Kiffin-Pahokee feud ends as cameras record apology

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin and his staff are “welcome any day, any time” in Pahokee, Fla. His latest apology — frankly, we’ve lost count of how many he delivered — apparently did the trick Tuesday afternoon. Either that, or the fact that cameras were on hand to record it this time.

“Everything is a go,” Pahokee vice mayor Henry Crawford Jr. told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “[Kiffin] apologized once again, and they are welcome any day, any time.”

The exact language of the apology wasn’t revealed. But Crawford’s statement — “We got an apology; that’s all we wanted” — sounded strange, considering that Tuesday was hardly the first time Kiffin had made such an overture. In fact, the vice mayor made it clear that Kiffin had apologized “once again.”

The rift began in February, when the Vols persuaded Nu’Keese Richardson to set aside his commitment to Florida and sign with Tennessee instead. The feud reached inferno stage when Kiffin wrongly accused the Gators of cheating while trying to woo the Pahokee wide receiver. The comments, which Kiffin said he never intended to go beyond Vols fans at a rally, drew outrage from Florida and a reprimand from the SEC. He apologized then, but his gesture was hardly embraced.

In fact, more than three months after the fact, Pahokee still bore the Vols such ill will that principal Ariel Alejo expelled Tennessee assistant coach Eddie Gran from campus and declared the Vols unwelcome.

Not that it was having an adverse effect on current recruiting efforts — since the Vols have offered five Pahokee players — but Kiffin decided the ill will served nobody well. He took it upon himself to contact Alejo and three Pahokee officials by phone and reiterate his apologies.

Alejo, a reputed Gators fan, also took heat for his position, one that Crawford supported.

“He had the best interests of the community at heart, his school and his football players,” Crawford said. “I don’t think he took it personally. He deemed the statements were inappropriate. I applaud him for taking steps to protect the school, our citizens and my community.”

Still, the vice mayor made it clear that he was relieved the feud was finished. Gran met with Crawford, Pahokee mayor Wayne Whitaker and city manager Matthew Brock. A local TV station was present when Kiffin phoned. But that, Crawford said, wasn’t what was most important.

“It’s not about us. It’s for the kids,” he said. “We can overcome our mistakes, but we shouldn’t hold back the kids.”

63 comments Add your comment

GBO

May 19th, 2009
8:45 pm

Go Big Orange

Clete

May 19th, 2009
10:03 pm

Who Gives A Sh&t??????

tyler

May 19th, 2009
10:12 pm

GO VOLS! and TO ALL VOL fans in GEORGIA.. Tennessee licenses plates have been approved in Georgia, Go get yours today!!!

tyler

May 19th, 2009
10:22 pm

VOL fans living in Georgia, The Power T licenses plates have been approved! Go get yours today! GO VOLS!

TheItalianDawg

May 19th, 2009
10:24 pm

how low teneesse will go to get recruits!!

Vols suck

May 19th, 2009
10:28 pm

Hey vols get off your knees your blowin a small town in florida…..

BS Patrol

May 19th, 2009
10:30 pm

This blog sucks!

bank walker

May 19th, 2009
10:38 pm

Who gives 2 sh*ts who tennersee is bl*w*ng to get recruits!

davil

May 19th, 2009
10:48 pm

Those license plates tell me just who will be driving on the sidewalk.

Urban Warfare

May 19th, 2009
11:08 pm

It’s about time! Gee, I wonder what motivated him to do that!? And of course, Volusional fans will be bragging how he has “manned up”. Kinda like a bank robber who gets caught in the act and says” Oh, didn’t mean to do it, here’s your money back”. Now he needs to go to or call South Carolina and do the same thing. And maybe Bama or Georgia. Hell, just make it a nationwide tour, maybe he can even get over to Oakland!

SecIsFootball

May 19th, 2009
11:11 pm

Isnt it sad that the coach of a major university cannot keep his mouth shut enough to not have to offer apologies for offending an entire community. Maybe he will learn his lesson!

ReptilesRule

May 19th, 2009
11:13 pm

Yeah, he’s about a genuine as that guy on the shamwow commercials.

largearnge

May 19th, 2009
11:26 pm

Not anymore than the pups! Go Vols!

