Book says Lane Kiffin pushed NCAA envelope in taking on SEC

Anonymous emails to Hamilton questioned Kiffin

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin reacts to a call during the Vols' 31-16 win over Vanderbilt in 2009.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin reacts to a call during the Vols' 31-16 win over Vanderbilt in 2009.

A book devoted to recent SEC national champions still had room for Tennessee football. Fans can thank Lane Kiffin for that.

"How the SEC Became Goliath," is the title of the book, which chronicles the conference's ascent to preeminence in college football. Former Knoxville sportswriter Ray Glier, who now works as a freelance journalist, features each of the conference's six consecutive national champions (2006-11).

But he also includes an entire chapter on former UT coach Lane Kiffin's brief, but determined, attempt to put the Vols back among the league's elite programs.

"The real hook for me (on Tennessee) was that it's an incredibly competitive conference, and people will stretch rules to win games," said Glier, a former executive sports editor of the Knoxville Journal. "I think he's a great coach. He's a great play caller. What was going on in the SEC (in 2009) with three consecutive titles made him more ambitious."

A series of emails from an anonymous UT employee to former athletic director Mike Hamilton reflected how ambitious, Glier said. One of the emails, which Glier obtained, questioned the videotaping of voluntary workouts in the early months of Kiffin's tenure at UT.

According to the book, the email to Hamilton read: "When the team is working on the defensive end of Haslam Field, someone is set up in the stairwell in Stokely (Ath

letic Center) with a camera. They film from inside the stairwell through a glass window across the street. It just raises the question, 'If filming these workouts is permissible, why not use some of the towers (on the practice field)? Why hide it?' "

Hamilton didn't respond with an email, Glier said.

Glier quoted another email from an anonymous UT employee to Hamilton: "I hope you budgeted extra money for defending (NCAA) violations."

The name of whoever sent the emails to Hamilton was redacted, according to Glier.

An NCAA investigation of UT's football program turned up no major violations — just a number of secondary violations under Kiffin, who took the head-coaching job at Southern California after one year at Tennessee.

"I wanted to show the passion (of SEC football) and what teams go through to win a title," Glier said. "Also, I think (Kiffin is) a great coach. He was on his way (at Tennessee) but he was taking some short cuts."

Glier closed his chapter on UT and Kiffin with this: "If not this season, then one season soon, Kiffin will get a chance to show the SEC, after all the rigmarole, that he was not just talk, that he may be the next great coach in college football."

Glier's book will go on sale in the next two weeks.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 44

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Theres a guy on the message boards named TennesseeTuxedo, and he despises Lane Kiffin.

FanNotSheep writes:

Kiffin is a great recruiter and has a sharp football mind. But I would stop short of calling him a great coach. My definition of a coach includes shaping players' character through setting examples by working hard, being tough mindes but giving positive feedback, and mostly inspiring them to achieve success the right way -- not by taking shortcuts.

The top players seem to relate to Kiffin but I always remember the teachers who were cool and funny as not being that great at teaching, while the hardazzes managed to cram a lot more knowledge through our thick skulls.

Olddogsrule writes:

So the moral of this story is, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin', an if you're a cheatin' coach an not get caught cheatin, that makes you great." That premise pulls enough vacuum to suck start a 747! It don't belong in Tennessee lore.

budd#207344 writes:

Lane Kiffin was found to have committed six(6) secondary violations in his one year at Tennessee. St. Richt at jawja and Satan at alabubba have each reported twelve (12) and fourteen (14) secondary violations respectively during the same period. But lets not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

tennrich1 writes:

One major way to distinguish greatness IMO in a coach is the admiration of former players years later....while that train may be a few years out I just cant see a Jonathon Crompton discussing with great emotion his love and respect for Lane Kiffin...not saying it doesnt exist and not saying Lane cant be a coach like that...I am saying its just hard for me to imagine....

cyclonevol87 writes:

Why not just write the book about Lane Kiffen,if you want to write about the vols write about how they won the first BCS championship seems like they forget about that.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to cyclonevol87:

Why not just write the book about Lane Kiffen,if you want to write about the vols write about how they won the first BCS championship seems like they forget about that.

