FanDuel - WFBC

January 12, 2010

Kiffin leaves Tennessee for USC: Tennessee's Lane Kiffin has agreed in principle to become the next head coach at Southern California. He never liked orange anyway.

posted by irunfromclones to football at 09:10 PM - 43 comments

This really seems like a stretch to me. The only thing I can think is that this was a package deal. From the article:

Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, and assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to Southern California with him.

Orgeron, a valued member of Carroll's staff for several years and a great recruiter, is the hidden diamond in this deal. And Monte's not bad either.

As far as Lane, he may eventually be good, but he's gotten too much, too soon with little to show for it.

posted by cjets at 10:01 PM on January 12

What an absolutely classless move.

Volnation is crashed. People in Knoxville are on the verge of rioting. This is a BFD here in Tennessee.

posted by lost_cause at 10:30 PM on January 12

What a kick to the teeth of Tennessee. The Vols actually showed some moxie at times during the season, and some Tennessee alums who are friends of mine were pretty positive on the direction things were headed. Lane is not developing a great track record, in terms of the seeming inability to last more than a year at a job and the fairly high profile off-the-field issues of certain players this year. Not so sure Lane is going to be so happy about this if, as rumored, USC is going to get nailed with NCAA sanctions in Carroll's aftermath. On the upside, it's going to be a lot easier to compete for conference championships with USC in the Pac 10 than with UT in the SEC.

posted by holden at 10:37 PM on January 12

Kiffin should have stayed put and rebuilt the Vols program. That is a good gig.

He could have made a name for himself at Tennessee. And make no mistake, he's already made a name for himself, but it has nothing to do with whether he can coach or not. We still don't know about that. Sooner or later, he's going to have to show that he can coach. Thus far it's been mostly image, drama, and career jockeying, and darn little substance.

Too bad Carroll's sideline exuberance is being replaced with a pout and a sneer.

He never liked orange anyway.

Maybe not, but if you'd seen his wife decked out in blazing orange at a Vols tailgate party, you'd swear that the sun shines round the clock in Knoxville.

posted by beaverboard at 10:44 PM on January 12

Wow. And here was I picking the Vols as the dark horse to win the SEC next year...

posted by Goyoucolts at 11:30 PM on January 12

I am completely surprised that USC would even think about hiring Kiffin. Of course, I was surprised UT hired him to begin with. I was even more surprised that he was actually a head coach in the NFL.

What kind of interview does this guy put on?

As a Gator fan I must say I will miss his mouth as it was rather amusing. UT deserved better and USC has a great guy to eloquently spout nonsense as a diversion to their impending NCAA sanctions. (As if that will ever happen)

posted by tselson at 12:00 AM on January 13

In addition to the elder Kiffin and Orgeron, word is that Norm Chow will also re-join the Trojan coaching band.

posted by boredom_08 at 12:31 AM on January 13

L.A. Times says Chow is not a done deal yet.

Wow. I can't wait to see Lane ride herd on this bunch.

"Dad, tell Coach Chow to stop making fun of me!"

posted by cjets at 12:41 AM on January 13

if you'd seen his wife decked out in blazing orange at a Vols tailgate party

Pardon me, were we talking about something?

(BTW, I like the guy in the comments who mentions smuggling peas. Good line.)

posted by THX-1138 at 12:49 AM on January 13

Carroll leaving and USC's AD Mike Garrett staying. Just when I thought that UCLA had gained a step... Ed Orgeron returning and extending USC's recruiting reach far beyond Southern California Orlando Sentinel reporting that Georgia high school linebacker Michael Taylor decommitts from Tennesee and will go to Florida instead.

posted by Newbie Walker at 01:01 AM on January 13

College coaches are an amazingly disloyal bunch these days. Vol fans went to bat for Kiffin through a pretty rocky start to his tenure in the SEC and he quits after 14 months? That says a lot about what his word is worth.

Why would USC even want a coach who would bolt on a program after 14 months? If they wanted a quitter, they should've called Bobby Petrino.

posted by rcade at 01:24 AM on January 13

Why would USC even want a coach who would bolt on a program after 14 months?

Cui bono? The AD, perhaps. Were top-flight head coaches put off by the smell of NCAA sanctions? Is Kiffin a placeholder, and the assistants the prize in this deal?

