.

It’s clear by now that Hamilton has set his sights on Muschamp and will pay him handsomely to leave Austin, where he is the coach-in-waiting to Mack Brown, who just got a new deal at $5 million per year. Hamilton will tell Muschamp that Mack is not going to retire anytime soon. He is offering a bird in the hand at a premier spot in the SEC. Muschamp’s agent will have all of the leverage in those negotiations.

Texas will tell Muschamp that if he’ll just be patient–he’s only 39–he will inherit a powerhouse program that has averaged 10 wins a year since Brown got there in 1998. Why take over a program that is now faced with more questions than answers?

But what is plan B for Hamilton if Muschamp says no? I spoke to some people close to former coach Phillip Fulmer and there is no doubt that he would like to come back as the head coach. He can offer stability, which Tennessee desperately needs right now. And even the people who fired Fulmer never questioned his love for Tennessee. The next coach will have to show Volunteer fans that he really cares about being there and is not using Tennessee as a stepping stone. Of all the things that have infuriated Volunteer fans in the past 24 hours, it is the notion that ANY Pac-10 job would be considered better than theirs.

Hamilton said during a press conference on Wednesday that Fulmer will not be a candiate for the job of head coach. I’m suggesting that this process may be taken out of Hamilton’s hands. The next 48 hours are going to be very interesting as the levers of power start getting pulled. When the smoke clears, Fulmer coould be the head coach again. And if he’s not the head coach he could pull a Tom Osborne and become the athletic director.

But if you’re a Tennessee fan, trust me on this: Over the long haul, you are not really going to miss Lane Kiffin. The guy gave a great press conference. He knew how to get under Urban Meyer’s skin. He talked in a manner that made Tennessee fans smile because he wasn’t going to back down from anybody in this league. He had that California style and sold it to recruits.

But at the end of the day, Lane Kiffin’s rise to become the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and then of Tennessee was a triumph of style over substance. He TALKED a great game. It remains to be seen if he can coach one. Now he may go to USC and win a bunch of Pac-10 championships and take the Trojans to the Rose Bowl every season. But I have my doubts, especially if the NCAA drops the hammer on the program in the coming months.

Some people took me to task last night when I said that Tennessee is a better job than USC. They talked about California and Hollywood and what USC has done the last nine years.

But remember that USC was a struggling program before Pete Carroll got there nine years ago. Remember Paul Hackett? Remember Ted Tollner? USC was very mediocre before Carroll and could well be again, especially when the NCAA gets done with the Trojans. I don’t think Pete Carroll bolted for the Seattle Seahawks because he wanted to be closer to Starbucks.

I am going to miss you all but I’ll be watching from afar. Hope to see you in a few weeks.

209 comments Add your comment

shane#1

January 13th, 2010
5:12 pm

When I heard that USC had hired Kiffin you could have knocked me over with a feather! I don’t yet understand how he got the job at UT or Oakland. Coaches jump ship all the time so unless they are into late night plane rides like a certain coach in the SEC west I don’t hold that against them. However, telling early enrollees at UT not to attend class so they can switch to USC is a new low! Kiffin and Coach O are obviously men of low degree and I don’t see how hiring men like that can help USC. They are an elite school and deserve better.

DawgBuzz

January 13th, 2010
5:16 pm

What was UT thinking when you had a coach who was dedicated to the program (152-52) and you bring in a guy with an unproven record and questionable integrity / ethics? Raiders (5-15); Tennessee (7-6) ….and what is USC thinking????

Tennessee – Al Davis was right.

braves70

January 13th, 2010
5:16 pm

The word is that Lame got all of his jobs because he sold his Dad as part of the package. Al Davis was willing to let him go after one year and take the Arkansas job but Petrino beat him to it. Monte Kiffin was unable to join the brat with the Raiders since he was under contract at Tampa Bay.

HardTruth Soldier....

January 13th, 2010
5:16 pm

Can You say Charlie Strong to UT?

JP

January 13th, 2010
5:18 pm

If they want to hire loyalty, consistentcy, and stability…..then go after Jim Grobe. He is the man for that job if you can get him away from Winston Salem.

Ed

January 13th, 2010
5:21 pm

Mutt Nonsense, USC hiring an unaccomplished Kiffin made as much sense as this country electing an unaccomplished Obama. Both of them bring lots of hype and style, but we are still waiting for the substance – assuming there is any. Is this case, the analogy is a pretty good one.

