UT scrambling to maintain order while search begins for a new coach

In the next 72 hours, critical work is required - both at home and on the road - to usher Tennessee football through a crisis.

Athletic director Mike Hamilton left town Wednesday afternoon and hopes to come home with a new head coach by the weekend.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, everybody else is closing ranks to bridge the gulf created by Lane Kiffin's surprising and untimely departure Tuesday night.

Leadership falls to Kippy Brown, whom Hamilton appointed interim head coach.

"You're putting out fires,'' Brown said Wednesday.

Brown, who is recently back for his third stint as an assistant coach at UT, is overseeing the existing roster, getting the mid-term enrollees integrated into the program and trying to keep the recruiting class from falling apart.

"It's not going to happen overnight where everybody gets massaged and feels good about the situation,'' Brown said.

Hamilton said Brown, who had previous tours at UT under Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer, was the logical man to head the salvage operation, even though he is the newest addition to the staff.

"He is a fine, fine individual,'' Hamilton said. "I was not at the players meeting (Tuesday night) but the report I got was he did an absolutely phenomenal job in making sure these athletes knew what the situation was and being a calming influence.''

Hamilton also praised senior associate athletic director David Blackburn for being a stabilizing factor as the program goes through its second turbulent coaching transition in 15 months.

Brown said what remains of the staff decided to go ahead with a recruiting weekend. Recruits will begin arriving Friday.

UT's basketball coaches, Pat Summitt and Bruce Pearl, both volunteered to help with recruits.

Ideally Hamilton will be back from a whirlwind coaching search by then with a new face for the program.

"There's not going to be a 'message' until a head coach is in place,'' Brown said. "We're just managing this thing and making sure we're on schedule and guys are going to class and lifting weights.''

Hamilton would like to be a personal comfort to his student-athletes but he can't be two places at once. His biggest contribution is finding them a new coach - in a hurry and in the privacy of an out-of-town setting.

He met with the mid-term enrollees Wednesday morning and encouraged them to go to class and stay the course with UT.

"I really hit on the fact that this is not a fly-by-night operation,'' he said. "I'm in my 18th year, seven as AD.

"We've got people surrounding them that are stable and have been here a long time.''

Hamilton said he has the same qualities in mind for coaching candidates as when he conducted the search that produced Kiffin.

As for the secondary recruiting violations Kiffin leaves behind, Hamilton emphasized the program has "an NCAA review" in process as opposed to a full-scale investigation.

He doesn't see it as an obstacle for the next coach.

"Based on my knowledge of what's out there,'' he said, "they could come here and feel good about it.''

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Comments » 43

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

Muschamp. Done Deal

revjulian writes:

Thought about it all day (heard Kiffin lie at least 10x in his "conference.") We are so much bettere off now. Thank you Lame for doing us a great favor.

Kippy Brown seems like the real deal.... let's hire him!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

I am absolutely befuddled that the bball coaches would help in the middle of the season. Just shows the commitment to the university they have. God bless them both. Kiffin can't even spell commitment.

volnnwbama writes:

let pat summit do whatever needs done. she is UT!

stayingorange writes:

Again with the sensationalized headline? Reading the story makes it seem like they are taking good control of a bad situation - not scrambling to maintain order. Quit using your scare tactics.

RockyTopBoy writes:

in response to Whiskey_Wizard:

Muschamp. Done Deal

Please tell how you know this...

Texassean writes:

Wow. Thanks Bruce & Pat. You guys are incredible! Help us recruit a great coach, too!

VolGrad writes:

The Orange and White will find a way to turn all this around quickly. BOC will not be brought down by one small weasel. Tennessee is second to none with its facilities and winning tradition.

Volz4life writes:

The weak a## west coast should fit well with his girlish tendancies and charactor.. So I agree with Kiffin, it was a perfect fit. Forget Kiffin, it's over. Bring someone home soon MH. And it better be good. Names like Muschamp (and I would love to see Harbaugh, although I feel he also would leave sooner rather than later for a NFL job) sound good,but I would rather have someone who wants to be here not someone who is waiting for a NFL job (or the Texas job) to open up. Throw money at Patterson to move up in the world and leave TCU. I think that would be a good fit.

Hounddog writes:

keep it cool...Orange.

Hounddog

volshogs#284810 writes:

From what I have heard and read over the past 24 hours, a condition of hire for our new HC (if it is not Kippy Brown) should be the mandatory retention of Brown on the staff. Thanks for shining bright and keeping the ship afloat Coach Brown!