As I said in the Bowden retirement thread, the era of the lifer is over.

posted by etagloh at 02:01 AM on January 13

Mike Leach off the unemployment line wearing orange? Would be fun for the SEC.

posted by gfinsf at 05:43 AM on January 13

This guy is living a charmed life, isn't he. His resume is without highlights as far as I can see, yet he manages to get fantastic head coaching jobs. I guess the sky is the limit if he ever shows he is actually a good coach.

posted by bperk at 07:50 AM on January 13

Kiffin is the most fickle coach since Bobby Ross. *spits on ground*

Wish coaches had to sit out a season like players do when they switch schools. This would be less likely to happen.

posted by scully at 08:27 AM on January 13

The "Days of Our Lives" golden boy love triangle of the Pac 10 is now complete. Harbaugh, Neuheisel, and Kiffin. Let the hissing and sniping begin.

posted by beaverboard at 08:29 AM on January 13

Wish coaches had to sit out a season like players do when they switch schools.

I'd rather see players be able to switch schools at any time without sitting out a season.

posted by rcade at 09:20 AM on January 13

BTW, I like the guy in the comments who mentions smuggling peas. Good line.

We used to call it "smuggling raisins". She does fit in Southern California better than Knoxville, though.

posted by bdaddy at 10:47 AM on January 13

To snag a pretty lady like her, maybe Lane's talent really isn't football coaching. Perhaps the Trojan's moniker is apropo.

Of course I await the news report of Lane running after her with a golf club as she speeds away in her Escalade.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:07 AM on January 13

A Vols fan on YouTube is pissed in more ways than one (NSFW).

posted by rcade at 01:15 PM on January 13

Before he got out of Tennessee, Kiffin was confronted by fans, both inside the athletic complex and as he drove off campus for the last time.

posted by rcade at 01:29 PM on January 13

What a sham. As a Vol alum, it was hard enough to see Fulmer go, and we got behind Kiffin thinking of greener pastures in the near future, he was our 'cocky' coach and we gave him our support, trust and commitment. Now, he has thrown Vol nation under the bus and shown his true 'commitment'. I hope our recruits see him as nothing more than a used-car salesman selling a lemon, himself. Let's hope we hire someone with more character and commitment.

posted by sauceysays at 02:37 PM on January 13

The You Tube clip was classic.

At first I didn't realize it was an outdoor activity and I was starting to get worried about the flooring inside the guy's basement rec room.

He must have been hitting the Rebel Yell pretty hard. He soaked the garment mighty good but it still lit up like Bob Barker's birthday cake.

posted by beaverboard at 03:24 PM on January 13

All this talk about loyalty is misguided. The only real loyalty for someone in the football business is the loyalty to themselves and their families. Kiffen owes it to himself and his family to do what is in their best interest. Since he can be fired at any time, from either job, I would expect him to go where it suits his wallet, lifestyle and family the best.

I have been to Knoxville many times and live in So. Cal. I can honestly say there is no comparison. Not only is So. Cal. a better place to live, especially when you have money, but being head coach at Tenn. is not even in the same league as being head coach at USC. Jeez this is one of those offers that one just can't refuse. Similar to the offer Carroll accpeted.

posted by Atheist at 03:45 PM on January 13

Since he can be fired at any time, from either job, I would expect him to go where it suits his wallet, lifestyle and family the best.

While he can be fired at any time, unless the firing is for cause (e.g., slapping or otherwise abusing a player, not that that has happened in recent history or anything), he is going to get paid the full amount of his contract or, at a minimum, some buyout amount. So the risk of failure to each of the coach and the school is not entirely proportional. Very different than the situation many of us are in where we are employees at will in a manner that is truly reciprocal on both sides (i.e., we could be fired at any time without cause but could likewise leave our jobs for any (or no) reason at any time). College football coaching, from an employment perspective, is effectively an at will engagement from the coach's perspective but a contracted engagement from the school's perspective (at least as it pertains to quitting and/or seeking alternative employment).

posted by holden at 04:22 PM on January 13

On the plus side, I can't wait to see Mrs Kiffen at a tailgate party in Southern California.

posted by irunfromclones at 04:39 PM on January 13

A Knoxville retailer will donate fans' Lane Kiffin Tennessee T-shirts to earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti.

posted by irunfromclones at 04:54 PM on January 13

The only real loyalty for someone in the football business is the loyalty to themselves and their families. Kiffen owes it to himself and his family to do what is in their best interest.

