Strength coach could receive more than $300,000 if not retained

Smith still on job as summer work starts

Tennessee's athletic department will owe head football strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith more than $300,000 if it can't prove it has justified cause to fire him, according to a memorandum of understanding acquired by the News Sentinel on Monday.

Smith is under strict review by coach Lane Kiffin and is not expected to be retained - if the two parties can come to a mutual parting. That, however, could prove to be a challenge considering the financial implications.

Smith agreed to a two-year deal in the memo that would pay him $190,000 this year and $200,000 in 2010. Smith signed the agreement Jan. 12. It went into effect Jan. 1.

If UT fires Smith, it would have to pay the remainder of the agreement if it could not prove one of the following: acts of gross misconduct; conduct of such an inappropriate nature thereby bringing the university into public disrepute; or failure of Smith to negotiate in good faith to execute the employment agreement within a reasonable amount of time.

If UT fires Smith without proper cause and he was hired elsewhere, UT would pay the difference between the compensation he is due by the university and the amount he would be paid by his next employer.

If Smith were to resign his position, he would have to repay $94,000.

Smith left a similar post at South Carolina to come to UT. Smith has a long career as a strength and conditioning coach, including two seasons in the NFL.

Smith was at his post in UT's weight room wearing Vols apparel Monday as summer workouts started. He did not participate in UT's camp for high school students and prospects.

Smith simply shrugged his shoulders when asked if there were any developments.

Former UT track and field athlete Aaron Ausmus is regarded as the leading candidate to replace Smith.

In School: Of UT's 22 signees for the 2009 class, only six aren't enrolled for the first session of summer school.

Defensive back Eric Gordon, defensive lineman Marlon Walls, receiver Zach Rogers, defensive back Michael Edwards, linebacker Jerod Askew and receiver James Green are expected to enroll for the second session of summer school in July barring any unforeseen eligibility issues.

At this point, it looks as if the Vols will be without an academic casualty.

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Comments » 108

BhamVol writes:

Yo 300 large.

Should have worked out more at Memphis Briarcrest back in the day.

Go Vols!

scvols writes:

Lets work this out and get to business.

the10sevol writes:

hmmm, resign and pay ut 94k, let them fire me without cause, make 300k....
which will i choose?

teampenny#658108 writes:

Glad our players are here. We need to accept making a mistake in hiring this man and pay him off. This is the wise thing to do before it effects our program more than already has. No need in acting like Al Davis. Go Vols

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

If CLK doesn't get it straight, I guess I will have to buy another dozen cupcakes at the UT bake sale.

Thought I would get that out of the way:

Now, any word on exactly what happened? We have heard about CMS refusing to let others in the weight room. Are UT and the coach trying to rectify this or trying to find some common ground to end it? Seems like someone should have some answers.

vol_chaz writes:

Just finish out the 2 year contract, and let it be over...

chaos001 writes:

what the heck will or won't the guy do (or what has he done/didn't) that has put him in this position.

inquiring minds want to know...

teampenny#658108 writes:

In buy out I would try to but no talk clause in. Although, it would be interesting to know his side of this drama. If anybody knows anything post it. Go Vols

chad_t31 writes:

in response to gatorz6:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's also unbelievable that ur back...gotta give it to u for not trying to hide it though.

Slystone writes:

As Johnie Taylor song once, "It's cheaper to keep 'em". Let's hope these grown men can reconcile and move on. If not UT should be prepared to fork out the money and perhaps be prepared for a lawsuit.

Voluvr writes:

I suspect that someone has a problem with authority.

99gator writes:

of all things kiffin since he has been hired by tennessee......this is the most bizarre.

what could the coach possibly have done in six months that would necessitate his dismissal....without cause.

clearly, if there was cause, he would have been fired already.

IMO, tennessee will just write a check for the 300k. because anything less and a lawsuit may be forthcoming. i don't think tennessee will want that.

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

This is ridiculas if we are paying this guy this type of money he must be pretty good.
I am going on the record and saying I do not like this.
I don't know the story but we don't need any problems like this everything needs to be running smooth.
Can we get some info on what the deal is here?

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to Voluvr:

I suspect that someone has a problem with authority.

I agree but who. He has had this same type of job for years. Reaves recommended him. Did he forget how to do his job over night. Guess we may not ever know what caused this problem. Need to get this fixed. Go Vols

swampbuggy writes:

Kiffin gets a kick out of firing people.

There was the secretary, the driver and now he wants to get rid of Mark Smith.

Power trip!

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

Speaking of cupcakes....Looks like they better start selling something in FLA. UF trying to figure out how to give Urban a pay raise and make him the highest paid SEC coach, but it seems that Saban has a rider in his contract to keep him the highest paid.