Gen Neyland

January 13th, 2010
5:22 pm

Okay, Cutcliffe may not want anything to do with AD Hamilton. Afterall, Hammy sent his pal, Phil, packing. Muschamp, Smart, Calhoun have been mentioned but they smell like pipe dreams to me, except for Calhoun. How about an oddity here and bring Mack Brown in and raise up Muschamp at Texas..? CMB was raised just down I-40 from Knoxville. Personally, I like the thought of putting CPF in the AD’s chair but not on the sidelines. That may bring Cut back around but the timetable isn’t there unless the UT President and BOD’s get involved…SOV (Save Our Vols)

Gen Neyland

January 13th, 2010
5:30 pm

braves70

January 13th, 2010
5:35 pm

Funny thing that Lame’s brother-in-law David Reaves is apparently staying at Tennessee as quarterback choach and will not join Lame at USC.

4 Nat'l Chmpshps

January 13th, 2010
5:38 pm

NCAA definitely needs to put in a rule similar to players – if you transfer before your contract is up, you have to sit out a year….if it’s good for the talent, it’s good for the master

BeachGaBulldog

January 13th, 2010
5:40 pm

So, Kiffin beat us one time..BIG DEAL! The Vol fans can have orgasms over that all they want to. The big picture is Tennessee had a LOSER who represented them for a whole year, and he went 7-6. He sucked at Oakland, too. As a person, Kiffin is a piece of crap. The students show how immature they are by burning mattresses, etc. A bunch of dumb, ignorant hillbillies.
I would rather have a coach like Mark Richt, who is a WINNER as a coach and person.

Gatorland

January 13th, 2010
5:46 pm

Tony,

Enjoy your trip!

I just really want to know a few things. What has made Lane Kiffin such a hot property? Has he won a national championship as a head coach? Has he built a program? Has he turned a program around? What makes his resume so hot?

With the recruiting violations to hit USC and the Investigation “IN PROGRESS” at Tennessee, do we really think success is going to be in Kiffin’s future. I just hope they tack the probation or violations on to Kiffin at USC he gained at Tennessee.

If there was ever a time for a recruit who is upset about a coaches lies to start spilling his guts, this is it.

AS THE SEC TURNS!

Ed = buffoon

January 13th, 2010
5:46 pm

No further comment necessary

1eyedJack

January 13th, 2010
5:49 pm

Well, Vol fans, as soon as ya’ll get yourselves cleaned up and you get a little smellum in your hair, why, you’re gonna feel 100% better about yourselves and about life in general.

Kiffin Did Alright

January 13th, 2010
5:50 pm

In spite of everybody’s anti-Kiffin sentiment, I’d say he did okay in his one year. Came within an eyelash of beating Alabama, pummelled the Dawgs, played pretty good against Florida, and all with a team that hadn’t been very good of late. He also got some pretty decent play out of his QB that other coaches hadn’t. Given a couple of more years of recruiting, he was a shoe-in to challenge for SEC championships. Certainly had his program going in a positive direction, especially when compared to Athens.

1eyedJack

January 13th, 2010
5:55 pm

Well ya know, they say that with a thrill-seekin’ personality, what goes up must come down… Top of the world one minute,… haunted by megrims the next. Yep, it’s like our friend Lane Kiffin is an alley cat and his own damned humors are swinging him by the tail.

Typical Dawg Fan

January 13th, 2010
5:57 pm

Let’s see here: Dawgs hate Spurrier, they hate Meyer, they hate Saban, they hate Kiffin, they hated Fullmer. Who do they think is a good coach ? Anyone ? Oh yeah, they reserve their hatred for those coaches that they have the hardest time beating. Now it makes sense. Forget I mentioned it.

Yellow Jacket Man

January 13th, 2010
5:58 pm

Kirby “The Weasel” Smart will soon be name the head coach at UT.
All puppy fans should be glad.

help, I live in Ga

January 13th, 2010
6:02 pm

Shawshank Redemption guy. That is funny. Kiffen looks a little like Tim Robbins. But Tim Was always taking it, not giving it in the movie. Maybe Lane can hook up with a screen writer out there in look at me land and finish the sequal.

Volunteer

January 13th, 2010
6:06 pm

What a fool I was to listen to your siren song and fall a helpless victim under the insidious spell of your irresistible charms –

Brent

January 13th, 2010
6:10 pm

The Fulmer scenario Tony describes happened in the NFL before. Bud Grant retired as Vikings head coach, Les Steckel replaced him and fell on his face in one season, and Bud Grant came back.

