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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Commentary

USC’s Kiffin latest example of hypocrisy


In what may qualify as the understatement of the year, Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton described Lane Kiffin’s time as head football coach as “brief”. Kiffin recently bailed on the volunteers for the sunnier pastures of Southern California to take over the Trojans’ program, furthering the perception that college coaches’ contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

To date, Kiffin hasn’t impressed as a head coach, and for him to leave a Southeastern Conference power program after one season is a selfish move.  Kiffin, a former USC assistant-then-offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll from 2001-2006, leaves a Vols program that had some great recruits coming in next season, and with five years left on a six-year deal that compensated him nicely.

As far as where this leaves Tennessee, one word comes to mind – embarrassed. A team that was only a blocked field goal away from beating eventual-champion Alabama had room to improve under Kiffin and had reason to believe it could make a run at the SEC title, dethroning Alabama and Florida in the process.

In his two stints as a head coach, Kiffin has posted a 5-15 record with the Oakland Raiders in just over a season and a one-and-done 7-6 season with Tennessee—hardly material that warrants one of the most coveted jobs in college football— but that’s a mistake that falls on the heads of USC officials.

It seems to me Kiffin only cares about himself, and, truth be told, he basically piggy-backed his way to college and pro coaching positions by way of his father Monte Kiffin, who was a longtime defensive coordinator in the NFL.

So now he heads to USC, where the weather is great and the schedule is easier in the Pac-10. His father, along with assistant coach and recruiting front man Ed Orgeron, will also go with Kiffin to USC in hopes of returning the Trojans to the elite in college football.

I know the new head coach at Tennessee, Derek Dooley, will do a great job, but it’s just not fair to Hamilton and that fan base to have a coach bolt for another job after one season. What makes it particularly unfair is the way the Tennessee administration supported him after he repeatedly stirred up controversy in such a short time.

I know that part of the business of hiring a “ladder climber” coach is that he could leave for another job, but isn’t Tennessee a good job?

Kiffen’s sudden departure shocked everyone and didn’t go over well with players and alumni who were again excited about a football program but now have to start over. Does Kiffin not have any feelings or respect for the people of Knoxville and the administration that went to the mat for him?

I don’t like what he did to Tennessee, but give the guy credit – he can recruit with the best of them, and he is a great fit at USC, with good pieces already in place.

Kiffin won’t ever hear the end of it from the people at Tennessee, and he deserves that. It has been a dreadful 2009-2010 at Tennessee. NCAA violations and player dismissals in football and basketball, arrests, gun possessions and Kiffin’s departure weren’t the New Year’s resolutions the Vols were looking for.


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