Kiffin opens up about departure

No potshots, but some regrets for 'tough situation timingwise'

Southern California football coach Lane Kiffin didn't take any of his patented potshots at Tennessee when he left Knoxville last month.

He passed on another opportunity Tuesday during an interview with the News Sentinel.

Yet Kiffin seemed confused - and perhaps a bit dismayed - by UT athletic director Mike Hamilton's public claim last month that Kiffin wasn't a "good cultural fit" at UT.

"I don't really know exactly what that means," said Kiffin, who was UT's coach for just 14 months. "I don't think at the end of day that has anything to do with whether you score points or whether you win games. Where you're from? I don't know. That's just my opinion.

"Is Nick Saban from Alabama? Is Urban Meyer from Florida? Those are two of the best coaches in the country. So I don't think that really means anything."

For the record, Saban is from West Virginia and Meyer is from Ohio. And while Kiffin was born in Nebraska, most of his coaching experience occurred at USC, where he spent six seasons before opportunities arose with the Oakland Raiders, then at UT.

The always confident 34-year-old coach may have left UT jilted when the Trojans came calling, but admitted he had some regrets about his departure that led to orange-clad fans burning mattresses and Kiffin T-shirts just outside UT's athletic complex.

"I was put in a tough situation timingwise, which was no one's fault," said Kiffin, who was in Florida at an SEC meeting when USC called him about replacing Pete Carroll. "I couldn't get to my team right away. The news breaks somehow. I wish that could have been different, but I couldn't control that. "

Kiffin also lamented the minute-long press conference he held for local media the night before he departed Knoxville. Kiffin said he planned to talk longer, but a disagreement between UT's sports information department and a local television station ended any chance of a full-length conversation.

"I really tried to do the right thing with the media there," Kiffin said. "When you look around the nation, when coaches leave places, they don't address the media at the places they're leaving. They usually talk to their team and they get out of there.

"That kind of backfired on me. I guess I would have done that different and do what everybody else does, and just takeoff."

Eventually Kiffin and his immediate family did take off - without David Reaves. Reaves, who was quarterbacks coach and the brother of Kiffin's wife, Layla, told the News Sentinel that he heard of the hiring on television, not from his family.

Moreover, Kiffin did not hire Reaves for a position at USC. He instead hired former Memphis offensive coordinator Clay Helton to handle quarterbacks.

"When you take a job, so many things go into your staff structure and makeup of it (such as) the direction sometimes that an athletic director or president wants you to go as well," Kiffin said. "There are a lot of things that went into that decision that were not based solely on business at all."

Kiffin, who took four assistant coaches with him to USC, maintained that Reaves' exclusion from the move had nothing to do with his potential knowledge of two hostesses traveling to Duncan, S.C., to visit with two UT prospects, a likely NCAA secondary violation.

"I don't think that he did," Kiffin said. "I have no reason to think that he did. Me being the head coach and monitoring the whole issue, I doubt that he did at all."

Kiffin recently said on national television that he and his family had received death threats from fans irate about his departure. For the most part, he said, those threats have stopped.

"We still get an occasional fax or a message sent this way," Kiffin said, "but those are a handful of people that I don't think represent the majority of people there, who are great people."

Kiffin didn't offer much when asked about his replacement: Derek Dooley.

"I don't know Coach Dooley at all," he said. "I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job there and keep Tennessee rolling."

In Kiffin's one season at UT, the Vols went 7-6. With several key players gone, they'll face a tough challenge to post a winning record in 2010.

Yet Kiffin has no doubt that Dooley is better off than when Kiffin replaced former coach Phillip Fulmer.

"I know this: From the day that I got there to the day that we left, that roster was drastically better than it was," Kiffin said. "Really at the end of the day, that's my job as a head coach, is to improve the roster and improve what the kids are doing in the classroom.

"And we did that as well."

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Comments » 206

volfanmo writes:

nope, i still hate him

zigvol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ResilientVol writes:

puke

golfballs03 writes:

he is an idiot. he really is dumb. listen to what lance thompson has to say. even reaves... his brother in law. kiffin, there is no redeeming yourself. it will come back around.

