Kiffin has 'not fired anybody' but Fulmer gets a secretary

Coach was upset after waiting 25 minutes for ride at airport

Despite what you might read in Sports Illustrated, new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin hasn't contributed to Knoxville's unemployment rate.

"He has not fired anybody," UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said Thursday afternoon. "If he said he has fired somebody, that's not true. I don't know if he said it from a standpoint of making a point that 'We've got to get this right.' But he didn't fire anybody.

"You can't just fire anybody at Tennessee, particularly when you're talking about non-contract employees. There's a process."

Kiffin said in a Sports Illustrated story this week that one person had been fired and others had been "run off."

After returning to Knoxville following the birth of his son last month, Kiffin had arranged for someone to pick him up at the airport, according to the article. His driver was 25 minutes late.

"I came back and within five minutes I'd fired the guy who was in charge of the guy who'd been sent to pick me up," Kiffin said in the story. "Here's the point: We need to win. That's 25 minutes that Nick Saban and Urban Meyer had that I lost because somebody was late picking me up at the airport."

Tiffany Carpenter, UT's director of public relations, said Kiffin had a change of heart about the firing.

"The (Sports Illustrated) interview happened the day of the incident," Carpenter said. "At that time, (Kiffin) wanted to fire that individual but after further thought and discussions decided that was not in the best interest of Tennessee."

Attempts to reach Kiffin were unsuccessful.

Hamilton said he knew Kiffin was upset after he arrived at the airport.

"He was ready to go to work and there wasn't anybody to pick him up," Hamilton said.

"I think that he's trying to set the tone for the kind of program he wants to run. I'm very much OK with him letting folks know that he's going to run a very disciplined program and there will be high expectations in terms of those who work in the football program, and letting the fans know that (Kiffin and his staff) are coming to work every day and giving their all to the job."

Based on the Sports Illustrated article, Kiffin wasn't pleased with the work ethic of the support staff he inherited from Phillip Fulmer.

"You can't count the number of people we've run off because they couldn't keep up, and I'm including secretaries," Kiffin said in the story. "They had to go because they weren't going to make it, and they knew it."

Although no secretaries were fired, two secretaries have left the football office, according to Hamilton. He said one secretary retired, and another was reassigned.

Mary Jo Fox, who was the administrative services assistant to Fulmer, has been reassigned. Hamilton said she will serve as Fulmer's secretary in his office in Stokely Athletic Center.

Fulmer requested the office space a couple of weeks ago after being promised the privilege by Hamilton when Fulmer was forced to resign. Fulmer is not employed by the UT Athletic Department.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 480

yeavols#228407 writes:

Good heavens..Now Sports Illustrated is getting in on the act at TENNESSEE...hey at least we are giving everyone a job including Walter...

Volfan1 writes:

Hmmmm.....
Can't wait for the barbs from this one.

smashmouth98 writes:

Wow, the surprises keep poping up. He is running a Diciplined Program. He better produce!!!!!!!

DennisVols writes:

The Bar has been raised and we are finding out more and more about how laxed this program had become. Which is why this team performed as it did this past decade.

jmillran writes:

So he wanted to fire somebody...said they were fired, but then was told that he couldn't fire anybody without abuncha trouble that would take even more time out of his schedule.

dave1#220678 writes:

The Caveman needs to cook Coach K up a fritter and have the Witch Doctor over for a reading of the bones and chill. Coach needs to realize he is not talking to Al Davis every day any more!

yeavols#228407 writes:

Kiffin should be commended for hiring or keeping a job for every sports writer across the country..including KNS, HOOKER, and even Pauline Finestub. Who hasn't figured that one out yet?

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

HIRE FULMER SO YOU CAN FIRE HIS FAT BUTT AGAIN AND GET HIM OFF THE CAMPUS .

smashmouth98 writes:

my spelling was, sorry grammar police. disciplined, sp

Laydbakvol writes:

We're getting to the point where we can start our own reality show. "Survivor- Rocky Top"

volsn1 writes:

DO NOT LIKE THE FACT THAT HE KEEPS LYING

rockytopman writes:

Coach Kiffin is gonna bring The Program back to a point that we, as fans, are gonna be proud of. It's Great to be a Tennessee Volunteer, I say it's great to be...

BuckheadVol1 writes:

Big Deal! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Set the tone coach!

Seriouslyorange writes:

So he thought they were fired, lots of times you fire somebody and they don't STAY fired for some reason or another. At least he wanted to fire incompetent people whether he could or not.
E for effort

surfmaster writes:

in response to volsn1:

DO NOT LIKE THE FACT THAT HE KEEPS LYING

Don't think he lied. At the time of the interview, he believed he HAD fired someone, only to have a "change of heart" later. Unless you're referring to the number of people he claimed to have r-u-n-n-o-f-t.

