Is Kiffin’s fan base at Tennessee eroding? (I hope not)

Here's Lane Kiffin getting ready to speak. That's Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton, looking nervous.

Lane Kiffin gets ready to speak. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton looks nervous.

After over 28 years in this business, I can safely say the two questions I’m asked most often are: 1.) Come on, who do you root for? I know you root for someone, because it’s clear you hate my team and my school and my coach, and by the way you’re bald and ugly; 2) Can I have your job? I know I can do it better than you, because you hate my team and my school and my coach, and by the way you’re bald and ugly.

And I always answer the same way: No, you can’t have my job. No, I don’t hate your team, your school or your coach. Just you.

Kidding. (Not you. The other guy.)

That was a long way for me to get into why I’m going to the Chick-fil-A press conference today. To all Tennessee fans: I don’t hate your team. I certainly don’t hate your coach, Lane Kiffin. Fact is, I would do anything in my power to give Lane Kiffin a lifetime contract.

Here’s a general rule about sports writers: We don’t root for or against any team, school, athlete or coach. We root for stories. In that sense, we’re like everybody else: We root for ourselves. When stories fall into our lap, whether we’re a news writer or a columnist, our job becomes easier.

Lane Kiffin makes our job easy. We all owe him a serious fruit basket for the holidays.

That’s why I’m going to today’s bowl luncheon. Kiffin and Frank Beamer are in town to promote the Dec. 31 game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Gary Stokan and his Chick-fil-A minions have done another great job, giving us a great match-up. Kiffin’s presence just makes it better.

There’s no reason to get into the NCAA mess now. But it seems some of the issues are finally grating on a segment of the Tennessee fan base. A writer for Bleacher Report, which often uses fans to write stories, even authored a column with the headline, “Is it time to fire Lane Kiffin?”

There’s a poll with the story. I had to vote to see the results, which were surprisingly split. My vote went to the third-most popular choice. The current results:

HECK NO! Kiffin is the best thing that ever happened to UT! (45.7 percent)

Absolutely. He’s an embarrassment to UT! (35.5 percent)

No, but I’m beginning to see your point. (11.7 percent. Includes my vote)

Probably so. (7.1 percent)

Let me know how you would vote. (This should be interesting.) I’ll check back later and I’ll have a new post after the luncheon. I’m guessing they’ll have chicken.

273 comments Add your comment

Sonny Clusters

December 17th, 2009
11:05 am

Sonny Clusters

December 17th, 2009
11:07 am

Jeff, order a peach milkshake. They are very good.

F-105 Thunderchief

December 17th, 2009
11:07 am

I love for Tennessee to have an embarrassment for a coach. I root for Florida one day a year.

Sonny Clusters

December 17th, 2009
11:07 am

Clusters of posts from Sonny Clusters

first

December 17th, 2009
11:07 am

Enter your comments here

first loser

December 17th, 2009
11:08 am

dang. not even close. too interesting of a read jeff to think about posting.

Clay

December 17th, 2009
11:11 am

Hope he stays……for the entertainment value.

red5.ws

December 17th, 2009
11:15 am

Kiffin will make a fine coach….in the California penal league.

SadDawg

December 17th, 2009
11:16 am

I just hope he lasts until (hopefully 2010) Richt makes him pay for that idiotic promise to never lose to UGA.

Otto

December 17th, 2009
11:21 am

Tiger for UT recruiting coordinator!?!?!

Ryno

December 17th, 2009
11:21 am

No, Kiffin’s fan base isn’t eroding, but he’s under the skin of everybody else, including Mike Slime, in the SEC. Tell the honest truth about how his secondary violations are right in line with everyone else’s in the SEC, admit that this staff did the best coaching job in the SEC given what they had to work with, and all you have left is a guy who talks too much.
He’s not here for anyone else in the SEC but UT people, and those are the ones that love him and the only ones that count.

Old Dawg

December 17th, 2009
11:21 am

Tennessee fans are crazy about Kiffin the way professional wrestling fans are crazy about their favorite body slammer. They love the way he takes cheap shots at other coaches and players from other universities. They love the way calls out other teams for cheating, but they don’t think the hostess issues is real.

And they love the way every other fan base in the SEC hates their coach.

So, sure, he’s great copy. If I was still in the sports writing business I’d love the guy. It’s and up and down business with a lean toward the jerk of the day … and Kiffin is ALWAYS the jerk of the day!

Amnesiac

December 17th, 2009
11:27 am

As a Vowel fan, I’m torn. I saw an improved effort from the team and staff, but some of this stuff concerns me. Not because UT is doing worse stuff than other NCAA institutions but because they’re doing it badly. Big-time college athletics and all the cash involved are by their nature corrupting forces.

How many Division I athletes are really “student-’athletes?” When they have tutors, databases of every test or quiz given by every member of the faculty, hostesses, and etc., what do their degrees really signify?

