Kiffin introduced as UT coach; will make $2 million in 2009

A new shade of orange

Kiffin introduced as UT coach; will make $2 million in 2009

Photo by Michael Patrick, News Sentinel

UT introduces Lane Kiffin as new head coach

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New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about his experience and growing up learning the game.

New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about his experience and growing up learning the game. Watch »

Video

New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about the plan for the offense.

New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about the plan for the offense. Watch »

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New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about his experience recruiting and what his plan is for UT recruitment.

New UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks about his experience recruiting and what his plan is for UT recruitment. Watch »

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Lane Kiffin was introduced as the Vols' head football coach during a gathering of donors Monday afternoon.

Photo by Michael Patrick // Buy this photo

Lane Kiffin was introduced as the Vols' head football coach during a gathering of donors Monday afternoon.

With an eye to the future, a tip of the cap to the past and a few quips mixed in, Tennessee introduced Lane Kiffin as its new head football coach Monday afternoon at a press conference inside Neyland Stadium.

Athletic director Mike Hamilton hailed the 33-year-old former Oakland Raiders head coach and Southern California offensive coordinator as an energetic coach and a charismatic recruiter.

"He has made a significant impression on me in the short time I have known him," Hamilton said, "and I know he will have the same effect on the entire Volunteer family in short order."

Kiffin spent Sunday in Knoxville meeting with his new team and contacting recruits. Before leaving on a recruiting trip Monday evening, Kiffin told media and boosters gathered in the Wolf-Kaplan Center he would work for his new football program.

"I want the Tennessee family to know this is what I'm going to give you: I'm going to roll my sleeves up and go to work," he said. "I'm not promising you how many wins we're going to have, how many championships . . . But no one's going to outwork us. No one's going to outwork me as a head coach. No one's going to outwork our staff that we put together. That's the promise I'm giving you. The wins will come after that."

Kiffin signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday morning, which included several items that will be included in his finished contract:

* Kiffin's deal runs through 2014 and averages $2.375 million over the six-year deal. He will earn $2 million this season.

* Tennessee would have to pay $7.5 million to buy out Kiffin's contract in the next two years. That sum drops to $5 million in 2013.

* Kiffin would owe UT $1 million if he left in 2009. That sum drops by $200,000 each year over the course of his contract.

According to Hamilton, negotiations began with a six-year deal.

Kiffin replaces Phillip Fulmer, who was fired Nov. 3 after 16-plus seasons at UT in which he guided the Vols to two SEC championships, a BCS national championship and 152 wins.

Kiffin acknowledged Fulmer several times Monday, saying he'd like to develop a relationship with his predecessor at some point in the future. He also embraced Tennessee's tradition and the expectations of competing for championships.

"The bar here is extremely high," Kiffin said. "I love it. If the bar wasn't there, I wouldn't want to be here. Coach Fulmer's done an unbelievable job. Remarkable. One of the greatest runs in college football. That's the truth. Like I said, I'm here to continue that and see what we can do."

Four assistant coaches - Greg Adkins, Stan Drayton, Jason Michael and Latrell Scott - have been retained for at least the short term. Kiffin said those coaches will be on the road recruiting and will be evaluated during the process.

Kiffin also said he will interview those four as well as other candidates to fill out his staff. Only 29-year-old former South Carolina quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator David Reaves, who is Kiffin's brother-in-law, has been officially hired. His position is to be determined.

Kiffin could perhaps even serve as his own offensive coordinator. In Oakland, he called offensive plays before turning over those duties to an assistant during the preseason this year.

"The only way I'm not going to call the plays, it's got to be somebody that I feel great with, that I have a relationship with already that I can really trust," he said.

UT's four defensive coaches were told Sunday they would not be retained. Kiffin said multiple times Monday that decision was not based on his evaluation of longtime defensive coordinator John Chavis and his staff as coaches, but that he had other coaches in mind.

That could include Kiffin's father, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

ESPN reported Sunday that the elder Kiffin, who makes more than $2 million in Tampa, would join his son's staff at UT. That move likely would not be announced until after Tampa Bay's season is finished.

Still, the financial resources are there to aggressively pursue assistants. Hamilton said that his new head coach has been given "significantly" more money to hire a staff than the $1.935 million UT paid its nine assistants this year.

"Suffice it to say it's aggressive," Hamilton said. "There's no doubt if he lands his first wave of folks he's interested in, it'll have an impact."

Kiffin said piecing together a new staff would take time.

"When it's all said and done, you'll be extremely happy with the staff that comes here," he said. "Give us time on it, and understand it's most important that we do it right, not that we do it fast."

