Higgins: Kiffin unqualified to coach Vols

If Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton hires unemployed 33-year-old Lane Kiffin as the Vols' next football coach, he's basically sending the following message to Tennessee fans:

"I'm cheap and I'm easy."

Cheap because Kiffin, fired by the NFL's Raiders earlier this season as their head coach, has no buyout. Easy because Hamilton doesn't have to sweat during the Christmas holidays about making a hire to replace the departing Phillip Fulmer.

I've seen this head coach search before, circa Ole Miss in December 2004, when the Rebels were sweet-talked the week before Christmas into hiring the disaster known as Ed Orgeron.

We know how that horror movie turned out, don't we? Three seasons of players being verbally abused, a third of Coach Ohmygawd recruiting classes quitting or becoming ineligible, and the rest of the SEC wondering what the Ole Miss administration was smoking the day they hired Coach 0-for-the-SEC.

Of course, Hamilton is denying he's offered Kiffin the job, though sources close to the situation are leaking more information than grounded oil tankers gush bubbling crude.

There are a few reasons why Kiffin isn't the right hire, and they are more than enough for Hamilton to look elsewhere.

Kiffin has never accomplished anything as a head coach. All his rep comes from his time as Southern Cal's supposed offensive coordinator in 2005 and 2006, but USC didn't win the national titles in those years as it did the previous two seasons.

Also, play-calling was shared with quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian, with USC head coach Pete Carroll having veto power.

So just how brilliant is the boy wonder Kiffin? Consider that the University of Washington, a Pac-10 school, has an opening, and they haven't even given Kiffin, someone who knows the league, a sniff.

You know the rest of the SEC is hoping Tennessee hires a 33-year-old, who just happens to be just a year older than former Vols quarterback Peyton Manning (Hey, can we get Peytie Pie to be the next coach?).

Sticking Kiffin in the SEC's all-star lineup of coaches that includes four coaches who have won national championships (Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, Urban Meyer) and another with an unbeaten season (Auburn's Tommy Tuberville) would be like tossing a goldfish into a pool of piranhas.

Hamilton's hiring Kiffin would be an admission that Tennessee is a second-rate program, not on par with Alabama and Florida, the SEC's powers du jour.

When Alabama was shopping for a coach after firing Mike Shula (in some respects a Kiffin clone), Alabama athletic director Mal Moore knew his job was on the line if he didn't sign Saban. Moore, with an open checkbook, knew he couldn't come home to Tuscaloosa if Saban, then the Dolphins' coach, wasn't on the plane with him from Miami.

When Florida was seeking a coach after firing overmatched Ron Zook, Florida outbid mighty Notre Dame for Urban Meyer, coach of the unbeaten University of Utah.

So if I'm Hamilton, I'd make either Texas Tech's Mike Leach or North Carolina's Butch Davis write in blood that they wouldn't want to coach Tennessee before giving up on them.

They are the type of innovative and proven coaches Tennessee deserves, not a 33-year-old who supposedly wants to hire (are you ready?) old USC staff coaching pal Orgeron.

Thirty-three years old? Phillip Fulmer probably has jockey shorts that age.

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Comments » 292

softball writes:

if he brings his daddy with him I think its a good hire.

TommyJack writes:

Someone with more experience, fine. Leach or Davis, no.

Maverick1921 writes:

Don't sugar coat it... Tell us what you really think!

suttree writes:

Well said. Even if Kiffin had some success at UT he would be looking for NFL redemption almost immediately. Sad to say but a Kiffen pick turns the UT job into a revolving door of coaches . . ala UGa pre-Richt.

mdvol writes:

Higgins is a John Adams clone. If you didn't notice, your boy Leach and Butchy both got their butt's kicked last weekend. Kiffin is the guy. Kesling can start scripting the Lane Kiffin show.

james_lay writes:

This is a perfect example of saying that just because you're under the age of 40, you can't do the job. Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant article. Leach has done WHAT??? SERIOUSLY. Yeah, he runs the spread. Yeah, he's over the age of 40. He's had ONE great year. This year. Butch?? Sure, great resume for sure. But he's a certified, grade A, 100% angus beef JOB HOPPER. It's a proven fact.

Was Bruce Peal that highly regarded?? Nope. He wasn't.

Kiffin is as safe a bet as Kelly, Davis, Leach, Bruno, Peterson, etc. And you cannot argue that, no matter HOW you twist it.