FWBVol writes:

Please, KNS, make this the last Lame Snifflin story.

Most Tennessee fans don't a believe two-thirds of what comes out of his mouth.

How can he say he doesn't understand what Mike Hamilton means about him not being a good cultural fit?

Let's see, he doesn't want to personally recite the General's seven maxims. He was more interested in acknowleding the USC greats he recruited or coached rather than the greats that played at Tennessee. And he more or less said he wanted to turn UT into the USC of the SEC.

Does Lame really think Bama fans would have embraced Saban had he come in and failed to acknowledge the Bear's legacy or the great players in Alabama history? I don't think so.

You don't have to be from a geographic region to be a fit at a school if you don't try to rewrite the history of that school.

That's OK, we are better off with Derek Dooley.

golfballs03 writes:

he's a recruiter. x's and o's? not so much. and whether his recruiting is legit or not? for Tennessee's sake, I hope it was.

HoustonVol writes:

I will give him that. He did address the team. He has much more of backbone than Coach Fran that left Alabama for TxA&M. He had his defensive cord. call a team meeting to announce that the head coach was on a plain to Texas.

Now if the team is better after he was in control for a year, that is another question no one can really answer.

I was not impressed with 7-6. Fulmer would have done at least that much. I believe the defense actually took a step back last year.

Either way - I believe that we are now on the right track with Dooley. I am more excited about UT football now than I was this time last year with Kiffin in charge.

hdhurst writes:

I'd like to read a story on Layla, up to the point she met Lil' Lane...yeah, that would just about do it for me.

ETownVol writes:

I still bear some resentment toward Coach X but at least he displayed some class in this interview and didn't use it as an opportunity to make a splash on ESPN SportCenter. Maybe there is still hope for this punk... err.. I mean coach.

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VOLINTN64 writes:

I wish we played them instead of Oregon this year.Win or lose it would be awesome if he had to come back that soon to face the Vol Nation.I believe we would rise to the occasion and send him back to Southern Cull home of the Rubbers with an East Tenn Smackdown.GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BillsBrother writes:

He still doesn't get it...

LiveFaith writes:

in response to ETownVol:

I still bear some resentment toward Coach X but at least he displayed some class in this interview and didn't use it as an opportunity to make a splash on ESPN SportCenter. Maybe there is still hope for this punk... err.. I mean coach.

Ditto. Can't believe a word outta the guys mouth, but at least it sounded like an ounce of maturity, respect, and normalcy. Quite the change for the guy.

DaddyVol writes:

He should team up with Al Gore. They could almost convince people that global warming is caused by humans. But the poles are melttong on Mars also.

OrangePsyched writes:

One of the problems is that Kiffin ran some good players off from the get because they didn't fit his profile or simply were Fulmer recruits and damaged our depth chart. I supported his smack and it brought us some relevance that we needed at the time but gave others fuel to their fire. Just wish we could turn the future back and hire Dooley from the get and be in our second season with him as coach. I think this divorce will work out well for both parties (excluding USC's sanctions) for both parties concerned and hopefully somewhere in the near future we can renew our acquaintances on the gridiron and sing Rocky Top all night long. It ain't what it ain't, but it is what it is....ROCKY TOP!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to ETownVol:

I still bear some resentment toward Coach X but at least he displayed some class in this interview and didn't use it as an opportunity to make a splash on ESPN SportCenter. Maybe there is still hope for this punk... err.. I mean coach.

He has NO class to display as even more evidence of what he did do on ESPN and all other sporting sites.

KNS....PLEASE NO MORE STORIES ON THIS COACH! IT WOULD BE NICE ALSO IF YOU WOULD TAKE THE PICTURE OF HIM LEAVING OFF THIS SITE! WE DON'T CARE TO SEE HIM OR HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT HIM...PLEASE!!!!!!