MrBamSeydu writes:

I wish Fulmer would just go home.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

Why in Sam Hill would he tell a national publication he had fired somebody when he knew full well he hadn't?!? Then we find out he couldn't have fired them if he wanted to! I've been excited--and still am--about the prospects for the upcoming season, but I can't help but feel uneasy about Kiffin's apparent inability to tell the truth. If he's brazen enough to state falsehoods to SI, it kinda makes you wonder what he and the staff are telling recruits, doesn't it?

Sure hope at some point in the near future he learns to think about what he's saying before he shoots from the lip.

Just some thoughts.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

hotrodvol writes:

The "PURGE" goes deep. CLK may seem brash to most, but it's his show now, he should be able to run it the way he wants to. CLK is laying the law down from the start, and I agree. Make the rules, let everyone see them.

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to rockytopman:

Coach Kiffin is gonna bring The Program back to a point that we, as fans, are gonna be proud of. It's Great to be a Tennessee Volunteer, I say it's great to be...

Hell if I have to..I'll be the next 2 bit guy like florida has..Mr. 2 BITS.. 4 BITS 6 BITS a DOLLAR..all for ROCKYTOPMAN and THE VOLS..STAND UP AND HOLLAR.YAHOOOOOOOO.V..O...L...S..V!O!L!S! GO VOLS GO!

Man it's great to have a pulse and life again at Rocky TOP! HERE! HERE!!

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

i like the guy but thats just an assinine comment that the competition is getting ahead of him because of those 25 minutes----fire the guy if you want to and can if you think it sets a tone but dont look like an idiot publicly with such a comment thats a little laughable--------happy he has high standards but this was a bit much

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Lordy, Phil got his old secretary.

STNVol09 writes:

culture shock Lane...this ain't Oakland and TN has policies that Al didn't have to worry about. Take time to read them. Wonder if after a couple of seasons recruiting , if he doesn't win, will he fire himself?

GerryOP writes:

Oh good grief. Sorry Coach Kiffen, another slow news day in K'town. So ... TAG ... you're it! Pickin' on the FNG...

JohnyLobo34 writes:

CLK clearly hasn't adapted to the "easy going" ways of the south. "SCORTCHED EARTH" is the Lane Kiffin way; and he oughta be careful. That kind of behavior anywhere, not just in the south, isn't going to get you very far. I'll bet the delay happened because it took too long to draw straws! Nobody wanted to pick him up!!!!!

utkjoe29 writes:

so why does fulmer need his own secretary? Or was she assigned to him so she didn't get fired for not being able to get the job done..suppose they would work perfectly together. I want to get a job where I can be a slacka** and not get fired..Hamilton sign me up!

Keep the fire stoked coach Kiff, I love the drive!

yeavols#228407 writes:

GO KIFFIN GO!! TAKE NO PRISONERS..it's TIME!! NO MORE BULL!!

cookevol writes:

He is really getting embarrasing. There is something to be said about complacency but Coach Fulmer never embarrased our great university and he has managed to on a couple of different occasions. My opinion is humility and class go a long way in life. He has not shown here.

He had better win otherwise he's done in the coaching profession. I'm also tired of him taking credit for USC's success.

Anyway I hope he wins for ole UT's sake, not his....

Go Vols!

Ironcity writes:

Why is this news? Has any other coach in the country ever had this much scrutiny? I think its comical that we are discussing whether he fired a secretary or a driver. I think there has to be more to UT football then this. Give me something on the Gathers kid. Give me something on Oku. Let me know who looks like he is ready to excel during spring practice. Tell me a player that thinks he is going to make a big move up the depth chart. I don't care if a driver was late picking up Kiffin and I don't care if he wants to fire the waterboy. If we win he can do whatever he pleases as long as it doesn't get UT on probation.

vol1stsec2nd writes:

Maybe he can get up 25 minutes earlier than Saban and Meyer tomorrow and catch up. What a joke comment

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

in response to smashmouth98:

my spelling was, sorry grammar police. disciplined, sp

We will condition you. Soon you will be spelling awesome. And we promise no performance enhancing drugs. Hope I passed the grammar police with this post.

surfmaster writes:

So, the university is not paying Coach Fulmer's salary, only that of his secretary? What will she possibly do all day? Open his mail? Sounds like she needed a job after she was 5 minutes late getting Kiff's coffee.

GerryOP writes:

How much you wanna bet the next driver won't be late?

ckeller18 writes:

in response to volsn1:

DO NOT LIKE THE FACT THAT HE KEEPS LYING

He's not really lying. He is just saying what he thinks is true,He is just saying things without thinking, he is...okay he lies a bit.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Lordy, Phil got his old secretary.