Kiffin COULD be the next thing, and it's a good play to go after him. He can recruit. He doesn't run the spread. He's got a GREAT pedigree. He has NATIONAL ties. You can't hold Oakland against him. I mean, if anything was his fault, it was taking the job in the first place. To actually think you could succeed working for Al Davis is a bit of a stretch. But, hey, A+ effort.

1) He is a non-family member. Which is what everyone wanted.

2) He can recruit. Which is what everyone wanted.

3) He's a fresh face. Which is what everyone wanted.

4) He is a national name. Which is what everyone wanted. (Maybe not as big as some wanted, but seriously, quit drinking kool-aid if you think UT is currently a super-job for coaches.)

So pray he brings Orgeron with him. Beg he brings dad with him. If he does, then it will be the RIGHT move.

Maverick1921 writes:

I can't believe the guy isn't even "hired" yet and people are already bashing the new ball coach so much. The fact of the matter is we have no idea how he will do as a head coach. You can't throw in the Raiders scenario. Who in the world could succeed under 'ol scrooge. At least give Kiffin a shot before you call for his head. He might blow us all away with his coaching ability. Also, unless you have had dinner with Kiff lately, how in the world do you know he will jump at the earliest chance to try the NFL again?

uwishuwereassmartasme (Inactive) writes:

WOW. That didn't take long.

Higgins writes, "So if I'm Hamilton, I'd make either Texas Tech's Mike Leach or North Carolina's Butch Davis write in blood that they wouldn't want to coach Tennessee before giving up on them."

Well, if you were Hamilton, you wouldn't be some second rate hack writing for a rag of a newspaper!!

NorthfaceCB writes:

Why does the freaking news sentinel keep on posting articles from a memphis d-bag who hates our program anyway? I could literally care less what Ron "moron" Higgins has to say. He would only recommend himself as coach because no one knows more about college football then the almighty Ron Higgins. Idiot.

Pullingguard writes:

Higgins is another clone of John Adams... Got a pin and an opinion and not much else that makes sense... Higgins would have wrote the same thing about Meyer before he proved himself at Florida... Higgins would have said what background does he have at Bowling Green and at Utah where the competition is soft... Kiffin for his age was misplaced with Oakland Raiders, but the experience should serve him well for the future. Seriously, there is not another Saban available for Vols/ There are question marks beside all those available, and to be successful for the Vols will take a tremendous effort surrounded by the best assistants all whom love to recruit.. And lets not forgetf, Hamilton will never be able to satisfy all the Higgins, Adams, and the informed fans and uninformed fans of Vols... It,s a boiling oil pit that many prospective coaches want no part of... Kiffin just might be our best choice..

Kevlar24Vol writes:

Ron Higgins is an idiot plain and simple. That is not gospel by any means. Fact is no one has any way of knowing whether this will be a good hire until the results come in.

Recruiting wise....don't think we go wrong here.

shipperman#280095 writes:

Higgins is an idiot. He wanted Leach.

txvolsfan writes:

I think Higgins should stick to Kitty High and the bball program. Last I checked Richt has done OK and so has Bob Stoops and the were coord.. Higgins really is John
Adams of muddy river city!!! He sucks

pkaplan writes:

The Commercial Appeal is owned by the same company that owns the News Sentinel. Stories and columns written by Ron Higgins appear regularly in the News Sentinel and GVX.

Razzle writes:

in response to Kevlar24Vol:

Ron Higgins is an idiot plain and simple. That is not gospel by any means. Fact is no one has any way of knowing whether this will be a good hire until the results come in.

Recruiting wise....don't think we go wrong here.

I agree. Higgins is full of hot air.

tennrich1 writes:

Higgins, you make about as much sense as my dog would...if he could talk...NOTHING qualifies your opinion...stay out of the hiring process and report on the team....

hotrodvol writes:

in response to DCflorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get your shots in now because soon you also will be looking. Will you change your screen name to DCgoldendomer?

stinky_pinky writes:

Let me get this straight....Phil Fulmer had experience when he was given the job?

Kiffin has an opportunity to put together a staff that's experienced and, most importantly, can recruit better than any team out there. Hate on Orgeron all you want (and I live in Memphis, so I know he's a total meat)but the guy can flat-out recruit w/ the best out there. Add Monte and keep O as your D line/recruiting co/Assist Coach and our D front will be the least priority in a yr or two.