Vol7727 writes:

Muschamp has announced he is staying at Texas, here's the link http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.c...

bigfogg writes:

I would like to congratulate the media person who kept asking the question about Kiffin's knowledge or lack of about the recruiting of UT players. Fine guy, throw Orgeron farther under the bus.
To the players at UT, you are the program. You are what over 100,000 fans make theri way into Neyland on fall Saturdays. Many, many more watch at home or when you are on the road.
Kiffin did get it right when he said this was a top 10 football program. Be proud where you are and continue to work and improve on last year.
There will be new leadership, there also must be new leaders step forward from within. The Seniors along with Eric Berry gave fine leadership this past season. It is within many of you to step up now when it counts and make sure that any recruit who steps into the football facility doesn't want to go anywhere but the VOL Nation. Keep the team together and work hard to improve. Tuesdays when official workouts begin, the stretching, sweat and pain will all be worth it when you are playing in another fine Bowl game next year.
I'm proud to be a Tennessee Volunteer FAN!!!!!!!!

smkymtnhiker writes:

I just called the Southern Cal football office to leave a message how I felt about their current coach's disparaging remarks about UT, Knoxville and the students. I encourage EVERYONE to do the same if they are so inclined. The football office no. is 213-740-4204. Enjoy!

VOL_n_LA writes:

in response to Texassean:

Wow. Thanks Bruce & Pat. You guys are incredible! Help us recruit a great coach, too!

Pat for AD
Mike makes one final decision.
Too bad it is such a critical final answer.
Your gone Mike.

feathersax writes:

It'll be enjoyable watching USC get the NCAA death penalty...batten down the hatches, Kiffin & posse!

SATCHMOE writes:

Please understand recruits and players.Hard work and faith in your ability makes you better.Coaches are paid to motivate and bring it out of you.One must have discipline to work hard regardless of circumstances.Don't give up, this will build your character as a man and a athlete.UT will rise from this and those who choose to fight and not leave, will know its about your character instead of a coach or a program where your a number and not a member.We are a family and sometimes you have to make that decision.Am I a Tennessee Volunteer or not,and thats something that can't be coached.This thing with CLK motvates me as to what can I do,cause its not about him or any other,its about heart.I WILL NOT RUN AWAY...This is MY TENNESSEE...

vol94 writes:

in response to smkymtnhiker:

I just called the Southern Cal football office to leave a message how I felt about their current coach's disparaging remarks about UT, Knoxville and the students. I encourage EVERYONE to do the same if they are so inclined. The football office no. is 213-740-4204. Enjoy!

probably immature but I left a message stating
hope they receive the death penalty and they can have the classless Kifin and Orgeron.

gatornkazoo writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Volumnus writes:

The one thing we need now is to establish the feeling (illusion if you will) of stablilty. In order to do that we need a candidate with:
A) a track record of stability. B) head coacing experience. C) a winning track record. D) offensive and defensive accomplishments. E) maturity (age and experience).

You might just spell that "MIKE LEACH"!

gatorhator4eva writes:

i would say it is going to be muchamp too. tennessee will pay whatever it takes and he would be stupid not to take it. ive heard it is 5 year/15 million contract offer. just speculation, but any normal human being would not turn that kind of money down.

pritch421 writes:

in response to Volumnus:

The one thing we need now is to establish the feeling (illusion if you will) of stablilty. In order to do that we need a candidate with:
A) a track record of stability. B) head coacing experience. C) a winning track record. D) offensive and defensive accomplishments. E) maturity (age and experience).

You might just spell that "MIKE LEACH"!

Mike Leach?!?!? if you're going to have a list, the candidate should at least qualify the first point. I can't think of anyone less stable. Mike Leach has won by simply outscoring opponents so there goes point D part B. Maturity? I'm sure locking a student athlete in a shed was the most mature option when faced with a simple concussion. Good thoughts

Volz4life writes:

in response to gatornkazoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you are a classless idiot who needs to stay on a Gator site. And when Urban Meyer does NOT come back after national signing day... I think you (not all Gator fans, just YOU) are going to get what you deserve (no coach and too late to hire one).