RaineyVol writes:

This Kiffin stuff is getting old...I hope he fails at whatever he does!!!

flatrock writes:

I do not blame Lane Kiffin for taking the USC job.
The timing of it was awful, but, really, how much
of that was his fault? The fact that he blew town without talking with David Reaves and Lance Thompson, the two assistants that he
so prized 12 months earlier, is the real sticking point for me; as is Coach Zero's
attempt to recruit players who were already
on campus. I thought the work and practice
habits of the team went up several notches from
the previous 4-5 years. I thought the 'D'
put on defensive clinics at Florida and at
Alabama and had a solid season until the
attrition at linebacker finally took its toll. The
progress of Jonathon Crompton was a great
story. All in all, I thought Lane Kiffin
and his staff squeezed all this squad could
give. I hope he does well at USC. I also
firmly believe we have hit a home run with
the hiring of Derek Dooley. Go Vols!

DannyVol writes:

Let's see...who was it that hired the guy who wasn't a good "cultural fit?"

keepitreal4vols writes:

OK OK OK, the ex-girlfriend just gave you closure so can we just move on with our post-Kiffin lives? Time will heal all wounds and I am ready to love again.

richvol writes:

The defense was better until all our linebackers got hurt...at least we got rid of third and Chavis.

The class attendance and grades got better and so did the recruiting effort. Fulmer was slacking in those areas the last several years.

That said,I believe we are going to be much better off with Dooley. I think he will do a great job...we'll see.

rocky_topper writes:

F-Kiffin! The liar is always a victim it seems!

MidTennVol writes:

This punk is a stone-cold, narcissistic, sociopathic, pathological liar. He has nothing but contempt for Tennessee and its fans and thinks he can play us one more time by doing this interview with the KNS.

Any fool watching knows that it was Kiffin himself who leaked the news to ESPN about his leaving. His cell phone records would prove it if only Hamilton would release them (without the numbers, of course). I can't prove this myself but would bet my next ten years' paychecks on it.

He still takes us all for fools. He's in love with ESPN (wears their hats, leaks stuff to them constantly) so if this coaching thing doesn't work out he can go into broadcasting.

Further, anyone who watched the 10:00+ YouTube video of the pre-press conference drama knows he's lying. That video, posted by a user named classlesskiffin, has now been removed and the user account has been closed.

It looks like that user was a cameraman from a local TV station -- he/she just let the tape roll during all the negotiations (in Kiffin's behalf) between Bud Ford and the local media gathered before Kiffin even agreed to speak to the media. Kiffin was standing out in the hallway while Ford communicated his demands to the roomful of media.

Bud Ford was doing exactly what Kiffin demanded. His first demand was that his initial statement would not be taped by the cameras -- therefore no cameras rolling, all cameras off. Second demand was that his one-minute statement would not be carried live. One station objected to both of these strenuously, if I recall correctly.

The entire pre-press conference drama is right there on tape and it proves beyond question that what this slimebucket says in this article about that press conference is pure fiction.

That tape still exists somewhere and proves without question that Kiffin is a scumbag punk liar. Bud Ford and many, many local media know this because they know what happened that night. So do those of us lucky enough to have seen the tape while it was still up.

MidTennVol writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

This punk is a stone-cold, narcissistic, sociopathic, pathological liar. He has nothing but contempt for Tennessee and its fans and thinks he can play us one more time by doing this interview with the KNS.

Any fool watching knows that it was Kiffin himself who leaked the news to ESPN about his leaving. His cell phone records would prove it if only Hamilton would release them (without the numbers, of course). I can't prove this myself but would bet my next ten years' paychecks on it.

He still takes us all for fools. He's in love with ESPN (wears their hats, leaks stuff to them constantly) so if this coaching thing doesn't work out he can go into broadcasting.

Further, anyone who watched the 10:00+ YouTube video of the pre-press conference drama knows he's lying. That video, posted by a user named classlesskiffin, has now been removed and the user account has been closed.