Kiffin's a recruiter, O's a recruiter, and I think everyone can agree that's the bottom line in Big Orange country.

Also...what about Troop??? Now that Chief's gone, bring him back as a co-OC - is this a possibility? That could be the best assembled recruiting staff ever put together. Again, all about recruiting at our school...

RECRUITING

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to pkaplan:

The Commercial Appeal is owned by the same company that owns the News Sentinel. Stories and columns written by Ron Higgins appear regularly in the News Sentinel and GVX.

Happy Thanksgiving, Bro Kaplan.

How do your charts on this situation look this fine AM and at what time will you study film?

Final phase of this circus will soon be over.

movol77 writes:

DCflorida, perhaps Kiff can learn from the "grown-ups" from Gainesville on how to throw his visor (Spurrier), snarl at female, on-field reporters (Meyer), dote on himself (M), remind people who's in-charge (M), cuss out the QB on TV (S), whine about the BCS (M), primping for the BCS (M), throw his headset (everyone knows who), etc.

BigMix writes:

Fire Hamilton reinstate Fulmer. Simple as that.

coltvol33 writes:

in response to uwishuwereassmartasme:

WOW. That didn't take long.

Higgins writes, "So if I'm Hamilton, I'd make either Texas Tech's Mike Leach or North Carolina's Butch Davis write in blood that they wouldn't want to coach Tennessee before giving up on them."

Well, if you were Hamilton, you wouldn't be some second rate hack writing for a rag of a newspaper!!

Good comment. Higgins is an idiot.

DingoVol writes:

in response to james_lay:

This is a perfect example of saying that just because you're under the age of 40, you can't do the job. Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant article. Leach has done WHAT??? SERIOUSLY. Yeah, he runs the spread. Yeah, he's over the age of 40. He's had ONE great year. This year. Butch?? Sure, great resume for sure. But he's a certified, grade A, 100% angus beef JOB HOPPER. It's a proven fact.

Was Bruce Peal that highly regarded?? Nope. He wasn't.

Kiffin is as safe a bet as Kelly, Davis, Leach, Bruno, Peterson, etc. And you cannot argue that, no matter HOW you twist it.

Kiffin COULD be the next thing, and it's a good play to go after him. He can recruit. He doesn't run the spread. He's got a GREAT pedigree. He has NATIONAL ties. You can't hold Oakland against him. I mean, if anything was his fault, it was taking the job in the first place. To actually think you could succeed working for Al Davis is a bit of a stretch. But, hey, A+ effort.

1) He is a non-family member. Which is what everyone wanted.

2) He can recruit. Which is what everyone wanted.

3) He's a fresh face. Which is what everyone wanted.

4) He is a national name. Which is what everyone wanted. (Maybe not as big as some wanted, but seriously, quit drinking kool-aid if you think UT is currently a super-job for coaches.)

So pray he brings Orgeron with him. Beg he brings dad with him. If he does, then it will be the RIGHT move.

Amen brother James. If you don't believe bringing in great recruits is key to a winning program, please take a look at the 1990s UT Vols. They won because of talent only. If Spurrior would have had those teams, he would have won 2-3 more Nat'l Titles. Kiffin will recruit. He will surround himself with great coaches. I bet the Maverick never makes it on the field and our DB's will be in the receivers faces instead of 9 yards off the line of scrimmage. Give Kiffin a chance and after he turns the program around, we will act like we didn't read all of the stupid posts saying that he is not the right choice.
Some fans need to realize that candidates are not lining up to come to UT. We love this school and team, but it is not at the top of potential coaches dream job list anymore.
Lane Kiffin has THE most upside of any coach we can get. If he is not the best X and O guy, but he brings in superior talent, we will be just fine.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Razzle writes:

Doug Dickey was 32 when he was coach of Tennessee.

82cat writes:

Apparently the vol media should all meet and decide who should be the next coach. They know it all!

We lost to Wyoming at home on homecoming!! Once you do that folks it realy doesn't matter who you hire because virtually anybody should be able to field and coach an SEC team that can beat Wyoming.

My opinion

Butch Davis - Just doesn't feel right I see him as just an average coach. probably not bad but won't be great.

Mike Leach - media darling - check his record past 5 plus years - average at best and has never even won his division.

Kiffin- didn't like it at first but he may have the highest up side and could come in and recruit like crazy and bring new blood to the hill.