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

I may get blasted for this folks, but in my opinion I don't want Coaches Patterson, Peterson, Whittingham, Cutcliff, or any other head coach who would do to their school, fans and recruits what was just so jovially done to U.T. (After all, it's just before signing day EVERYWHERE, not just in K'ville.)
Assistants, such as Coach Muschamp are fair game as when they leave they don't disrupt an entire program.
I know I would rather see Coach Brown in Memphis on 2/4 at the Hilton than anybody I can think of right now.
Go Vols!
Jerome

JohnsonCity_George writes:

Pat Summit, Bruce Perl and Kippy Brown. Sounds good to me.

wcirwin64#584242 writes:

Ok, sounds like everyone NOW wants a dedicated coach who has a proven track record as a head coach,runs a clean program, is loyal to players, assistants,and fans, loves Tennessee,the SEC, and won't run off as soon as another school flashes cash at them ...Oh yeah, we fired that coach last year.

Thad123 writes:

The University of Tennessee needs to hire an African American Coach. Yes I said it. It is about time an African American is giving an chance to coach at a big SEC school. The majority of players are African American and there is no better time then now. I am not saying that Kippy Brown is the guy. I like the DC from Alabama. It needs to be done and it needs to be soon.

give_him_6 writes:

in response to Whiskey_Wizard:

Muschamp. Done Deal

You're an idiot. Dallas morning news...He's staying where he's happy...at Texas...for a long time.

Done Deal

volfanfromky writes:

in response to jrod:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thats why I'm considering UT.... I look at the school not the coaches....

Thad123 writes:

in response to gatornkazoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess the whole Ron Zook thing was real classy.

volfanfromky writes:

Well everyone here knows the main reason he left......" Its my dream job".....(Cough) BS!!! You know, not everyone can coach a power house like tennessee. He just wanted to get to by far one the weakest conferences in the country.... Honestly name one other person who would leave a SEC school for a PAC 10

utclassof1992 writes:

No more hired guns and new hotness. Get Kippy or Cut, launch Al Wilson's coaching career, hold on to Chaney and actually let him run the offense, keep Lance, can Reaves, keep Garza, and fire Hamilton tomorrow. Phil would make a great AD (not HC, AD). Now is not the time to add more mercenary to the problem. Muschamp will bolt for UGA the first chance he gets, Chip Kelly is another hired gun, Patterson has no ties here, and neither does Calhoun. Get the ship up and running, hope that either Kippy or DC can get us back to respectable, and then if we are not happy, then look for a replacement nationally. Another 1-3 and done kills this program for a decade. We need the stability and familiarity with UT that these two bring. Just ask Bama about the coaching go-round. Took them from 1996 to 2007 to get it right.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to gatornkazoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you need to be worried about Corch Urba Mya and his co-ed problems.

dvols writes:

ha ha ha, we are fine!

kabulvol writes:

Troy Calhoun? First of all, while I respect his record the AFA, UT is not the AFA. I know he had experience at Wake Forest and also in the NFL. Could he be the next Paul Johnson - a coach coming from a service academy to do well in a BCS conference? Maybe. But, at this point, we don't need a "maybe". Does the name "Calhoun" rally recruits and make you feel great about the UT program? Nothing against the man personally, I just don't think he's for us. Besides, he's an Air Force grad coaching at his alma mater.

Muschamp appears to be out of the picture, too. As is Patterson.

So, who will it be?

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to wcirwin64#584242:

Ok, sounds like everyone NOW wants a dedicated coach who has a proven track record as a head coach,runs a clean program, is loyal to players, assistants,and fans, loves Tennessee,the SEC, and won't run off as soon as another school flashes cash at them ...Oh yeah, we fired that coach last year.

One qualification you forgot: the ability to win going forward. And as loyal as Phil was to UT, our problem with finding a coach is partially his fault. UT was a top-tier program in 1999 and Fulmer squandered that status by consistently failing to recruit well and failing to win the big games. He also made very, very poor coaching and staff decisions (who's fault was it that Trooper Taylor left...it wasn't Kiffins').

Now we are a second-tier SEC school (which is still better than first tier in the ACC or Big East) and it is hurting our chances at hiring a quality, proven, and loyal coach...because we can't afford $5 million a year in salary (W. Muschamp turned down $3 mil a year for 7 years tonight and he was Hamilton's number 1 choice).

I don't hate Coach Fulmer like a lot of people, but it's stupid to think that because Lane "One and Done" Kiffin's hiring was a mistake, that Fulmer's firing must also have be a mistake. UT needs to appoint Kippy Brown as interim head coach for the next year and conduct a year-long, international coaching search (hell, get psychiatrists to evaluate the prospects). If UT makes another mistake...our football program will be the laughing stock of the country.