I think Rose Mary Woods stayed with Nixon when he left the White House. Maybe not.

jackbwana writes:

Kiffin is the one that should leave. UT has wasted millions on him and his cronies that should have gone to saving the education programs that are being cut.

surfmaster writes:

in response to Kiff_World_Order:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Does Coach Kiff not have a cell phone, if he needed to make a phone call so badly in that 25 minutes? Also, is he really above catching a cab into campus?

murrayvol writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No Expat, I don't think you missed a damn thing.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to ckeller18:

He's not really lying. He is just saying what he thinks is true,He is just saying things without thinking, he is...okay he lies a bit.

starting to look like a loose cannon---some stuff is just better left in house rather than made public----starting to look like he wants attention---would rather him make the news rather than be the news---i like him but getting uneasy with the pattern developing

murrayvol writes:

in response to cookevol:

He is really getting embarrasing. There is something to be said about complacency but Coach Fulmer never embarrased our great university and he has managed to on a couple of different occasions. My opinion is humility and class go a long way in life. He has not shown here.

He had better win otherwise he's done in the coaching profession. I'm also tired of him taking credit for USC's success.

Anyway I hope he wins for ole UT's sake, not his....

Go Vols!

Can't speak for the University but I was pretty embarrassed when we lost to Wyoming.

monkeytownvol writes:

Okay so he likes to embellish a little bit. Happens everyday after a day of fishing. I'm just glad to give a shiite what is going on in TN football again.

SEAL_9821 writes:

in response to DennisVols:

The Bar has been raised and we are finding out more and more about how laxed this program had become. Which is why this team performed as it did this past decade.

CLEAN HOUSE!!! I love the fact that all this is coming out now because it really shows how relaxed and layed back our football program has been for some time. I have some pretty close ties to the football team thru the athletic dept and word is the players are amazed on how difficult the off-season workouts have been thus far. But, this is wnat wins championships. Let ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and every other liberal news posts continue to bash Kiffin because it only makes us stronger.

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

in response to cookevol:

He is really getting embarrasing. There is something to be said about complacency but Coach Fulmer never embarrased our great university and he has managed to on a couple of different occasions. My opinion is humility and class go a long way in life. He has not shown here.

He had better win otherwise he's done in the coaching profession. I'm also tired of him taking credit for USC's success.

Anyway I hope he wins for ole UT's sake, not his....

Go Vols!

He is definitely not blessed with humility. The discipline to have well conditioned athletes is refreshing. And setting the tone that UT isn't about to take a back seat to Florida or Alabama is okay. Just remember this is not Los Angeles and making frivilous comments about firing people because they are 25 minutes late is absurd. A private conversation wth the individual may have been warranted. We may have Bobby Knight and Woody Hayes all rolled up into one person. Keep in mind they were at the top of their profession and you are 5-15 as a head coach.

murrayvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

How much you wanna bet the next driver won't be late?

Driver: Sooooo, Coach K's plane arrives at 1400 hours?

AD: Yes.

Driver: I'll be there at 1300.

AD: Good plan.

ckeller18 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Can't speak for the University but I was pretty embarrassed when we lost to Wyoming.

Good one

TD_4_UT writes:

So Fulmer is'nt on the payroll? But they're going yo pay for his secretary? What the HE!! Is this supposed to be funny?

GerryOP writes:

in response to cookevol:

He is really getting embarrasing. There is something to be said about complacency but Coach Fulmer never embarrased our great university and he has managed to on a couple of different occasions. My opinion is humility and class go a long way in life. He has not shown here.

He had better win otherwise he's done in the coaching profession. I'm also tired of him taking credit for USC's success.

Anyway I hope he wins for ole UT's sake, not his....

Go Vols!

Ahhh cookevol, you did not find "This guy gave me a piece of paper and I did not know it was a subpeona until I was going through my papers later" embarrassing? Need I bring up the Maxwell Smart "talking into the hat on national TV" schtick as being emarrassing? And, of course, 5-7 was not embarrassing.

cookevol, I know you are a great Vol fan, but ...

volpreacher writes:

in response to et_vol_fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get real. This man has been hired to produce. He is running a tight ship unlike the previous administration and it is going to sting some people. In the long run though, it will be well worth it. No discipline means no championships.

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to VolunteerFear:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can hear it now...

GerryOP writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Because Vicky wants to get him out of the house?

JohnsonCity_George writes:

You think the car will be on time next time? You think the secretaries will keep going on about how it use to be? I'm betting he got his point across.
P.S. What should be news is the state of Ga basketball. I think the SEC office should apologize to the other member schools.

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