From Brian Kelly to Lane Kiffin; Is there any Loyalty in College Football
From Brian Kelly leaving Cincinnatti and going to Notre Dame in the eve of a bowl game to Lane Kiffin leaving his Tennessee Volunteers after one year one the job, do College Football Coaches have any more loyalty to the students they recruit and the University that gives them a chance? It appears that both of these coaches used the previous University as a stepping stool to achieve their next job. The people that are left behind are ususally the suffer the consequences and have to deal with the sense of abandonment. There is so much money involved in College football that one losing season can make the difference between having a job and not having a job that you can’t blame the coaches for taking the money and running.
Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday he can describe Lane Kiffin’s tenure coaching the Volunteers in just one word: ‘Brief.’
Hamilton spoke at a news conference Wednesday discussing his second coaching search in less than two years after Kiffin announced Tuesday night his abrupt resignation to take the same job at USC. Kiffin, hired 14 months ago, coached one season at Tennessee and was 7-6.
According to Hamilton, Kiffin told him Saturday that if the USC job became available he would be interested. By Tuesday, Hamilton said Kiffin informed him that he was taking USC’s offer.
Hamilton said he is disappointed after giving Kiffin a chance to be a head coach and said he hopes to have a football coach in place in the coming days.
“I feel like we gave him a chance and gave him a good job,” Hamilton said when asked Wednesday if he felt betrayed at Kiffin’s departure. “If I said I was anything less than disappointed, not personally disappointed … I’m more disappointed for our kids and our fans.”
For a replacement, Tennessee will make a run at Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com’s Chris Low. Texas has said that Muschamp will succeed Mack Brown as Longhorns head coach, but no timetable has been set for a transition. The source said that Muschamp is Tennessee’s No. 1 target.
Meanwhile, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski that several members of Tennessee’s board of trustees have contacted former Vols coach Phil Fulmer about the possibility of becoming either athletic director or even football coach, though the source said he could not fill both roles. Fulmer was receptive to those inquiries, the source said.
Hamilton said he has met already with the eight recruits who enrolled early and told them to “go to class.” Recruits who have begun the new semester and continue to attend class would be eligible to participate in Tennessee’s spring practice.
“This is not the time [to have an opening],” Hamilton acknowledged.
National signing day for high school seniors is Feb. 3, and it remains to be seen how many verbal commitments Tennessee loses now that Kiffin has departed. According to Scouts Inc., defensive tackle Brandon Willis of Duncan, S.C., has decommitted for a second time and has given a verbal commitment to North Carolina.
Scouts Inc. also reported that defensive end Delvin Jones of Miami has decommitted and is considering written offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Nebraska.
Before coming to Knoxville for his first job as a college head coach, the 34-year-old Kiffin coached the Oakland Raiders. Before then, he was a member of the USC coaching staff from 2001 to 2006, first as wide receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll.
Carroll left USC on Monday to become head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Kiffin’s contract calls for him to pay an $800,000 buyout for leaving Tennessee after only one season.
Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, and assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to USC with him. Orgeron was with the Trojans for seven seasons before becoming the head coach at Mississippi and then an assistant with the New Orleans Saints.
Lane and Monte Kiffin and Orgeron will hold a news conference on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in the Heritage Hall Varsity Lounge at USC.