September 30, 2013
As I’m waking up this morning and preparing my thoughts on the Tennessee vs South Alabama Game, I open my computer to look over the scores, especially the late night score (being on the East Coast) that I didn’t bother to watch…. USC vs Arizona State. Much to my amazement, USC was the loser! Or were they?
What was even more surprising was the same page contained a headline saying that The Weasel was fired in the middle of the night via phone call by Pat Haden, Athletic Director of USC, while Kiffin was mid-flight with his team to Los Angeles. The headline was surreal yet horrendously entertaining given the irony of how Vol fans and the state of Tennessee learned about the bottle of snake oil they had purchased manufactured by Lane Kiffin, Inc. The immediate image of the late night press conference in Knoxville as Lane, standing alone in the hallway, gathered his thoughts before telling the press he was leaving Tennessee after only 8 months tenure to pursue his dream job of Head Coach at the University of Southern California. What was clearly a questionable choice of hire by Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton to start, quickly careened into a nightmare propelling the Tennessee program into the depths of the SEC bowel.
Kiffin’s start at Tennessee seemed to please a lot of the Vol faithful as the new Head Coach brought some much needed moxy to the Tennessee program quickly taking aim at SEC attention hog Urban Meyer with bold statements about cheating and upcoming Florida losses. Just like that kid in your class or a friend of yours with an annoying boyfriend, you quickly realize the more words coming from them are complete shit. Vol fans grew uneasy hearing lane state that Tennessee was going to be the “USC of the south”, umm…. sorry Lane but we’re TENNESSEE!! Rumblings of NCAA investigations began to swirl, text messages began to be sent, and soon we found Mr. Kiffin packing for his dream job in LA and SoCal hacks like Jim Rome saying “welcome to the party!”.
Keeping in mind that his Head Coaching job in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders ended in complete turmoil as both he and Al Davis exchanged plenty of parting jabs and accusations. Football fans in general had grown weary of old man Davis’ rants and raves regarding football so naturally his comments about Lane Kiffin largely fell on deaf ears. Obviously, with hindsight being a brilliant 20/20, the monday morning quarterback at Tennessee realized that Al Davis spoke the truth and that Lane Kiffin was not only a liar but a cheater and would put a stain on the Tennessee Football program that may never be cleaned away or fully fade after decades of wear.
What Tennessee fans thought would be a few years of “rebuilding” our program suddenly turned into, what would surely be, a decade of “rebuilding” as we enter into our 5th year since Phillip Fulmer’s firing and usher in our 3rd head coach with Butch Jones. All thanks to Mike Hamilton buying a jar of Lane Kiffin, Inc.’s Snake Oil. The Lane Kiffin experiment not only sent Mike Hamilton packing, as he was still under the spell of the snake oil, after hiring Derek Dooley from Louisiana Tech who was both AD and Head Coach and on Tennessee’s list at #54 of possible coaches, but ruined Tennessee’s reputation as one of the best coaching jobs in the country to have. Coach after Coach said no and went on to other venues.
But I digress….
Just like someone who enters into their 2nd year of being divorced, that person begins to experience clarity in their previous mistakes and typically becomes thankful that the bad marriage was finally over and they can get on with their lives in a positive and productive manner. While the entire process is damaging emotionally and long in tooth to heal, it is still a process that all football programs experience time and time again. Unfortunately we just can’t all be great all the time.
So I offer this to USC fans out there, those frustrated that Kiffin was hired, those frustrated with his job performance, and those upset regarding the manner in his ultimate demise, I would personally call Arizona State and thank them for being that friend, painful as it may be and your reluctance to listen to those voices, that had the balls to tell you that you married and con artist!