Phil Fulmer Gets the Last Word with Tennessee Firing/Lane Kiffin Hiring

While the shocking news that Lane Kiffin was bolting from Knoxville after just 14 months on the job caused many people in the community to riot, it did leave a smile on the face of someone in Vol country (no, we’re not talking about Urban Meyer either). Despite being one of the most loyal Vols supporters around, you know former coach Phil Fulmer had to enjoy a moment of satisfaction upon hearing the news of Kiffin’s departure. Kiffin may have talked a big game but he only went 7-6, got blitzed in a bowl game, and didn’t come close to Fulmer who started off 10-1 in his first head coaching season. That brings me to Fulmer’s thoughts on Kiffin’s departure which he released in a statement:

Recent events have been painful and an embarrassment to all of us who care about UT. I love the University; I am loyal to my alma mater and am ready to help as the University makes one of the most important decisions in the history of our football program. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I am not seeking to be a candidate for the head coaching position.

I am looking forward to embracing the next coach and have some strong beliefs about the kind of man he should be. He must embrace Tennessee’s culture and traditions, be mature and of good character, and demonstrate integrity and leadership to our young men who desperately want to be shown the way.

In other words, Kiffin was everything I wasn’t. Oh yeah, Lane was an embarrassment too. The part Fulmer mentions about culture and traditions is key; Fanhouse said that one of Kiffin’s main focuses was to turn Tennessee into the USC of the South instead of further developing Tennessee’s tradition. He was a fish out of water to begin with and he screwed things up for any potential outsider to land a big SEC job in the future. Way to be selfish, Lane. Nice going. Fulmer meanwhile has no reason to take the job now — all the people who wanted him gone would love to have him back at this point. What more satisfaction could you want than that?

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  • JS

    Rumor out there that Tennessee may be interested in Lovie Smith and just to entertain any rumor being as good as any other how about this: Smith, who is holding his job by a thread, takes a guaranteed contract at UT and Lane Kiffin gets Da Bears job. After all, Kiffin has been coach of USC for three days, and that’s probably enough for him anyway and certainly eough time to piss off enough people and commit enough violations.

    And Lane would fit in perfectly with all those Chicago politicians.

  • Larry

    As far as Lane Kiffen goes I say Good riddance to bad rubbish. USC deserves him. Tennessee didn’t

  • SpinMax

    Why not hire Tee Martin

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    I guess it was perfectly acceptable in the hypocritical world of college football for Tennessee to steal Louisiana Tech’s coach on the eve of national signing day. Will we hear the media ripping Dooley all weekend?


  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I think it’s understood that coaches at smaller schools will be seeking larger jobs that are higher profile and higher paying, for the most part. It’s a challenge that all small schools should understand and welcome (if the coach is a hot commodity that means the school was doing well).

  • http://JakesTakeOnSports jakesTakeOnSports.com

    Kiffin’s departure from Tennessee was the best thing that could have happened to Vols football. There is nothing on his resume that suggests he will be a good coach at a top-flight program. The mystery is why Tennessee hired him the first place. A bigger mystery is why USC hired him, but that is not Tennessee’s concern. The problem from Tennessee’s perspective was the timing of his departure. Had it come a month ago, Tennessee would have had better candidates from which to choose. Coaches don’t like to leave their school — or give any indication that they might leave — so close to signing day. Dooley’s track record, while far from extraordinary, is at least as good as Kiffin’s was when he was hired. Whether he can recruit as well as Kiffin is the only question.