The way Kiffin handled Monday's introduction already made an impact on at least one of his new players.

"(Kiffin) knows how much we love Coach Fulmer and his staff," said linebacker Nick Reveiz, who attended Monday's announcement with several teammates and his father, former UT kicker Fuad Reveiz. "He definitely won me over talking about the respect he has for people in the past and the people who are here now. That's definitely what made me buy in."

Kiffin's nod to Tennessee traditions - and a quip about SEC East rival Florida - could help some others buy in, too.

"I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing 'Rocky Top' all night long after we beat Florida next year. It's going to be a blast," Kiffin said, drawing cheers from boosters in the crowd.

"That line was Mike's idea, by the way. All right Urban?" Kiffin said, referencing Gators coach Urban Meyer.

Kiffin also spoke candidly about his time in Oakland, where he compiled a 5-15 record before being fired by eccentric owner Al Davis earlier this season.

"To go be a head coach in the NFL and deal with the personalities in the NFL and the players and to deal with a completely dysfunctional franchise, that's something that's really valuable," Kiffin said, drawing laughs. "That wasn't a joke. You can't go to school and learn crisis management like going there."

Now, though, Kiffin said he plans to be at Tennessee "for a long time" and doesn't see himself returning to the NFL. His wife, Layla, attended Monday's announcement. The couple has two daughters, Landry, 3, and Pressley, 2, and is expecting a third child in January.

The idea of raising his family in Knoxville, coupled with UT's resources and ability to recruit nationally, ultimately led Kiffin to accept the job.

"Everything's in place," he said. "We don't need another building. We don't need another weight. We've got enough here to win."

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Comments » 437

Volsfan75 writes:

1st

tnbigg writes:

Good luck coach! Bring it on bigg time!

volover writes:

give his daddy $2mil too!!!

VolGraduate writes:

great hire. go vols

OrangeAndWhite4Life writes:

The page has been turned, let's see what this young man can do for UT.

GO Vols !!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Is the bouns for wins over Bulldogs, Bama, and gators

EHSvols23 writes:

is it me, or does he looks nervous

EHSvols23 writes:

i do like him saying "hello" to urban meyer

EHSvols23 writes:

Do you all hear that "current contracts" line he gave for the coaching staff...Can you say Defensive Coordinator - Monte Kiffin...Chief was good, but this is an UPGRADE

RockyTop1_old writes:

Rocky Top you'll always be HOME SWEET Home to me!! ...just practicing... GO VOLS!!

EHSvols23 writes:

I hope he backs it up...He sounds like he's gonna run a USC-East program...Freshman and Sophs in the starting lineup.

elchichon writes:

If what Kiffin said during the press conference is any indication on what is to come during his tenure, bring it on! Go Vols!!!

newtonrail writes:

First word out of his mouth thanking "former Players": Jim Haslam. Never a doubt who fired Fulmer to make sure he didn't pass his coach the General. Whether Kiffin was Haslam's guy, I have no idea. The Haslam family has done a lot for the University, both academically and AD, but I am uncomfortable with a Bobby Lowder type at our school.

easymoney writes:

If you were watching on ESPN they have cut off the conference, you need to go to utsports to continue.

tnbigg writes:

He sounds great! I think he's got his phooey together and this will result in immediate impact...go Coach Kiffin! At first I thought John Adams was going ask about his Dad coming here and I think Coach Kiffin did too judging by his intial reaction as Adams was asking the question...

ctownvol writes:

Headed to Memphis to lock down the #1 recruit? Me likes that.

utgrad93 writes:

He needs to wear a GREEN coaching uniform.

CoverOrange writes:

My guess is Monte will only be here for four years then retire to bounce grandkids on his knee.

My question is if Monte underperforms will Lane have the bulls to fire him? How about his brother-in-law Reaves or his brother from Nebraska if he hires him? Hope the lines of authority have clear demarcations.

EHSvols23 writes:

monte kiffin wont fail with Eric Berry in the secondary..look what he did with John Lynch, Barber..I dont think Monte Kiffin will be the problem turbofan

southernson writes:

YEAAAAAAAA Yime to rock on ROCKY TOP BABY.....COME GET SOME GATORS

TxVol writes:

Gotta love the fresh attitude! This could be GREAT!
GO VOLS!!!

tenacjim#211887 writes:

New buzzword "OK"

TennThunder writes:

I feel this is a GREAT hire for Tennessee. Lane has a tremendous football heritage and brings a large brain trust to the table with incredible recruiting possibilities. He is somewhat of a risk because of his limited track record but we have to have some faith in Mike Hamilton and the the search firm to have vetted him as completely as is possible. After all these are the folks who brought us Bruce Pearl! He is bring assistants to the table also who will energize the program the way it should be. God bless you Phil, John and all of the folks who literally poured their life into Tennessee football. Now let's get behind Lane and his staff and support them and show some loyalty to them and our Volunteers!