ABSOLUTELY. Great post.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Lane was and will always be a great recruiter, but CDD already alluded to his style as being chest bumping and all glitz with no substance. Some athletes are sold on that style of recruiting, but CDD is selling UT first and in the end our athletes will have more character/substance than the shallow star gazing thugs Lane will attract..Just a thought.

UTKin1992 writes:

Kiffin is EXACTLY where he needs to be; holding court with the shallow, narcissistic, image obsessed nut jobs of L.A. Good riddance.

CrankE writes:

"people will stretch rules to win games"

Uh...so why focus on Tennessee when such a statement is made? Scam Newton much?

Because the league office has already chosen its winners and losers. You could ask Arkansas about their screwjob at UF in 2009. Or MSU about theirs when UF visited them in 2009. Or about UT when we visited Alabama in 2009. Or many other atrocious calls/non-calls that swung the outcome of the game in favor of the anointed team. The message is don't let anything get in the way of the anointed teams making it to the SEC Championship game unmolested.

UT's approach to compliance used to be a University based approach. We'll keep our own house clean and we expect everyone else to do likewise. Tennessee doesn't have this enormous population base or endless truckloads of money. With this being the normal state of affairs, UT has to recruit regionally and nationally and cannot afford reductions in scholarships due to compliance issues. Therefore, UT has generally stayed out of the NCAA doghouse. As for Fulmer reporting Alabama, would anything have been done if Fulmer stayed quiet? No.

Slive gave an interview recently where he talked about compliance more as a league based approach. In other words, don't turn in your rivals who are cheating. The league office alone will determine how to best handle that for the benefit of the league. Slive is perfectly happy to let a few anointed teams do what they want and throw lesser teams under the NCAA bus as tribute to protect the anointed few from any inquiry and thus the league's position and his own power.

Slive is the SEC's Chancellor Palpatine.

In the grand scheme of things, Kiffin is small potatoes. Always was, always will be. Had he remained at UT, he would have ultimately brought misery on us. Things that he can get away with in LA would never fly here. But I feel certain that Kiffin would have tried like he]] to highlight the hypocrisy of the way that Slive runs this conference.

Apologies for the length.

PUL4VOLS writes:

My week was going well until all this has been mentioned. We don't care about Southern Cal coach in any book. He's gone, we're happy and picking up the pieces he left lying around.

SummittsCourt writes:

Alabama, LSU, Auburn & Florida all have had issues with the NCAA - they may one day pay the price for their success. Weasel boy would have crippled Tennessee had he stayed any longer. I'm glad he is gone no matter how good a coach and recruiter he is he is scum as a person.

In Coach Dooley we have a guy that is doing it the right way and keeping the program clean. I would rather win 8-9 games the right way, then to win 12-13 games the wrong way and have to "vacate" them in a couple of years.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Kiffin is EXACTLY where he needs to be; holding court with the shallow, narcissistic, image obsessed nut jobs of L.A. Good riddance.

Zackly..

dvols writes:

dem pesky anonymous UT employees....

BobbyJones writes:

It kills me how everybody dogs him out now but when the 2009 season was going on man, he was cool as hell! And yeah, I liked him while he was here, too.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to CrankE:

"people will stretch rules to win games"

Uh...so why focus on Tennessee when such a statement is made? Scam Newton much?

Because the league office has already chosen its winners and losers. You could ask Arkansas about their screwjob at UF in 2009. Or MSU about theirs when UF visited them in 2009. Or about UT when we visited Alabama in 2009. Or many other atrocious calls/non-calls that swung the outcome of the game in favor of the anointed team. The message is don't let anything get in the way of the anointed teams making it to the SEC Championship game unmolested.