Dave

May 19th, 2009
11:27 pm

Did he apologize in person? He should, for what he said about the people there. That would carry alot of weight as far as his sincerity. He must have really seen a fertile recruiting area slip-sliding away but a face to face was the right thing to do.

Gatorforlfe

May 20th, 2009
1:05 am

Kiffin is total Dumb@$$! Good luck T-nation your GA “Power T” license plates will stand for “TANKED” in GA.

Bamafan

May 20th, 2009
4:59 am

FINALLY I AM HAPPY THIS STORY IT OVER WITH AND ALL THE MEDIA CAN STOP WRITING
ABOUT THIS SILLY STORY!! LANE KIFFIN IS A SPORTSWRITER DREAM COME TRUE!!
ROLL TIDE AND GO DAWGS!!

[...] Comments The good news is that Junior and Pahokee have kissed and made up.  There’s even a public record! Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin and his staff are “welcome any day, any time” in Pahokee, [...]

gtforever

May 20th, 2009
7:27 am

Good Grief, Does anybody really care….

tyler

May 20th, 2009
7:39 am

what a dumbass “bamafan” GO VOLS!

YOU MISSED IT!!

May 20th, 2009
7:51 am

You missed the biggest issue. It wasnt taking the guy from UF, it was the fake phone call. How juvenile and embarassing. When a college coach grabs a kids phone and pretends to be the recruit, calls the high school coach…who the hell is this guy and why do you do that? What a moron.

UT96

May 20th, 2009
8:14 am

Hey Italian Dawg- It’s T-E-N-N-E-S-S-E-E you retard. I suppose they don’t teach spelling at Georgia.

UGA man

May 20th, 2009
8:17 am

Kiffy’s blunders ain’t over yet Bama Fan. Word has it that he expelled gas yesterday. Three AJC reporters are on the way to Knoxville to interview him and those who were present. We can expect at least another 2 months of articles on whether or not it was intentional, whether or not it inspired recruits, what the Vol fans think, etc.. At least one AJC reporter will say it was planned and even more creative than the Auburn limo.

B

May 20th, 2009
8:31 am

Are Kiffin and Meyer getting married ?

godawg

May 20th, 2009
8:47 am

I’m disappointed they didn’t throw Kiffykins in the Pahokee Pokey. :-)

Phoneguy

May 20th, 2009
8:49 am

LMAO at UGA man.

I heard the AJC tried to reach him in Tennessee for a comment, but they couldn’t because he was behind a fence that stretched the whole state.

Too Easy

May 20th, 2009
8:53 am

The fact that there are enough Tennessee fans in Georgia to warrant license plates tells you a lot about Tennessee (And Auburn. And Florida).

Phoneguy

May 20th, 2009
8:56 am

Too Easy: Its the SEC man. Theres tags for all SEC teams in all or just about all, southern states.

UGA man

May 20th, 2009
9:08 am

Yep, Too Easy, tells ya Georgia is a great state to live in.

Phoneguy

May 20th, 2009
9:15 am

I unfortunately work in Tenn. and my buddies have a Georgia tag on their cars and live in Tenn.
So with all that said: Its nothing to brag about.

J Dub

May 20th, 2009
9:32 am

Seriously, why is this news? This is nothing more than a dog and pony show. Kiffin Stinks!

Brock D

May 20th, 2009
9:39 am

“Vols Suck”, do a little research man. Pahokee puts out more NFL talent than alot of “major” cities.

Miles

May 20th, 2009
9:42 am

Kiffin and Mike Hamilton are knuckleheads!

DirtyDawg

May 20th, 2009
10:00 am

‘The Power T’, so that’s what it’s called. Trust me, the only reason it would have been approved, assuming it has been, by the Georgia Legislature is so we can be sure we ‘get the right ones’ when the fight gets started. By the way, don’t worry if the color’s not just right when you first get yours. After all, everybody knows that you can’t really get that color orange until it’s been left out in the sun for a while. And while I’m at it, what is it about Kiffin and that color – notice that you never see him wearing an orange hat or shirt, it’s usually black or something with just that powerade T on it. If it’s because he’s embarrassed about it, then I give him credit for at least some sense.

