I think it was Horace Greeley who said: “Go West, young man.” Apparently Lane Kiffin has taken that to heart.
At a news conference tonight Lane Kiffin announced he will end his 13 month tenure as the coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. While Facebook is lighting up with posts from throughout Big Orange Country, interchangeably crying and cussing, I say simply: “Good Riddance!”
I will try to refrain from saying: “I told you so.” But I will say Al Davis is looking like a wise old sage. He is the one who warned Tennesseans that Lane Kiffin was a “scoundrel”. Davis also said Kiffin was a liar. Both seem to be dead-on assessments tonight.
I must admit, my first thoughts were: “What a jerk!”
But then it dawned on me. Tennessee fans got what they deserved. We received the same loyalty from Kiffin as many Vol “faithful” (using that term very, very loosely) extended to Philip Fulmer.
Fulmer is a class individual. He loved his players and the University of Tennessee. He had a clean recruiting record. And, in addition to having coached the Vols to a NCAA Championship, he was the third winningest active coach in the NCAA Division 1, before he was unceremoniously shoved out the door by AD Mike Hamilton. It was those same Vol “faithful” who are reeling tonight that cheered Hamilton and jeered Fulmer.
Fulmer stood for all that is best in college athletics. But that was not enough; not nearly enough. So fans across the state, marching to a tune played by the Pied Piper John Adams, and others of his ilk, turned ugly. They wanted a newer, sexier model. So they got one.
There is a line from the film Wall Street that comes to mind. Martin Sheen, playing the role of the wise, blue collar father, tells his young, arrogant, ambitious son (played by his real life son, Charlie):
“I don’t go to bed with no whore. And I don’t wake up with no whore. That’s how I live with myself. I don’t know how you do it.”
Well, Vol Nation, you now know what it is like to wake to a coaching ‘whore’. What did you really expect? Love and long-term commitment? You were only kidding yourselves.
Truthfully, I feel pretty good tonight. If you check my past posts, I was never a Kiffin fan. Some have mistaken my non-embrace of this guy as “hate”, but that is to misread my sentiment. I wanted to like the guy. I wanted him to succeed. (Read: An Open Letter to Lane Kiffin and Kiffin’s Concerns) But as I suspected, he never gave me the chance.
Now Tennessee goes back to the drawing board – hoping to find a coach who can salvage the recruiting class that will sign in just 3 weeks. Hoping to find a coach who, as one person wrote me tonight: “…wants to win, loves the players and the University, and will teach the players to win and love UT too.”
My simple response was: “We had one. And he was ridden out of town.”
But now we begin again. This time let’s shoot for character above charm. And check the references from his previous employer. Maybe someone should have listened to Al Davis.