Let’s be real. They’re not student-athletes, they’re minor-leaguers auditioning for the NFL.

There just ain’t no Robert Maynard Hutchens sitting in any university presidential offices these days, with the huevos to call it what it is.

Otto

December 17th, 2009
11:28 am

Ryno, I don’t see pics of HS players with girls from other schools on the field after a game.

We Run This State

December 17th, 2009
11:29 am

Schultzie……

This article stiull makes you bald and ugly. And theres no denying you have a grudge against UGA Football. Sorry we beat your team during their “dream season”.

—–30-24—–
1-8
60-39-5

Jeff Schultz

December 17th, 2009
11:30 am

To everybody regarding “We Run This State’s” comment: I rest my case.

GeoffDawg

December 17th, 2009
11:31 am

Maybe so. UT’s fanbase is notoriously old school. Hiring somebody as young as Kiffin in the first place probably constituted a huge leap of faith. The fact that he’s now proving the old codgers right about whippersnappers in general does nothing to endear him.

Winning will help but unless he gets the SEC title next year or alternatively, cleans up his act, then he’s going to keep having a very disgruntled core constituency.

JJ

December 17th, 2009
11:31 am

Kiffin will never make good on his promise that he will never lose to UGA. I’ll bet they lose at UGA next year. He says the most ridiculous things….

GeoffDawg

December 17th, 2009
11:36 am

Also, I agree with you Schultz that you’re generally pretty evenhanded in being sarcastically derogatory to every team (in a good way) but I do think you had it in for Phil Fulmer re: the whole Johnny Majors controversy.

Nerd-Central @ North Ave

December 17th, 2009
11:36 am

Newton’s Law of Motion is false because for every illegal action by Kiffin, there has not been an equal and opposite reaction from Mr. Slive. I will use this example for my senior thesis here at the great institute.

Bill

December 17th, 2009
11:37 am

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/12/17/gator-recruits-shown-flashing-a-gun-gang-signs/

Quit picking on the Vols. At least their recruits aren’t waving around guns like the Gators.

Nerd-Central @ North Ave

December 17th, 2009
11:38 am

Anyone want to talk about Calculus?

Jeff Shultz

December 17th, 2009
11:38 am

Yes I am a Gator homer and have queer thoughts about Meyer and Tebow…thought I’d clear that up.

Sanford Drive

December 17th, 2009
11:39 am

Tony and Mark can suck it, but as a dawg fan I actually like Jeff.

I live in Knoxville, and everyone here thinks Lane Kiffin is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Everytime they are in the hot seat for violations the fans say “Oh this is such a non-issue.” But then try to accuse Saban of being a cheater every step of the way. Go figure.

MIke

December 17th, 2009
11:40 am

The only people that want him gone are Pro-Fulmer fans. Opposing fans love to hate him and new school TN fans love him. Yes, he is going to get under people’s skin but you have to give him some credit on turning around the Vols this year. Cromptons improvment is a story within itself and the Vols were competitive in every game (except Ole Miss) unlike the past 4-5 years under Fulmer when they would get blown out by UGA, Bama, or UF. I know opposing fans and media cannot do it but reserve coaching judgements until year 3 and I think that gives a better picture of if he is a good coach or not.

kiffinator

December 17th, 2009
11:40 am

who is this idiot sonny clusters and anyone who can agitate uga fans this much has got to be doing something right. the main reason he gets under the skins of dawg nation members is that they are scared to death that UT is moving up and past the bulldogs as far as the schools football programs.

BlueTickCoonHound

December 17th, 2009
11:40 am

Vol Fan here,
Kiffin should not be fired. All of the hoopla about “violations” hasn’t amounted to anything as of yet. Do Bama fans think St. Nick should be fired for all the free textbooks? Of course not, and that resulted in REAL penalties. Winning cures all. Kiffin has two more years to compete for an eastern division crown, then we can revisit this question. If, in the meantime, a MAJOR scandal is proven (not just alleged), then this is a close question – but the scuttlebutt surrounding Kiffin does not cause real Vol fans to seek his ouster. If anything, it just keeps UT in the news and in recruits’ minds. GBO!

Jeff Shultz

December 17th, 2009
11:42 am

Yes my predictions are always wrong and I look like a little girl with hurt feelings when I write these….I dont care I LOVE MEYER and wish He’d “coach” me.

VOL FAN

December 17th, 2009
11:42 am

Why don’t you report on things regarding UGA? They have plenty of dirt there too.

Nerd-Central @ North Ave

December 17th, 2009
11:44 am

Kiffin’s mouth produces 1.5 Kilojoules per hour. His results produce 10 Joules per month. In summary, Kiffin’s mouth is a very ineffecient machine. It suffers from large amounts of heat loss and requires 95% of its energy to keep its mouth moving and leaves only 5% to produce results. This results in excessive amounts of fuel burn (Kiffin’s checkbook), producing no output.

dap01

December 17th, 2009
11:45 am

Kiffin is an embarrassment to the SEC. He is classless and crude.