Urban Liar

May 20th, 2009
10:03 am

Oh me, another Gayturd is going to soon be a convict just like many others.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090519/ARTICLES/905199962

Buttsniffer U

May 20th, 2009
10:08 am

Dirty Dog- you have about as much IQ as the other dogbutt sniffers which is a tad above a moron. Just because we (Jackets) ran over you last season , and embarrassed you pre season #1 losers, don’t take it out on other schools,loser!!!!

"Key the T"

May 20th, 2009
10:09 am

Go ahead and get those plates……….

UT96

May 20th, 2009
10:16 am

Phoneguy, if you don’t like our state, please go back to that godforsaken crap hole that is the state of Georgia. I’m sure you can find a job as a bagboy or dishwasher.

tyler

May 20th, 2009
10:52 am

I love these Bitter UGA fans… Tennessee is in the AJC more than Georgia.. You might wanna be worried about those players who have yet to qualify… and Get used to seeing lots of big orange Tags on the road. :) GO VOLS!

Poopy Pants

May 20th, 2009
10:54 am

Is AJC.com the new home of the Tennessee football blog or what? I dont give a flying squirrel what Kiffin apologized for each day. He’ll be apologizing to Tennessee fans after he goes under .500 the next 3 years and gets canned.

Poopy Pants

May 20th, 2009
10:58 am

The enthusiasm and naive exuberance by Tennessee fans are hilarious. Lame Kitten hasn’t won a single game yet. He’ll be laughed out of the SEC in a few years

VolsRule

May 20th, 2009
11:07 am

Give Kiffin a season or two – we pass UGA – and they will be fading away in the rear view mirror.

I agree with posts from Bama and Gator fans thay UGA peaked – and while they will be tough – they are more like the Donnan teams – worthy of top 20 ranking – maybe close to Top 10 – but they have peaked.

Although UGA will be favored in Knoxville – this has upset written all over it. Remember Dog fans – we absolutely smoked you 2 of last 3 years. Our defense is better – and last year – the Clawson experiment did not work on the offense – but we are in much better shape that people give us credit. 8 wins minimum in 2009.

The only teams I fear and respect on the schedule are Florida and Alabama. The rest are games we can win – or at least be very competitive in.

Time to get that POWER T license plate!!!!

Donte Stallworth

May 20th, 2009
11:11 am

Can’t wait till I get my “power T” plate so I can drive all over Georgia! Coming soon…to a town near you! PS Stay off the sidewalk, too!

Beverly Hillbillies

May 20th, 2009
11:14 am

Hey, how come our plate has a burnt orange T and says “Longhorns”??

Loser Lane

May 20th, 2009
11:16 am

Can’t wait till I get mine so I can go over to South Carolina to get some gas! Always wanted to meet George Rodgers!

Poopy Pants

May 20th, 2009
11:17 am

Haha. “VolsRule”–smoking someone the last 2 of 3 years means nothing in college football when players turnover every single year. We “smoked” you LAST YEAR, which holds more water than what happened two years before when UGA plays the Vols again in the Fall.

Poopy Pants

May 20th, 2009
11:19 am

The only thing Vols will be “smoking” this year will be he reefer while drinking the kool-aid

Richard Nixon

May 20th, 2009
11:23 am

I would like to at this time commend Lane Kiffin for his sincere apology to the people of Pahokee. Now see there, I told you! HE IS NOT AN IDIOT!!!

DirtyDawg

May 20th, 2009
11:24 am

I remember when MLK was murdered in Tennessee. I was stationed in Tennessee at the time, had a Tennessee license plate, and was, with reason, concerned about driving in Georgia with that plate on my rear-end…concerned that I might get it shot off. You ‘power t’ displayers will find out soon enough how it feels.

Britton Colquitt

May 20th, 2009
11:34 am

Hey Donte! I’ve got shotgun!

Linda Bensel-Meyers

May 20th, 2009
11:36 am

Gee, I thought that big “T” stood for “tutored”.