Brent

January 13th, 2010
6:11 pm

Typical Dawg fan, they hate their own coach, too. Unbelievable.

Snotty

January 13th, 2010
6:15 pm

Factually, Kiffin did OK. He went 7-6 and went to a bowl. He had a strong recruiting class and had another one lined up. But, two of those recruits were charged with armed robbery. That and the fact he acted like a jackass and played fast and loose with recruiting rules were the big faults. Bet Tennessee fans wish they hadn’t defended all that now.

Brad

January 13th, 2010
6:15 pm

Very good Tony… The only point I do not agree with is this notion that Kiffin got under Urban Meyer’s skin. Meyer never publicly commented on Kiffin’s antics (much to my disappointment), so there is really no way of knowing how he (Meyer) felt about that whole deal. He did make vague references to not understanding where Kiffin’s animosity came from and being disappointed since Meyer and Monte Kiffin have a close relationship. Other than that, nothing. The media likes the idea that coach Meyer was devastated and I’ve even read a few articles that suggest that the Kiffin incident helped precipitate Meyer’s health issues, but I think that’s a stretch.

braves70

January 13th, 2010
6:16 pm

UT AD Hamilton says he wants a new coach by the weekend. That means he will have to fall back on the character checks they did last year when Lame got the job. Apparently Muschamp and Calhoun are the only two who qualify under those conditions. Former assistants like Cutcliffe and Kippy Brown also qualify.

Dan

January 13th, 2010
6:20 pm

What USC was? Yes it was mediocre. Which is exactly what Tennessee has become. A job isn’t great just because it’s in the SEC. Stop looking through the SEC glasses, Tony. SC is almost unquestionably a better job than Tennessee (not that it excuses his dishonesty or the way he left).

Rotty

January 13th, 2010
6:22 pm

Hamilton may very well get booted, even by the boosters who pushed him to push Fulmer out the door. The big money people at UT are real pieces of work. They hire bad presidents one after the other for 10 years and often go back to their loyal alums (like a Fulmer) to tide them over until they make another bad hire.

Lame Kitten

January 13th, 2010
6:26 pm

Everyone sing along now – it’s fun!!!

Rocky Flop I’m about to leave
‘Cause Tennessee makes me heave!
Good ole Rocky Flop
{{Wooooooooooo!!}}
Rocky Flop Tennessee!

m is back

January 13th, 2010
6:28 pm

typical dawd fan- of course they hate the coaches that r hard to beat.duuuh… what the point in hatin on vandy or ole miss.

Lame Kitten

January 13th, 2010
6:30 pm

Fellow Fallin’ Tears fans, let’s not despair. UT will get an SEC championship this year and everything will work out fine. I promise!! You trust me……don’t you?

Lame Kitten

January 13th, 2010
6:32 pm

Let’s sing it again because I just love the melody. Ready? 1 and a 2…

Rocky Flop I’m about to leave
‘Cause Tennessee makes me heave!
Good ole Rocky Flop
{{Wooooooooooo!!}}
Rocky Flop Tennessee!

DawgVoiceofReason

January 13th, 2010
6:45 pm

Those fans who defend/defended Lane Kiffin as the Vols coach, got what they deserve. And, USC seems likely to get what it deserves. On the West coast, students from the other schools refer to USC as “The University of Spoiled Children” because USC students are a bunch of rich snobs. Kiffin fits in PERFECTLY there.

Thrashers moving to Quebec City

January 13th, 2010
7:05 pm

We have lost our ICE HOCKEY TEAM! AGAIN! I blame the Thrashers,for not seeing minority support!

Thrashers moving to Quebec City

January 13th, 2010
7:06 pm

o doubt,with zero Afro-American fan support,the team never understood the market! There are plenty of coloreds at Falcon games,for example!

Thrashers moving to Quebec City

January 13th, 2010
7:07 pm

Who is Lane Kiffen?

SC Rules!!!

January 13th, 2010
7:12 pm

shane# 1;

I stepped back from the railing the other evening because a little voice told me there was still hope. I just didn’t realize it was wearing Orange!!! (Ugh!!!!!) Now I am going to leap!! To hell with whether the water is cold or not!!! I can’t go back to seeing the Song Girls crying in shame as they run for the cover of the tunnel after yet another pounding we’ve just taken at the hands of ND or WORSE; UCLA!

No more Fight Left.