UF has had to make cut backs over $111,000,000 but, they want to give out raises.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

I think more schools should cut head coaches pay and give more to asst coaches. Hopefully this idea works for UT, seems as if Hammy's job might just depend on it.

99gator writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

Speaking of cupcakes....Looks like they better start selling something in FLA. UF trying to figure out how to give Urban a pay raise and make him the highest paid SEC coach, but it seems that Saban has a rider in his contract to keep him the highest paid.

UF has had to make cut backs over $111,000,000 but, they want to give out raises.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

I think more schools should cut head coaches pay and give more to asst coaches. Hopefully this idea works for UT, seems as if Hammy's job might just depend on it.

the school and the athletic department are run separately.

one of those articles that makes me angry because whoever wrote it is trying to make it come across that funding for the school is sacrificed in order to pay a coach.

again, the athletic department is run separately and actually makes a profit.....which it usually gives back to the school.

no matter how many times this gets explained......under spurrier, billy donovan's contract, now urban meyer.....the media doesn't seem to comprehend this.

Pullingguard writes:

What did Smith do or not do that ruffled the feathers of Boy Wonder? Does anyone have any facts as to the problem?

richvol writes:

Could someone explain why there are finally no interlopers on here? Did GVX finally take action to keep them off?

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to 99gator:

the school and the athletic department are run separately.

one of those articles that makes me angry because whoever wrote it is trying to make it come across that funding for the school is sacrificed in order to pay a coach.

again, the athletic department is run separately and actually makes a profit.....which it usually gives back to the school.

no matter how many times this gets explained......under spurrier, billy donovan's contract, now urban meyer.....the media doesn't seem to comprehend this.

Good point, the article has no mention that they are seperate units.

How do you think that UF and Myer will handle making him the highest paid coach when Saban has the automatic raise clause?

This highest paid thing would never end if both coaches stick to their guns, ex.....Myers gets a raise which causes Saban to get $1 a year more than Myer so UF again makes Myer the highest paid..and Saban's clause kicks in....this would never end. Somewhere sometime somebody has got to end this highest paid ego trips and come back to financial reality when it comes to coaches pay..and pro atheletes too.

richvol writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What are you saying? Did KNS finally intercede and just where is this posted or written about?

gnm53108 writes:

in response to 99gator:

the school and the athletic department are run separately.

one of those articles that makes me angry because whoever wrote it is trying to make it come across that funding for the school is sacrificed in order to pay a coach.

again, the athletic department is run separately and actually makes a profit.....which it usually gives back to the school.

no matter how many times this gets explained......under spurrier, billy donovan's contract, now urban meyer.....the media doesn't seem to comprehend this.

Comprehention is not a qualification to work in the media.

vtvol#210290 writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

What did Smith do or not do that ruffled the feathers of Boy Wonder? Does anyone have any facts as to the problem?

Rumor from a Clemson message board picked up at Volnation.com has it that Smith and Kffin have differing opinions over the reporting of injuries and whether those same players should be held out of participation to avoid further injury. It seem as though CLK and the rest of the coaching staff want the last say as to whether they feel that a player is justifiably unable to play or "just jaking it." Mark Smith felt that it was the medical staff's sole discretion on this matter. This is just rumor but there has not been any other explanation as to why the rift has become so great in such a short period.

99gator writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

Good point, the article has no mention that they are seperate units.

How do you think that UF and Myer will handle making him the highest paid coach when Saban has the automatic raise clause?

This highest paid thing would never end if both coaches stick to their guns, ex.....Myers gets a raise which causes Saban to get $1 a year more than Myer so UF again makes Myer the highest paid..and Saban's clause kicks in....this would never end. Somewhere sometime somebody has got to end this highest paid ego trips and come back to financial reality when it comes to coaches pay..and pro atheletes too.

i have no idea what they are going to do or where meyer would rank (among highest paid coaches), but the school is just trying to be proactive.

donovan had kentucky rumors at the time.

meyer has notre dame rumors.

i don't know what the final contract will look like, but i can't argue that what his teams have done have made the school money.

TnScooby writes:

in response to swampbuggy:

Kiffin gets a kick out of firing people.

There was the secretary, the driver and now he wants to get rid of Mark Smith.

Power trip!