Norton

December 17th, 2009
11:46 am

How can you dislike someone who beats Georgia? Even if he’s a one man circus.

Nachos

December 17th, 2009
11:47 am

I like Lane… he’s very entertaining.

PMC

December 17th, 2009
11:47 am

But I like you Jeff and I think you do a good job

pilgrim

December 17th, 2009
11:48 am

Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show and Hostess Cupcakes.

Jeff Shultz

December 17th, 2009
11:49 am

When all this goes away with nothing proving Kiffin didnt anything wrong its OK because surely no one will remember and call me out over and over again and again on website and make me look foolish. I mean no one can tell I hate Kiffin right? I am I am a “Journalist” with integrity..right? I mean no one will constantly make fun of me over these constant stream of “HATE KIFFIN” articles…right?

Witch Doctor say you in for a “Great” career as an advertisement writer for AJC

Papadawg

December 17th, 2009
11:50 am

Heck I know quite a few Vol fans and I don’t know what he’s done so far to embarrass them unless he shot a deer in a petting zoo. Wait a minute I know a Vol fan who did that

Walter Miller

December 17th, 2009
11:52 am

I think Coach Kiffin is the best thing for Tennessee football since General Neyland.

Walt

Ut ‘81

H.S. Coach

December 17th, 2009
11:52 am

Shultz, I enjoy your columns generally make me laugh. Keep up the good work.

uga_b

December 17th, 2009
11:53 am

Hey Jeff, if you are bald and ugly, why aren’t you on PTI? I rest MY Case!

The Cox Sisters

December 17th, 2009
11:54 am

Nice article, Mr. Schlitz (burp). Very insightful commentary filled with much wit, levity and a bracing dose of sarcasm. We like your writing very much and hope you’ll continue to write for us.

Bald is beautiful and your paycheck’s in the mail.

Gdawg 84

December 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Well Jeff, UGA is doing our part to keep Kiffen around. Much like the Zooker, if he can consistently beat UGA (CWM had apparently never seen a bootleg before), he will be around longer than he otherwise would be.

Vols85

December 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Jeff, I am both an alum and lifelong bleeder of all things orange. That said, I do not wear orange colored glasses when it comes to issues involving the school, whether it’s on the academic or athletics side of the University. And I appreciate players from other schools and when a team has thoroughly outplayed the Vols (see Darren McCluster & Ole Miss this year). However, as I keep in touch with many Vol fans both in Tennessee and here in the Atlanta area, I can tell you that the overwhelming sentiment seems to be, “We love our coach. We love the way he tweaks other coache’s noses and gets under the skin of Urban and Spurrier. (BTW: why wasn’t Spurrier ever called out for doing the same? And don’t hand me the “well at least he had won something” crap. Spurrier started spewing crap at his press conference introducing him as the head Gaytor). “We also love Kiffin’s ability to relentlessly recruit, show some much lacking emotion, and energize the program. If any of these most recent allegations are proven to be true and are tied back to Kiffin or any other coach having knowledge then the program should be penalized accordingly. If however, as many journalists across the country, including this paper’s Mr. Barnhardt, have suggested that there may not be anything more than secondary violations involved, I wonder if there will be any apologies from the NCAA or retractions from reckless bloggers, supposed “witnesses”, broadcasters, or writers. That’s what we call a sucker bet.

Herschel Talker

December 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Chris Henry is dead

uga_b

December 17th, 2009
11:56 am

BTW, Kiffin learned how to recruit from USC. Now that he has moved to the SEC he needs to realize the NCAA comes after you here…unlike USC. I am talking about you Cheat Carroll.

Jeff Shultz

December 17th, 2009
11:57 am

oh and I quote “Bleacher report” and ” craigslist” do you think anyone notices I really dont have a clue about sports…just REALLY hate Kiffin? God I wish I could get a date…….Oh well I do have a Meyer pic to “think” about on these lonely lonely nights……

Walter Miller

December 17th, 2009
11:57 am

Except for a blocked field goal, Coach Kiffin beat Bama this year – oh, and the 8 penalties on the Vols vs. one on the Tide – that was a factor too.

Bama shellacked the Gators, but didn’t even score a TD on the Vols.

Do we like Kiffin? Oh yes we do, if ‘we’ have a lick of sense.

Walt

Ut ‘81

Goergia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

December 17th, 2009
11:58 am

Attn Jeff, aka Toolboy,

Your fabulous journalistic column today is going to attract large numbers of Vols and Gaytors (undercover NERDS).

Please be advised

(((((((((((((((30-24))))))))))))))))

Orange Bowl or not, WHO’S YOUR DADDY???

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

MiltonDawg

December 17th, 2009
11:59 am

He’s a young coach and this is how he attracts young recruits- talking down to their level

RebelCPA

December 17th, 2009
11:59 am

Al Davis was right about Lane Kiffin.