Lets cut our losses for this year, hunker down, and make good decisions. That's the smart thing to do.

gillblog writes:

I awoke this morning and thought, ahhh, what a wonderful day this is. Day Two without Lane Kiffin at UT!
Honestly, I think UT should declare today a holiday and have parades around campus all day in celebration of Kiffin's departure.
Even with his convoluted, insipid sense of logic, I don't think he would be able to explain such a reaction to the people of Pasadena.

gillblog writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

One qualification you forgot: the ability to win going forward. And as loyal as Phil was to UT, our problem with finding a coach is partially his fault. UT was a top-tier program in 1999 and Fulmer squandered that status by consistently failing to recruit well and failing to win the big games. He also made very, very poor coaching and staff decisions (who's fault was it that Trooper Taylor left...it wasn't Kiffins').

Now we are a second-tier SEC school (which is still better than first tier in the ACC or Big East) and it is hurting our chances at hiring a quality, proven, and loyal coach...because we can't afford $5 million a year in salary (W. Muschamp turned down $3 mil a year for 7 years tonight and he was Hamilton's number 1 choice).

I don't hate Coach Fulmer like a lot of people, but it's stupid to think that because Lane "One and Done" Kiffin's hiring was a mistake, that Fulmer's firing must also have be a mistake. UT needs to appoint Kippy Brown as interim head coach for the next year and conduct a year-long, international coaching search (hell, get psychiatrists to evaluate the prospects). If UT makes another mistake...our football program will be the laughing stock of the country.

Lets cut our losses for this year, hunker down, and make good decisions. That's the smart thing to do.

Agree on all points.
In a sense, there really isn't a big hurry to hire a coach right now (as A. Baldwin said about finding a new wife, "I'd rather be lonely for a while than wrong") if we assume this recruiting class is going to be depleted anyway. Take the time to get the right guy, NOT just the guy who is available right now.

londonvol writes:

During the job interview the only answer to the question of how long will you stay here, the only True answer is as long as it is "mutually beneficial", end of story.

shopsports#273141 writes:

Sorry, but Cutcliff is NOT the answer. We must get into the 21st century. His and Phil's laid back attitude looks like laziness. It is NOT inspiring for anyone to do anything to the best of their game.

nothinglastsforever writes:

in response to bigfogg:

I would like to congratulate the media person who kept asking the question about Kiffin's knowledge or lack of about the recruiting of UT players. Fine guy, throw Orgeron farther under the bus.
To the players at UT, you are the program. You are what over 100,000 fans make theri way into Neyland on fall Saturdays. Many, many more watch at home or when you are on the road.
Kiffin did get it right when he said this was a top 10 football program. Be proud where you are and continue to work and improve on last year.
There will be new leadership, there also must be new leaders step forward from within. The Seniors along with Eric Berry gave fine leadership this past season. It is within many of you to step up now when it counts and make sure that any recruit who steps into the football facility doesn't want to go anywhere but the VOL Nation. Keep the team together and work hard to improve. Tuesdays when official workouts begin, the stretching, sweat and pain will all be worth it when you are playing in another fine Bowl game next year.
I'm proud to be a Tennessee Volunteer FAN!!!!!!!!

Amen, Brother. The players have always been the most loyal to the school, and they give their bodies and souls for the Vol Nation. Eric Berry personifies this, as did Al Wilson and Peyton and the many great Vols through the years. I am positive that of the names out there, one of these coaches is perfect for the job and will come in a restore order and most importantly, tradition (he didn't read the MAXIM's?!?!) It won't happen overnight, obviously, but over time, with respect for the great University and it's football history. GBO!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Thad123:

The University of Tennessee needs to hire an African American Coach. Yes I said it. It is about time an African American is giving an chance to coach at a big SEC school. The majority of players are African American and there is no better time then now. I am not saying that Kippy Brown is the guy. I like the DC from Alabama. It needs to be done and it needs to be soon.

I just want the best PERSON for the job… I don’t give a cr@p what the color of his skin is.

On a side note – despite all the turmoil we’re facing, I must say that I’m very impressed with the way everyone is uniting together to get through this. I think Summitt and Pearl are class acts for stepping in to help in the middle of their seasons… it really speaks highly of their character. I also think Kippy deserves many kudos for assuming a leadership position and doing an awesome job during a difficult time. I think it speaks volumes about his commitment to TN regardless of who the new head coach is. If Hamilton names him as coach, I would be MORE than happy to give him a chance to see what he can prove. I think he would do a wonderful job and represent the university well!

vols2#227315 writes:

If he hires Calhoun, then fire Hamilton. We need a good coach who knows how to win,

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