IMO, when this is all over ,and it will be soon, the story will be Smith decided to schedule the strength and conditioning facilities in a manner that excluded segments of the athletic program, past and present, that were entitled to use the facilities. From the very limited amount of info available on Smith and his performance, it seems as though he took EXTREME liberties with who could and couldn't be there. A certain amount of control is expected for his position but he should have deferred when confronted. Instead he chose to be confrontational from what I understand. As for CLK "getting a kick out of firing people", give me a break. Not the case at all but he does need to eliminate potential problems before they get out of hand and that is his right to do so. As we all know, his true measure of success will be W-L numbers but he was hired as the Head Coach and has the right to run things the way he feels comfortable. If no confidence in Smith or no comfort level, out he goes. And we shouldn't expect anything less. Nobody in their right mind would think his job will be easy but with the right folks in place on his staff, it will be easier. JMO

87UTVOL writes:

in response to 99gator:

the school and the athletic department are run separately.

one of those articles that makes me angry because whoever wrote it is trying to make it come across that funding for the school is sacrificed in order to pay a coach.

again, the athletic department is run separately and actually makes a profit.....which it usually gives back to the school.

no matter how many times this gets explained......under spurrier, billy donovan's contract, now urban meyer.....the media doesn't seem to comprehend this.

Same at UT, but everytime it comes up about how much we pay a coach, we hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth that science and history are suffering at the expense of millionaire coaches. Not so. Never so. In fact, just the opposite in that at UT, and I expect at UF and other major football schools, top athletic donors are also top academic donors.

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to 87UTVOL:

Same at UT, but everytime it comes up about how much we pay a coach, we hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth that science and history are suffering at the expense of millionaire coaches. Not so. Never so. In fact, just the opposite in that at UT, and I expect at UF and other major football schools, top athletic donors are also top academic donors.

I believe that you would find that the athletic program at a major school would probably be one of the biggest contributors to the academic programs.

DC_interloper_extraordinaire writes:

in response to 99gator:

of all things kiffin since he has been hired by tennessee......this is the most bizarre.

what could the coach possibly have done in six months that would necessitate his dismissal....without cause.

clearly, if there was cause, he would have been fired already.

IMO, tennessee will just write a check for the 300k. because anything less and a lawsuit may be forthcoming. i don't think tennessee will want that.

Why, all publicity is good publicity, right?

DC_interloper_extraordinaire writes:

in response to richvol:

Could someone explain why there are finally no interlopers on here? Did GVX finally take action to keep them off?

You owe your S&C coach 300 large. That's more important than your off topic remark.

belayvol writes:

in response to vtvol#210290:

Rumor from a Clemson message board picked up at Volnation.com has it that Smith and Kffin have differing opinions over the reporting of injuries and whether those same players should be held out of participation to avoid further injury. It seem as though CLK and the rest of the coaching staff want the last say as to whether they feel that a player is justifiably unable to play or "just jaking it." Mark Smith felt that it was the medical staff's sole discretion on this matter. This is just rumor but there has not been any other explanation as to why the rift has become so great in such a short period.

That rumor/email is BS. It was also brought up here a few weeks ago by a supposed insider named John that he observed all the goings on first hand. And yes, there has been other explanations given on what happened. Namely that Smith was pulling a king of the hill attitude with the weight room tossing out former players and not allowing access by other Vol athletes to the weight room. Which i am sure went over big time with CPS and CBP.

belayvol writes:

in response to richvol:

Could someone explain why there are finally no interlopers on here? Did GVX finally take action to keep them off?

There are. Baby blue gatorz is still on this story.

belayvol writes:

in response to richvol:

What are you saying? Did KNS finally intercede and just where is this posted or written about?

Kappy banned them again. But Baby blue gatorz is already back. Kappy's post is in the Florida player tased story.

TnScooby writes:

in response to belayvol:

That rumor/email is BS. It was also brought up here a few weeks ago by a supposed insider named John that he observed all the goings on first hand. And yes, there has been other explanations given on what happened. Namely that Smith was pulling a king of the hill attitude with the weight room tossing out former players and not allowing access by other Vol athletes to the weight room. Which i am sure went over big time with CPS and CBP.

You are exactly right belay. The medical staff has always and will always be the voice of reason and advice for all injuries. Clemson message boards would probably be my last source for any UT info anyway..lol.

Go Vols!!

chaos001 writes:

in response to TnScooby:

IMO, when this is all over ,and it will be soon, the story will be Smith decided to schedule the strength and conditioning facilities in a manner that excluded segments of the athletic program, past and present, that were entitled to use the facilities. From the very limited amount of info available on Smith and his performance, it seems as though he took EXTREME liberties with who could and couldn't be there. A certain amount of control is expected for his position but he should have deferred when confronted. Instead he chose to be confrontational from what I understand. As for CLK "getting a kick out of firing people", give me a break. Not the case at all but he does need to eliminate potential problems before they get out of hand and that is his right to do so. As we all know, his true measure of success will be W-L numbers but he was hired as the Head Coach and has the right to run things the way he feels comfortable. If no confidence in Smith or no comfort level, out he goes. And we shouldn't expect anything less. Nobody in their right mind would think his job will be easy but with the right folks in place on his staff, it will be easier. JMO

is this the same weight room that all the other teams on campus use?

i'd really like to see him get into it with Summitt, Moshak, or Pearl about their using the room.