It looks like that user was a cameraman from a local TV station -- he/she just let the tape roll during all the negotiations (in Kiffin's behalf) between Bud Ford and the local media gathered before Kiffin even agreed to speak to the media. Kiffin was standing out in the hallway while Ford communicated his demands to the roomful of media.

Bud Ford was doing exactly what Kiffin demanded. His first demand was that his initial statement would not be taped by the cameras -- therefore no cameras rolling, all cameras off. Second demand was that his one-minute statement would not be carried live. One station objected to both of these strenuously, if I recall correctly.

The entire pre-press conference drama is right there on tape and it proves beyond question that what this slimebucket says in this article about that press conference is pure fiction.

That tape still exists somewhere and proves without question that Kiffin is a scumbag punk liar. Bud Ford and many, many local media know this because they know what happened that night. So do those of us lucky enough to have seen the tape while it was still up.

Here''s some of the tape, which will probably be taken down from YouTube soon...remember: the tape I saw originally was more than 10:00 long...this is just a portion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDhVX_...

jobrando#216494 writes:

His agents work on damage control

GOBIGO72 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

rhmhrh writes:

Poor little Kiffen...just another misunderstood victem (oh...and a liar).
Ross

Canadavol writes:

Time to move on. The scumbag will stumble and crash at USC for sure. Go CDD! Go Big Orange!

cloudodust writes:

I'm concerned with the here and now, not the was and use to be.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

Lane who?

forkball writes:

When you factor in quality of life and how you want to raise your kids, he left the best job he'll ever have. If you insist on beating this dead horse, ask him why his staff recruited our midterm signees. He can get his softballs from Shelley Smith.

jawbreaker writes:

Comments by Kiffin in other fora indicate that he doesn't think the people who support Tennessee football have many other "outside" interests, nothing much else to do, when compared to those in SoCal. While we Vol fans know that perception to be patently false, we readily acknowledge that the Tennessee football program is near-and-dear to our hearts, a prized possession, something we highly value. So when Kiffin comes to Knoxville with all of the hoopla and bravado, uses the program for a year, then casually throws it away to traipse back to Cali, then I would say the phrase "not a good cultural fit" is very apropos. Sure, I know the argument about someone being blameless for trying to better himself by moving on to a "better" job; but, Tennessee fans don't see the UT job as inferior, and we don't appreciate someone coming in pretending that the job is the greatest in the world, and then, one year later, throwing it in the dirt 2-3 weeks before national signing day. I really am trying to get over Kiffin, but my blood still boils every time I read about him, see his face, or hear his voice. I guess it'll be like that for a long time. By the way, where is Witch Doctor?

gbrown2 writes:

I REALY ENJOY READING THESE POSTS BASHING MISS. KIFFEN!!! IT'S GREAT!!!! HE WAS NEVER WORTHY TO COACH OUR TEAM!!! I AM GLAD IT HAPPENED THEN RATHER THAN LATER!!! LESSON LEARNED!!!HE WILL GET WHATS COMING TO HIM!!! HE THINKS THIS POSITION AT USC IS THE ONE!! HE WILL SEE VERY SOON THAT IT'S NOT!! LOL GO VOLS LET'S LEAVE HIM IN THE PAST WHERE HE DESERVES TO BE. ROCKY TOP WILL ALWAYS BE HOME SWEET HOME TO ME.

TommyJack writes:

The temp we hired is gone. Let it go.

seaplane#216536 writes:

I think you guys are jumping the gun. He wanted to do what was best for his family. He left UT in better shape then when he arrived. LIAR. Kiffin you're a bum and always will be!

reddevilfever writes:

If he says the program is better off than when he arrived he is a complete MORON. He had as many arrested and jailed in 14 months as Phil
Fulmer did in 3 years. At least Coach Fulmer had class and Lame Kiffen left off the cl.

He is exactly where he belongs - California, the land of FRUITS and NUTS!

usernamejn#220535 writes:

I am a sixth generation Tennessean, two time grad of UT and siblings, parents, grandparents, all UT grads.

However, reading the hate coming from these postings is not very Tennessean.