He also could be the biggest flop

I say be bold take a shot with this guy I just have a hunch he may be the one.

bhorton#213253 writes:

Well, Ronnie, if you really think UT's (and maybe the world's) greatest quarterback ever should be disrespected, YOU are not qualified to rule on Kiffin. I'm with the other posters, KNS don't irritate us with this guy any more.

jstrewh2#441076 writes:

Mr. Higgins their is a reason you write and do not coach. Kiffin can coach and will get the program back to where it needs to be. Davis is a cheat, Leach is a one hit wonder, Kelley can coach and would be a good fit, but bring on Kiffin if Fulmer can not stay. Go Vols beat the Cats.

Maverick1921 writes:

in response to BigMix:

Fire Hamilton reinstate Fulmer. Simple as that.

You're exactly right, that's been the solution all along. How dare Hamilton do such a poor job coaching those kids he recruited.

movol77 writes:

in response to bhorton#213253:

Well, Ronnie, if you really think UT's (and maybe the world's) greatest quarterback ever should be disrespected, YOU are not qualified to rule on Kiffin. I'm with the other posters, KNS don't irritate us with this guy any more.

AMEN!!!!!

jacksfacts writes:

The "he will leave for the NFL in 5 years" argument is a little strange to me. If he leaves for the NFL that means he will have had a tremendous amount of success at UT. I would enjoy those years more than the last 5. And if that's the case we would probably be loaded with talent for the next coach.

OldNumber7 writes:

Amen. But Butch Davis hasn't done anything more than Kiffin either - what's up with that? Better get Leach (offense) and make sure Chavis stays...that's the only consistent combo that can win on both sides of the ball with a mountain of consistency to back it up.

adamsck#591720 writes:

Ron Higgins is a malcontent. If Hamilton hired Jesus Christ this bag of vinegar and water would complain about that as well. For years I though Adams was the worst guy covering the Vols. Then I started reading the Commercial Appeal online. Who cares?

jabark82 writes:

Wow! What a scathing article... So Mike Leach is qualified to coach at UT? Nevermind that Texas Tech had not won 10 games in a season under Leach until this season. Nevermind that his defenses are routinely lit up. All we seem to notice is his ridiculous offense. An offense that, by the way, would NEVER work in the SEC. Saban and Meyer would have him for lunch. Butch Davis is older than Fulmer! Why would you want someone who is only be around for 5 years at most? If Kiffin is the guy I'll support him. He wasnt my first choice and I dont have some concerns about him, but I am willing to see if this guy is the "golden boy" or not.

ctownvol writes:

in response to pkaplan:

The Commercial Appeal is owned by the same company that owns the News Sentinel. Stories and columns written by Ron Higgins appear regularly in the News Sentinel and GVX.

Well hey Kappy. Happy Thanksgiving. Just because Higgins works for a paper owned by the same parent company doesn't mean the guy isn't a certified IDIOT. Leach? Davis? C'mon. I'd like to run into Higgins on the street and ask him where he gets off calling Mr. Manning Petey Pie.

estillspgsvol writes:

Hire Norm Chow, keep Chavis as DC, and let Chow fill the assistant positions.

movol77 writes:

Higgie, come to UT and call #16 "Peytie Pie." The Orange Nation has a message for you.

BTW, is Higgie the blonde with the "she said she said" line in the tailgate TV commercial?

diamond_dave35#235769 writes:

in response to BigMix:

Fire Hamilton reinstate Fulmer. Simple as that.

I agree 110%

hotrodvol writes:

Really if Kiffin gets 2.5mil.per., UT has a lot of money left to spend on top notch asst. coaches. Does anyone know if Kiffin will be OC also or will someone else have that title.

VolMoment writes:

We have a "saying" in West Tenn., if the commercial appeal is against something, then do it. Especially if its UT sports. They are so jealous. Adams would be a good fit at the commercial appeal. Neither one can go anywhere else because it is all personal with them, not intelligent sports writing. Oh wait a minute, you have to have a brain and a personally to have intelligents. So, if John and Ron read this, I apologize because they can't understand what I'm saying.

milchkine writes:

What is up with all these writers and talk host? If they cannot pick the next UT coach they just attack the guy that is hired.
If the new guy fails, they say "I told you so", if he doesn't, they jsut keep right on going and there are no consequences.
If it is indeed Kiffin, he will be my coach. Coach Fulmer is my coach until Sat. night.
Unqualified? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.