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to TnScooby:

You are exactly right belay. The medical staff has always and will always be the voice of reason and advice for all injuries. Clemson message boards would probably be my last source for any UT info anyway..lol.

Go Vols!!

FYI or just for what it's worth...good article linked on TIGERNET.COM about Tajh Boyd. Article states that he should be released for full practice sometime in July. He has already started working out as he recovers from knee surgery. Looks like he may be available for the Tigers this fall.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to chaos001:

is this the same weight room that all the other teams on campus use?

i'd really like to see him get into it with Summitt, Moshak, or Pearl about their using the room.

I think that would put him on the injury list.

belayvol writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

FYI or just for what it's worth...good article linked on TIGERNET.COM about Tajh Boyd. Article states that he should be released for full practice sometime in July. He has already started working out as he recovers from knee surgery. Looks like he may be available for the Tigers this fall.

Good to hear. Hope he makes a full recovery.

Vol_atile writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

FYI or just for what it's worth...good article linked on TIGERNET.COM about Tajh Boyd. Article states that he should be released for full practice sometime in July. He has already started working out as he recovers from knee surgery. Looks like he may be available for the Tigers this fall.

so

IBleedOrange444 writes:

As bas as I'd like to know, we may be better off in the dark on this one.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to IBleedOrange444:

As bas as I'd like to know, we may be better off in the dark on this one.

Agree.

Probably better off not knowing.

Just take care of it,dont care how,and get it behind us.This is not a position we can have filled with someone that isn't committed to Tennessee.

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to IBleedOrange444:

As bas as I'd like to know, we may be better off in the dark on this one.

Disagree. Hard to keep stuff private now days. One of the two parties will tell. Be best if it was LK. Go Vols

TommyJack writes:

in response to gatorz6:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are truly pitiful.

dvhill100 writes:

in response to 99gator:

the school and the athletic department are run separately.

one of those articles that makes me angry because whoever wrote it is trying to make it come across that funding for the school is sacrificed in order to pay a coach.

again, the athletic department is run separately and actually makes a profit.....which it usually gives back to the school.

no matter how many times this gets explained......under spurrier, billy donovan's contract, now urban meyer.....the media doesn't seem to comprehend this.

We run into the exact same problem here. UT's athletic dept. is also independent and contributes money to the academic side, but the press seems to have difficulty comprehending that.

Wait, did I say the press might not accurately report something? :)

dvhill100 writes:

in response to richvol:

Could someone explain why there are finally no interlopers on here? Did GVX finally take action to keep them off?

Yes.

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to Vol_atile:

so

Very well thought out and intelligent reply.

It is good to see people like you on this board. We can always use more people that are willing to have a decent conversation about college football.

You make me proud to be a VOL.

appalachianvol writes:

If the coach wants to get rid of him for another choice, maybe he should pay up the remainder of the contract out of his own $5mil salary? just my own opinion.

ethanfrome writes:

For those who are asking. This is the post by Kaplan that appears in the Florida-thug-tazer article.

The following have been banned but will probably come back in another life.
gatorz5
tarheelsrule
bobbeavol
dcflorida1

old_number1 writes:

First and foremost, I'd like to thank Kap and the KNS staff for their action. It's good to know that the staff actually does listen to the Vol posters.

As you know, this will be a test of wills. The trolls will be back (looks like 2 of them are back already). The KNS staff should be ready to ban them again immediately. If it was justified to ban them once or twice (or in gatorzz case, 5 times!), then get them off here over and over. Don't wait 'til they ruin threads again.

Many of you will be happy that I won't be posting much about the Vol Elite- but you will not be as happy about it as ME! I just ask the KNS staff to follow up on the reinvented trolls and not let them get so out of hand in the future.

Elite posters, We pulled together and something was accomplished. For now, We have our site back. We just need to keep it that way!!

DC_interloper_extraordinaire writes:

Three SEC teams in Steele's top 10, inlcuding Ole Miss way up at #6. What Houston Nutt has done to turn around a dead-on-arrival Orgeron-led Ole Miss program is nothing short of amazing. Bama and UF are also in the top 10:

http://randreu.gainesville.com/defaul...

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to richvol:

Could someone explain why there are finally no interlopers on here? Did GVX finally take action to keep them off?

Kaplan posted on another story a list of interlopers that had been banned. Of course, as you can see, they are starting to trickle back in using other screen names. As long as no one replies to their comments they will eventually go away. But, that would require all posters to be smarter than the interlopers. It sure has made this a much more enjoyable site to be on.

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