I disagree with the view that a college coach doesn't owe anybody anything outside of his family. Leaving after just 14 months showed Kiffin wasn't committed at all to the promises he had made to the program or his players. Any USC recruit who believes he'll be committed to them over the 4-5 years they're at school is nuts.

While Tennessee is not as high profile as USC, it is still a storied program that won two national championships, most recently in 1998. Kiffin should have given them at least 3-4 years before he considered other offers.

posted by rcade at 05:07 PM on January 13

Be glad he's gone, Tennessee. You can do much better. As for USC, the glory days are over.

posted by dyams at 07:11 PM on January 13

That You Tube video was excellent. Betcha Lane Kiffin won't be showin' up for a barbeque in that dude's back yard any time soon.

posted by outonleave at 07:14 PM on January 13

Will Kiffin have to pay Tennessee any money for breaking his contract similar to what happened with Rich Rodriguez?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 07:45 PM on January 13

I believe he owes them $800k, yym.

posted by tselson at 07:49 PM on January 13

Website heismanpundit.com claims that USC alumnus and L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss paid the $800,000 buyout of Kiffin's Tennessee contract.

posted by Newbie Walker at 02:10 AM on January 14

I'd rather see players be able to switch schools at any time without sitting out a season.

I am not so sure based on shear numbers. One bad season and all the players are jumping ship. That's not a pretty scene. Seems easier to hold the coaches to the rules the players follow than the players to the rules the coaches follow.

As someone who lived in SoCal (1990-1995*), I wouldn't wish it on anyone. The state government is screwed. They have the longest state constitution and some blame the constant mandates to fund pet projects as one of the reasons they have such a budget mess. Add earthquakes, mudslides, pop culture over real culture and well, give me Memphis and Nashville any day. During the period of time I lived in LA there was OJ Simpson, Rodney King's beating, subsequent race riots, multiple raging fires in the hills, flooding and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Yeah, what a lovely place.

And while I do dislike SoCal very much, I am making my silly statement above to point out just how stupid the ignorant, homer comments above comparing Tennessee to SoCal are.

posted by scully at 09:23 AM on January 14

I am not so sure based on shear numbers. One bad season and all the players are jumping ship. That's not a pretty scene. Seems easier to hold the coaches to the rules the players follow than the players to the rules the coaches follow.

Can't really hold coaches to the same rules as the players as that is their livelihood. You wouldn't want a job where if you want to accept another, higher paying and respected job you'd have to sit out a year first before you could take it.

Easiest solution is to just allow players to leave without sitting out a year IF the coach leaves..they can leave under other circumstances only if they sit out a year.

posted by bdaddy at 10:01 AM on January 14

I am not so sure based on shear numbers. One bad season and all the players are jumping ship. That's not a pretty scene.

Why is that a concern? Other college students can switch schools at any time. I don't see the logic of forcing amateur athletes to stay out of sports for a year because they want to go somewhere else. If coaches get freedom of movement with no restrictions, players should too.

posted by rcade at 10:40 AM on January 14

Schools are making an investment in the players by offering one of a limited number of scholarships to players they recruit. It's not unreasonable for the players to have some commitment to the team/penalty for leaving, knowing that if a player leaves, a team cannot easily go out and replace him with and equivalent experienced player.

Beside that, what you're talking about here means that recruiting doesn't stop at signing day, and teams would be trying to lure away players who are on other teams.

posted by bender at 01:01 PM on January 14

Schools are making an investment in the players by offering one of a limited number of scholarships to players they recruit.

College athletes can be removed from scholarships on a year-to-year basis. So if the school has the flexibility to deny a scholarship to an athlete in the off season, why doesn't the athlete get the flexibility to switch schools in the off season and keep playing?

posted by rcade at 01:19 PM on January 14

On today's Around the Horn the lead story was that Kiffin and Orgeron are already in hot water for potential violations for contacting Tennessee recruits about switching to USC.

Oh vey, what a great start!

posted by billsaysthis at 07:07 PM on January 14

He's just trying to keep USC in the news, bill!

So if the school has the flexibility to deny a scholarship to an athlete in the off season, why doesn't the athlete get the flexibility to switch schools in the off season and keep playing?

I'd guess it's that he who has the gold makes the rules.

posted by tselson at 07:57 PM on January 14

According to Fanhouse, Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley will get the job.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:36 PM on January 15

Even the pre-press conference was a lovely event.

posted by yerfatma at 06:07 PM on January 15

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