Jamey1210 writes:

Well, Higgins thank god your not Hamilton. I am so glad your area of expertise is hiring a football coach now. I was under the assumption that your job was to report news and not you idiotic opinions to waver Tennessee fans. I think all the media liked having us torn between wanting a coach and not. I am starting to hate this site. Your a reporter not a football expert. Do you Dam* job. Quit reporting opinions and start reporting news. Oh yeah you can't get any good new unless you all read other REPORTERS work.

dyoung2020#325368 writes:

First, Happy Thangsgiving to everyone. Second, we all have a problem. We complain about Phil, now we have complained about every possible replacement. I've heard Kiffin is a boy wonder whose daddy got him his jobs. Butch Davis is a loser who couldn't win in Cleveland, Leach's system won't work once the gimmick wears off, Brian Kelly has a poor winning percentage at CMU and in the Big East no less. What are we looking for? I'm going to be THANKFUL that we get to look forward to the possiblility that whoever we hire can get us back to an SEC championship and to a BCS bowl. Come on Coach Kiffin, and Coach M. Kiffin.

milchkine writes:

Go BIG ORANGE!

stinky_pinky writes:

Lane Kiffin HC

Monte Kiffin DC
Ed Orgeron DL/ Assist head co/recruiting c

Trooper Taylor assist OC???

U serious?????? That's pretty f'n sick!

Lets go recruit!

geojeff writes:

Kiffin would be a good hire because of recruiting recruiting recruiting
-He's young
-He can recruit
-He's up for job of recruiting across the country
-He's young and talk new recruits language...ie he probably knows how to text message
-He would bring a pro style offense and defense...attracting more recruits
-He has a ton of upside

*If he is anything like his dad, he will be the man (I live in Tampa)

dyoung2020#325368 writes:

in response to milchkine:

What is up with all these writers and talk host? If they cannot pick the next UT coach they just attack the guy that is hired.
If the new guy fails, they say "I told you so", if he doesn't, they jsut keep right on going and there are no consequences.
If it is indeed Kiffin, he will be my coach. Coach Fulmer is my coach until Sat. night.
Unqualified? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.

That is what's wrong with sports today. We no longer get to hear stories about the actual games and players we get to hear the opinions of fools like Skip Bayless, Stephen A Smith (who I actually like), and Ron Higgins??? These guys are insignificant. If they knew who should be hired, they would be ADs, not reporters.

jackbwana writes:

Higgins is right-on about Kiffin, who would be a bigger laughing joke than his buddy Orgeron. The kid has very little experience and Oakland found that out very quick and canned him. There are a lot of good candidates out there hambone can and hopefully will look at.

rkastens writes:

Hire Leach and you might as well hire Hal Mumme. Lots of inflated offensive numbers but got the snot kicked out of him by Oklahoma. One season does not a great coach make. In my mind hiring Leach isn't any less risky than hiring Kiffin. Perhaps Davis' rebuilding of Miami and the turn-around it looks like he's doing at UNC, he's much more proven than Kiffin or Leach. So if you're arguing for a proven commidity, talk to me about Davis but don't talk to me about Leach. Merely putting up offensive numbers at Texas Tech is not impressive to me. I'd rather have Kiffin than Leach - more upside. With Leach, what you see is what you get.

TommyJack writes:

in response to dyoung2020#325368:

That is what's wrong with sports today. We no longer get to hear stories about the actual games and players we get to hear the opinions of fools like Skip Bayless, Stephen A Smith (who I actually like), and Ron Higgins??? These guys are insignificant. If they knew who should be hired, they would be ADs, not reporters.

These guys are opinion writers. Can't see what gets everyone's briefs in a wad. Who cares what a Memphis, or for that matter, a Knoxville writer opines.
And another thang. Other than one huge season at Miami (and several pretty good ones), what da hell is the facination with Butch Davis? I mean, really.

gohawks1 writes:

Anything that comes from the Commercial Appeal must usually be taken with a grain of salt, but this time I find myself agreeing with Higgins. Kiffin has proven nothing as a head coach. His record with the Raiders was 5-15, for Pete's sake. The success that USC enjoyed while he was there isn't much of an endorsement either. I mean, it's Southern Cal, a very rich recruiting area with a great locale.

As for Orgeron, I can do without his abusive nature.

If this is the hire, I fear we're in for some more ugly seasons. Hope I'm wrong.....

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