Calling Kiffen names (Lame Sniffen)? Is that big?

Hating on SoCal? I hope I never have to leave East Tennessee and get keep my family here. But I have spent several months in Los Angeles and have to say the quality of life there can be really good especially for a gazillionaire. You can spend evenings on Vol Calls talking to Joe or you can sit courtside at a Lakers game next to Jack Nic. A lot of people might find that preferable.

Just let the guy go and see if Dooley can get the job done. I do not know if we are better off with Derek or not. Only time will tell.

MidTennVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The temp we hired is gone. Let it go.

TJ, I'll be able to do that some day but, seeing this new, fresh, warm, steaming BS from this guy shoved into our faces, this Tennessean can't do that right now. I hate our program, our fans, our state being punked by a punk.

And I, for one, ain't gonna stand by and let this guy spew these lies in our hometown newspaper without challenging him in some modest way. Which I why I posted the truth.

Yeah, I'll get over it some day but, for right now, I keep wondering "What would Crockett or Old Hickory do?"

Or Hacksaw Reynolds, or Bill Bates, or Jamie Rotella, or Roland James, or even Josh McNeil, etc., etc., etc.

Yes, I have too much time on my hands today...

chestnutglade writes:

Is Nick Saban from Alabama? Is Urban Meyer from Florida? Those are two of the best coaches in the country. That is what scared baby kiffin.He could be no better than 3rd in the media eyes. Please let this be the last story about baby kiffin. You are just feeding his ego.

volswithclass writes:

He left the roster better? Coach Fulmer left him a top 5 pick in Eric Berry - a 1st round pick in Dan Williams - and multiple mid round picks like Chris Scott / Rico Mccoy and Montario Hardesty. Lets see how many of the great Kiffin recruits make it to the NFL. I know 2 that won't - Richardson and Edwards.

FireJohnAdams writes:

He seems sincere however, after his statements (at his departure) that he did "not believe" anyone on his staff was contacting recruits (and we all know the truth), I just don't have any reason to believe anything he states.

eduardo writes:

in response to Domino:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah and you believe in global warming...really applies this winter heh??

tennisvol writes:

Why didn't he mention Coach Os call to the players on the night he left? Trying to recruit them to USC.

Biggie writes:

He's a liar and a cheat. It will all come out eventually. He may end up being the 1st head coach to be banned from Div I

It's not sour grapes either. I like CDD better anyway. He's a good man.

Handyman writes:

Kiff my @ss!

Volnooga writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

OK OK OK, the ex-girlfriend just gave you closure so can we just move on with our post-Kiffin lives? Time will heal all wounds and I am ready to love again.

Bingo, It's over and done. He's moved on, and now we should move on.

Handyman writes:

Five years from now, no one will remember Laney Boy, except the term "Kiffin" will mean to come in with a huge salary and overblown fanfare and all the talent on your team, and going on to be a miserable failure.

Southland writes:

I just wish every FEAR The Kiffin fans that backed his every word and move would follow him to USC. Every one of you Fear The Kiffin folks that cussed and berated those who could see the guy was a liar and an embarassment to the state and the University should support him and his USC program. So glad he is gone. Next year will be very tough but Kiffin helped contribute to that as well. 7-6 Yes Fulmer could have done that good with a good offensive coach. Nothing special was accomplished and a lot of negative press. I hope UT never stoops so low again on hiring a coach.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Well here's to hoping this dope and Captain Caveman slip horribly out there at the Tennessee of the Left Coast.

easleychuck writes:

"Not a good cultural fit" translates to

...too big for his britches. (kudos to Coach D.)
...has not earned his spurs.
...much ado about nothing.
...mouth makes bets that his arse can't cover.
...talks the talk but can't walk the walk.
...immature beyond his years.
...certified liar.
...not worth the lead to blow his brains out.
...full of er beans.
...dumber than a box of rocks
...wouldn't recognize the truth if it smacked him in the face.
...doesn't know if he is on foot or horseback.
...and last but not least, a legend in his own mind.

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