BULLDOG MOM

January 13th, 2010
7:19 pm

You are getting what you deserve. You had a very loyal coach and a good coach, but you wanted a glamor boy and that is just what you got. Reminds me of girls and boys choosing the glamor rather than substance. Far sighted people are rare and they understand the difference between the real thing and a fake. Sounds like Tennessee’s AD is looking for another fake!!!!!

[...] of ESPN says the system is to blame, not Kiffin.UPDATE –Tony Barnhart of The AJC writes that “Tennessee will be better off without Kiffin.”  There’ve been a lot of stories like that floating around today and it’s certainly a [...]

Dan

January 13th, 2010
7:26 pm

Tony

Given how much you know about college football, please back down on your contention that UT is the equal of Southern Cal. I am not a SC fan but grow weary of the constant bleating that only the SEC matters.

You state this afternoon – “But remember that USC was a struggling program before Pete Carroll got there nine years ago. Remember Paul Hackett? Remember Ted Tollner? USC was very mediocre before Carroll and could well be again.”

Maybe so, but in addition to remembering Hackett & Tollner I am old enough to remember John McKay & John Robinson as well as OJ Simpson (he did win the Heisman before he was a murderer) & Marcus Allen. I also remember that Sam Cunningham and SC abusing Alabama in the early 70s did quite a bit in getting the SEC off the the dime on desegregating the playing field. And so do you.

Your apparent contention SC football rose only with the arrival of Pete Carroll is a disservice to your readers and, after this morning’s observations, a disturbing confirmation that you apparently are another SEC homer.

But since I am just a fan I will close by quoting Pat Forde of ESPN (who is from Kentucky but apparently has outgrown his regional biases)

“Kiffin is taking a better job.

Who wouldn’t prefer coaching the flagship school in the Pacific-10 to coaching what is no better than the fourth- or fifth-best program in the murderous SEC? Who wouldn’t prefer the recruiting backyard of Southern California to East Tennessee? Who wouldn’t prefer the beach to the boonies?” …

“Kiffin knows the turf. He was recruiting coordinator there before, when the Trojans were signing a constellation of stars on an annual basis. He should be able to sign plenty of A-list talent.

Plus, it’s USC. Even if the program gets slapped by the NCAA — which might have factored into Carroll’s leaving, and rejections from other candidates — it will not stay down for long.”

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=4820927

goatD

January 13th, 2010
7:27 pm

Good Grief ! You guys all have a conception that making negative observations makes one a smart commentator. Why not deal with facts for once. Lame went 7-6. That’s almost 54%. Is that good? Is that bad? It’s 54%……..and unacceptable for most programs. He was a terrible loser at the Oakland Raiders. He put it to the Vols…….after trying to put it to SCar, UF, UA, and UG. He lied about other coaches’ activities and motives. Now he’s trying to get kids he recruited at UT to not go to classes, and come to USC. Those are facts. Opinion: this guy is a piece of human trash. We’ll see if he wins at USC, but …….he will still be human trash, and that will probably catch up with him eventually.

Thrashers moving to Quebec City

January 13th, 2010
7:38 pm

WHo is Lane Kiffen? Is he part of the Quebec City hockey group?

nobody

January 13th, 2010
7:40 pm

don’t worry about Tennessee…Nu’Keese Richardson just got sentenced to 3 years on probation for robbery…after he serves a 3 games suspension, he’ll be ready to go….

Lane Kiffen is RIGHT TO MOVE

January 13th, 2010
7:43 pm

NOW GO EAT SOME MORE FRIED CHICKEN!

Nu'Keese

January 13th, 2010
7:44 pm

WHat kind of name is Nu’Keese? or Anfernee? or D’Brickeshaw? or Anquan? What is going on?

Thrashers moving to Quebec City

January 13th, 2010
7:48 pm

We have once again lost our NHL team! This time,to Quebec City!

PC Police

January 13th, 2010
7:52 pm

Nu-Keese is the kind of name we can’t speak about and still be politically correct.

PC Police

January 13th, 2010
7:54 pm

Maybe it’s payback for “De-Wayne” or “Bubba”.

PC Police

January 13th, 2010
7:56 pm

Who are both prominent UGA fans, I might add.

The Watergirl

January 13th, 2010
7:57 pm

I really and truly would feel bad for the UT fans, but this is such sweet justice for taking after your Lame Kitten. Acting like arrogant a-holes will get you no where!! All of those UGA bandwagon fans should learn from them, we have a coach who is dedicated to us and who is a respectable man. I’m proud to be a DAWG!!!