UT's approach to compliance used to be a University based approach. We'll keep our own house clean and we expect everyone else to do likewise. Tennessee doesn't have this enormous population base or endless truckloads of money. With this being the normal state of affairs, UT has to recruit regionally and nationally and cannot afford reductions in scholarships due to compliance issues. Therefore, UT has generally stayed out of the NCAA doghouse. As for Fulmer reporting Alabama, would anything have been done if Fulmer stayed quiet? No.

Slive gave an interview recently where he talked about compliance more as a league based approach. In other words, don't turn in your rivals who are cheating. The league office alone will determine how to best handle that for the benefit of the league. Slive is perfectly happy to let a few anointed teams do what they want and throw lesser teams under the NCAA bus as tribute to protect the anointed few from any inquiry and thus the league's position and his own power.

Slive is the SEC's Chancellor Palpatine.

In the grand scheme of things, Kiffin is small potatoes. Always was, always will be. Had he remained at UT, he would have ultimately brought misery on us. Things that he can get away with in LA would never fly here. But I feel certain that Kiffin would have tried like he]] to highlight the hypocrisy of the way that Slive runs this conference.

Apologies for the length.

The funny thing, Fulmer was not the one who reported Alabama, it was Spurrier. I remember reading the story about that guy from Memphis and the on going court decision. In the transcripts it came out that Spurrier initiated the investigation, and Fulmer was subpoenaed. Of course the media only reports who was subpoenaed to testify and Fulmer became the scapegoat so to speak in the media.

stevefrommemphis writes:

If Kiffin ever faces Alabama, I hope Kiffin wins 50-0.

writer#358485 writes:

If Kiffin faces Alabama, I hope he loses 0-100!

writer#358485 writes:

It's not that I like Alabama, I should have explained. I dislike Kiffin that much.

VolGrad writes:

Who is Lane Kiffin?

Go Vols! Beat the Gators!!!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to BobbyJones:

It kills me how everybody dogs him out now but when the 2009 season was going on man, he was cool as hell! And yeah, I liked him while he was here, too.

I agree that there many that jumped ship "after the fact". However, I also remember many being very distrustful of Kiffen. They had a good point and now that they have been proven correct, I don't find "everybody" as a trustworthy statement when admitting I was mistaken about Lane. Some of the guys had it right from the start, stop hating just because we didn't.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

Here is as truthful as I can get. I didn't vet Lane but was hoping he would be the answer. Hindsight is a different story. Lane probably will be very successful at USC but I am glad he is gone. Cheating in the SEC holds a different meaning. Will someone with a name like "Slive" often overlook it? Of course. Do the fans? Not really. There are many examples of asterisks placed soley by SEC fans but I respect them. I want to win but I honestly want to win without the asterisk.

CarlChilders writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Lane was and will always be a great recruiter, but CDD already alluded to his style as being chest bumping and all glitz with no substance. Some athletes are sold on that style of recruiting, but CDD is selling UT first and in the end our athletes will have more character/substance than the shallow star gazing thugs Lane will attract..Just a thought.

Great recruiter, yes. Keeping them in school is another matter if I may add.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Lane Kiffin was found to have committed six(6) secondary violations in his one year at Tennessee. St. Richt at jawja and Satan at alabubba have each reported twelve (12) and fourteen (14) secondary violations respectively during the same period. But lets not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Tressel committed 18 that year at Ohio State but that didn't really make the news.... However, I think we can agree that Kiffin had an air of desperation about him to win SEC games and I always felt he would do whatever he had to, legal or not. And Orgeron certainly had no ethical dilemmas regarding NCAA rules. I'm glad he's gone, just hope Dooley is the right guy and we're back on our way. Go Vols!!!

McMinnVol writes:

I for one am glad we are going into this weekend's game with Florida with Coach Dooley and our current coaching staff and not those clowns from the 2009 season. GO VOLS BEAT THOSE GATORS!