Volunatic writes:

Hoping for the best with our new coach.
Welcome to Knoxville, Coach Kiffin. GO VOLS!
Thanks for all the good memories, Coach Fulmer!

tnbigg writes:

I really loved the part about playing whoever is the best player...freshmen included!

SemperVol writes:

Headed to Memphis right away to recruit Marlon Brown. The guy wants to work.

Welcome to Knoxville, Coach Kiffin!

stinky_pinky writes:

He's good. I'm ready to committ to this guy...

EHSvols23 writes:

this enthuisasm is driving me nuts..when is kickoff ?

Basketball_Jones writes:

Well he answered the recruiting nationally prety well....Now lets go to Memphis and get the #1 recruit in the country.

I think in 3 years were a Top 5 team

kycutter writes:

in response to volover:

give his daddy $2mil too!!!

I suspect his dad is worth at least that much! This is an interesting hire and hopefully as successful as the last major hire at Tennessee. Go Vols

thevoice writes:

In 2 years, this program will be back where you and I want it to be. Book it! I'm a man, but may have the perception of a woman. This man Kiffin is football impressive. He will be knocking the heads off of Saban, Myer, Miles, Richt, and anyone else. Just watch him. Discipline, intelligence, humor, recruiting, humility, staff, savvy. It's all here now, people. Enjoy the show. I'm as excited as I was in Tempe, January 1999.

EHSvols23 writes:

his offense will work in college..Cutcliffe ran a pro style offense, but better

SemperVol writes:

Saying all the right things...Sept. 5 can't get here soon enough.

Bring on Western Kentucky!!!!!

cjraney writes:

I liked his comment about the current players: Basically that none of them are starters in his mind. That will be determined on the practice field. Also, "I don't care what they've done up to this point or how many stars they had as a recruit. I don't even care if they're on scholarship."

uwdawg25#557404 writes:

I am so excited!!! I am soooo dang gone glad it wasnt Kelly.. I would still be puking... Go Kiffin... I have your back and you have my support bro!!!

stinky_pinky writes:

what's the date of the orange-white game?? can't wait!

EHSvols23 writes:

david oku is secured, and now Giles!!!

EHSvols23 writes:

i wonder who were the four retained from the previous staff ?

SemperVol writes:

I feel like we'll see a completely different starting lineup in 2009.

TNfaninMS writes:

Best Quote from Coach Kiffin "WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN"

dirtdobber1 writes:

National Championship 2009! Go Obama 2012!

tnbigg writes:

Dang! This is fantastic!

VOLsoldier writes:

Monte coming to UT seems all but a done deal. See the link below. I'll let all the arm chair quaterbacks out there pass judgement on whether or not Lane was the best choice as far as X's and O's are concerned or the ebst choice relative to administrating a Big-Time program, but with Monte backing him up...no one will recruit better on a the National Scene...PERIOD!http://blogs.tampabay.com/bucs/2008/1...

EHSvols23 writes:

drayton, scott....and ...??? help..anyone ?

99gator writes:

well, it looks like kiffin won the press conference.

hope this works out for y'all. i know you all have at least given yourselves a chance by making a coaching change.

when the dust settles....he is going to need some time. keep that in mind.

EHSvols23 writes:

well...his wife is a looker..i liked to see her in orange sundress...I want wish Coach Kiffin all the best. I hope he stays ten years, twenty years

tnbigg writes:

in response to VOLsoldier:

Monte coming to UT seems all but a done deal. See the link below. I'll let all the arm chair quaterbacks out there pass judgement on whether or not Lane was the best choice as far as X's and O's are concerned or the ebst choice relative to administrating a Big-Time program, but with Monte backing him up...no one will recruit better on a the National Scene...PERIOD!http://blogs.tampabay.com/bucs/2008/1...

Good link Bro'...thanks...

suPEARLman writes:

Nice tie.

Can't wait to see how these next few seasons pan out.

GO VOLS!!!!

naplesflvol writes:

I know one thing for SURE... We got the hottest 1st lady of the SEC hands down!!!

99gator writes:

did he really say they would beat florida next season? that is floating on gator boards already.

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