What is so damn special about Lane Kiffin, anyway? I mean really, what has he done to get one of the most coveted jobs in college football? OK, sure. He sat at the knee of Pete Carroll at USC for six years as an assistant, the last two as an offensive coordinator, but even as the coordinator he reportedly didn’t call the plays. And is that really enough? The rest of his resume surely doesn’t support it.
We know why Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis hired him as a 31 year-old “prodigy” with virtually nothing in his background other than his father’s legacy (Monte Kiffen has a tremendous reputation as defensive coordinator for many years) and only two years as a college coordinator. He had absolutely no head coaching experience and zero NFL experience. Because it’s pretty well documented that Davis is nuttier than your great-aunt Ida’s Christmas fruitcake and is prone to rash decisions. He’s been doing it for years and if anything, the passing of time has only made him crazier.
It didn’t take too long for Davis to realize the error of his ways. I said he was nuts, not stupid. He fired Kiffin after about a season and a half and a 5-15 record.
Kiffin’s next stop: Replacing legend Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee. One of the first things he did there was wrongly accuse Florida head coach Urban Meyer of cheating, to get a kid during recruiting season to a room full of Tennessee boosters, no less.
While boasting that Tennessee got the recruit that Florida so desperately wanted (Nu’Keese Richardson), he incorrectly accused Meyer of calling Richardson while he was visiting the Volunteers campus. Something that A) apparently never happened, and B) there is no violation against. In the process Kiffin instantly made a name for himself as a buffoon and an ass. SEC Commissioner Mike Silva immediately publicly reprimanded Kiffin and ordered him to issue a public apology. Great way to start the new job.
After a dismal 7-6 season, including losses to Florida, a very close loss to Alabama, and a Chick-Fil-A Bowl loss to Virginia Tech, Kiffin is out the door. But not before being faced with yet another problem: The NCAA is investigating the Volunteers football staff over the use of female hostesses to recruit high school players off-campus, a rules violation that could be especially serious if the investigation shows that the young women were sent by Tennessee coaches.
According to reports, several females have allegedly been used to go to various high schools in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama to help persuade the young recruits to go to Tennessee. They go to the high school football games. They go to some parties. They basically wine and dine the recruits.
According to a New York Times report, one of the recruits from South Carolina described the hostesses as “real pretty, real nice and just real cool.” He went on to say that he thought they had “a lot” of influence in two of is teammates’ commitments to Tennessee.
You have to think that USC went to Kiffin because he knows the system. And because they were already turned down by Jack Del Rio, Jeff Fisher and Steve Sarkisian (who opted to stay at Univ of Washington). Logically, where else could they turn? They wanted someone who could go back to the salad days of their near-pro team of the past 5 years (this season not withstanding), and they knew he’d say yes. After all, as he told his very, very upset former Volunteer team last night in a tense meeting, this is really his dream job.
Kiffin will reportedly take his father with him to USC. Additionally, there have been reports that he is trying to lure offensive guru Norm Chow away from UCLA back to the USC fold where he was so successful under Pete Carroll for so many years.
With those two as his coordinators, even Lane Kiffin can’t go wrong. At least not until his arrogance gets the better of him and he does something that even they can’t get him out of. Ultimately, that’s what usually happens to people who get everything handed to them, isn’t it?