AtLannaVol writes:

I said it when he was here, and even said it when he was leaving for USC, The guy's an absolute a--hole, but he's also a great coach. Heck, he made Jonathon Crompton look like an All-American against Georgia. He threw for 300 yards in a half I believe and then he outcoached the Ole Ball Coach himself on Halloween no less. He knows his stuff and he hates to lose. He knows how to sell to 18 yr old young men, even if it means using 20 yr old young women. I'm just sayin. Glad he's gone. Wish he would lose, but he's at a top program at a very young age so he'll probably go down as one of the greats because he'll win so many games before he reaches Montes age. Well, at least he gave us Tyler Bray. And Lane's son will probably get beaten up alot at school for having a name like Knox...so we got that goin for us...which is nice.

AtLannaVol writes:

And oh yeah, can we get his stupid picture off our website?? Please?? It's Florida week for cryin out loud. There's not enough hate to go around for Lame Kitten and Will Must Chomp. Spreading it a little thin I'd say.

Gman-for-vols writes:

Kiffin is a slime ball. Period. Move on. The program is much better off without him around. (see penn states fate with coaches of questionable character).

TooDlems writes:

I hope Bryce makes it in the NFL or CFL because we may not have heard the last from him, Dooley shouldn't have played games with this kid and should have just said goodbye.

Hickmc writes:

in response to TooDlems:

I hope Bryce makes it in the NFL or CFL because we may not have heard the last from him, Dooley shouldn't have played games with this kid and should have just said goodbye.

Uh unless I'm mistaken Bryce never played for coach Dooley. I believe he refused to even go through off season workouts and Spring Practice. If I am mistaken someone please correct me. Thanks!! and Go Vols Beat Florida!!!!

CCLC writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Who is Lane Kiffin?

Go Vols! Beat the Gators!!!

Lane Kiffen was a former UT coach who left somewhat unexpectedly in the night and watched from his rear view mirror the smoldering mattresses, a harbinger of what was to become of a once cherished and respected football program.

TooDlems writes:

in response to Hickmc:

Uh unless I'm mistaken Bryce never played for coach Dooley. I believe he refused to even go through off season workouts and Spring Practice. If I am mistaken someone please correct me. Thanks!! and Go Vols Beat Florida!!!!

Never said he played for Dooley. Just said he should have just let the kid go without giving him grief. If a kid doesn't want to be in your program then you should just let him go.

CrankE writes:

in response to tnoutlaw2001#228008:

The funny thing, Fulmer was not the one who reported Alabama, it was Spurrier. I remember reading the story about that guy from Memphis and the on going court decision. In the transcripts it came out that Spurrier initiated the investigation, and Fulmer was subpoenaed. Of course the media only reports who was subpoenaed to testify and Fulmer became the scapegoat so to speak in the media.

I think I remember that as well.

Which further proves my point. All the hatred was unloaded on the Big Orange guy while the league's anointed slide on by.

WinginFlorida writes:

I fail to see how Kiff had established himself as a great coach during his tenure at UT. His recruiting turned out to be filled with disappointments, he flirted with rule infractions on a regular basis, and his coaching while here was sketchy at best...I remember his team getting embarrassed at Ole Miss and laying a big egg at the Chick Fil A Bowl.

Maybe he could have ultimately been the greatest coach in UT history...but he certainly did not demonstrate that ability while he was in town.

EverythingOrange writes:

Kiffin is NOT a great coach, and he was never a true VOL, either. If it weren't for his defensive daddy, he wouldn't even have a high-profile coaching job in the first place. Kiffin better hope that he can succeed at USC, because every other program in the nation knows that he is unreliable and has no loyalty what-so-ever to anything but himself! F'n dirt-bag!

pcorange writes:

I don't know why USC even wants him. His recruiting practices when he was OC/recruiting coordinator under Pete Carroll is what got USC put on probation anyway. What a piece of trash. Glad he's gone.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

in response to AtLannaVol:

I said it when he was here, and even said it when he was leaving for USC, The guy's an absolute a--hole, but he's also a great coach. Heck, he made Jonathon Crompton look like an All-American against Georgia. He threw for 300 yards in a half I believe and then he outcoached the Ole Ball Coach himself on Halloween no less. He knows his stuff and he hates to lose. He knows how to sell to 18 yr old young men, even if it means using 20 yr old young women. I'm just sayin. Glad he's gone. Wish he would lose, but he's at a top program at a very young age so he'll probably go down as one of the greats because he'll win so many games before he reaches Montes age. Well, at least he gave us Tyler Bray. And Lane's son will probably get beaten up alot at school for having a name like Knox...so we got that goin for us...which is nice.

Great post....and love the caddyshack reference....lol

murrayvol writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Tressel committed 18 that year at Ohio State but that didn't really make the news.... However, I think we can agree that Kiffin had an air of desperation about him to win SEC games and I always felt he would do whatever he had to, legal or not. And Orgeron certainly had no ethical dilemmas regarding NCAA rules. I'm glad he's gone, just hope Dooley is the right guy and we're back on our way. Go Vols!!!

I'm a little tired of wishin' and hopin'. Would like to enjoy a little provin'.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say whew no mention of Witch Doctor! haha damn you Kiffen!
Bones never lie.

UTVOL2001 writes:

in response to writer#358485:

If Kiffin faces Alabama, I hope he loses 0-100!

+1

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I wander if Kiffin will ever try to schedule UTK??

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say whew no mention of Witch Doctor! haha damn you Kiffen!
Bones never lie.

Witchy??? Is that really you? You alright??

smokies_old_soul writes:

in response to BobbyJones:

It kills me how everybody dogs him out now but when the 2009 season was going on man, he was cool as hell! And yeah, I liked him while he was here, too.

Sure, a lot of us liked Kiffin and the excitement he brought back to the program. personally, i liked the way he immediately had the attitude and approach that, this is Tennessee - one of college football's big-time programs, and we need to act like it. go after the very best recruits and go to the toughest places to play with a little cockiness.

Then a lot of us hated him when he showed what he was really all about - he did not like Tennessee, he and his little princess looked down their noses at Knoxville and the Vol fans, considering our overwhelming enthusiasm as a lack of sophistication.

also, some of the things that had been going on came out, like Kiffin putting video of Southern Cal players on the monitors in the lobby of the football complex, like his treatment of old-school players like Josh McNeil, like his condescending attitude towards the Neyland Game Maxims and other Vol traditions. for Kiffin, such long time practices within the proud Tennessee Football program were as useless as the checkerboard endzones - Kiffin smirked, "Well, whatever Tennessee's been doing isn't working anymore, so we're coming up with something new. Get used to it."

he had no respect for Tennessee and obviously just saw the job as a means to an end. he was also naive and totally unprepared for the enviornment surrounding SEC Football.

Good Riddance.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to smokies_old_soul:

Sure, a lot of us liked Kiffin and the excitement he brought back to the program. personally, i liked the way he immediately had the attitude and approach that, this is Tennessee - one of college football's big-time programs, and we need to act like it. go after the very best recruits and go to the toughest places to play with a little cockiness.

Then a lot of us hated him when he showed what he was really all about - he did not like Tennessee, he and his little princess looked down their noses at Knoxville and the Vol fans, considering our overwhelming enthusiasm as a lack of sophistication.

also, some of the things that had been going on came out, like Kiffin putting video of Southern Cal players on the monitors in the lobby of the football complex, like his treatment of old-school players like Josh McNeil, like his condescending attitude towards the Neyland Game Maxims and other Vol traditions. for Kiffin, such long time practices within the proud Tennessee Football program were as useless as the checkerboard endzones - Kiffin smirked, "Well, whatever Tennessee's been doing isn't working anymore, so we're coming up with something new. Get used to it."

he had no respect for Tennessee and obviously just saw the job as a means to an end. he was also naive and totally unprepared for the enviornment surrounding SEC Football.

Good Riddance.

SOS You get a resounding AMEN! from me on that post! Excited when he first got here. But it didn't take hardly anytime at all for the "Mouth of the South" to start showing his backside. Better he's gone. Along with his dad and all the rest of the Too Good for East Tennessee crowd he brought with him. Anybody don't like what I said can make like a Kiffin .. and leave.

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