Welp, this pretty much seals it: You can cross Lane Kiffin off the list of potential coaching candidates for Tennessee.
Kiffin just obliterated any bridge left between him and the Vols (if there was one left in the first place), with a savage tweet sent on Wednesday.
The tweet features a meme of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un turning down the Tennessee job.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 30, 2017
That joke cycled on Twitter Tuesday after it was reported that North Korea was set to make an announcement Wednesday. Many joked that the announcement was that Kim Jong Un had turned down the Vols.
So far the Vols have reportedly shown interest in Jon Gruden, Chip Kelly, Dan Mullen, David Cutcliffe, Mike Gundy, and Jeff Brohm, who all turned them down. They had a deal with Greg Schiano that they backed out of after fan protests. They are still searching for a head coach, with their attention reportedly now on Dave Doeren.
Former Tennessee quarterback-turned-radio host Erik Ainge spent part of Wednesday trying to make Lane Kiffin look bad, but ended up making himself look bad instead.
As the Vols’ coaching search stumbles ahead, Ainge decided to message Kiffin, the former Tennessee coach, on Twitter. His intent wasn’t clear — perhaps he was trying to make Kiffin look desperate to retake the Volunteers’ job, or perhaps he was trying to goad him into saying something he’d regret. Either way, Ainge posted the contents of the alleged conversation on Twitter.
I don’t want him. He doesn’t want to be back here either. Kiffin is not the answer. I promise. See our convo. No. Thanks. Lane. pic.twitter.com/HLjYDQ13s4
— Erik Ainge (@ErikAinge3) November 29, 2017
Ainge continued to argue with the segment of Tennessee fans who want Kiffin back, but all he did was make himself look immature and obsessed. Kiffin simply seems like someone who doesn’t really want anything to do with Tennessee and is feeling second-hand embarrassment for Ainge.
Indeed, it was Ainge who came out looking worse on Twitter, as many fans keenly pointed out.
That Ainge DM made me want Kiffin even more lol
— gmannVOLS (@gmannVOLS) November 29, 2017
I speak for everyone in Knoxville when I say I would trade Eric ainge's entire existence for just one of lane kiffin's visors https://t.co/AShVoPX3n2
— enrique shockwave (@AdinThompson) November 29, 2017
@Lane_Kiffin on behalf of all Vol fans I want to apologize for Erik Ainge, we don’t claim him either
— Jake Tidwell (@jaketidwell97) November 29, 2017
Lane Kiffin comes out looking like the adult here. https://t.co/OVCYlR5RuD
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) November 29, 2017
Lane Kiffin is good at Twitter, and he doesn’t want to come back to Tennessee. Ainge appears to be wasting his time and energy.
Lane Kiffin is living his best life on Twitter.
Kiffin responded to a somewhat tongue-in-cheek CBS Sports column suggesting that he, of all people, would bring much-needed stability to a volatile Tennessee football program at the moment, running under a headline that said Kiffin was waiting by his phone.
Kiffin, now at Florida Atlantic, couldn’t help but comment.
As Tennessee again finds itself engulfed in flames, Lane Kiffin waits by his phone Not waiting at all! Getting this team ready to win its 9th straight against a great north Texas team. Come to the championship here in Boca Dennis at #thefaU @espn https://t.co/GJ83xJqejm
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 27, 2017
To be clear, Kiffin is not returning to Tennessee, even if he’d like to. The Vols wouldn’t go anywhere near him, especially in light of the protests that sank the Greg Schiano hire.
Are you ready for the wildest Lane Kiffin story of all?
Kiffin reportedly would be interested in a return to Tennessee despite how big of a disaster his last stint in Knoxville was.
“Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call,” ESPN’s Chris Low told the Orange and White Report radio show in Knoxville on Wednesday. “That’s not going to happen, but as he told me, ‘People break up all the time and get back together.’”
Now that is just nutty.
Kiffin was lucky that Tennessee gave him a chance to lead their program following his rocky departure from the Oakland Raiders. But despite talking trash and making a lot of noise in his first season at Tennessee, he left the program high and dry when USC came calling. He deserted Tennessee after one season and the fans rioted over the perceived act of disrespect. They even tried to name a sewage system after him.
There’s no way Tennessee would take Kiffin back. But it’s interesting — and almost nonsensical — that Kiffin would be open to a return.
If you asked me what Lane Kiffin enjoys more between winning football games and trolling Nick Saban, I’m not sure how I’d answer. Because that dude just LOVES messing with Saban.
On Wednesday night, Kiffin on Twitter shared an SB Nation photoshop image of Saban wearing some ripped jeans. In his caption, Kiffin joked that he “gave them to him.”
Gave them to him pic.twitter.com/ALoOMZ69VL
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 23, 2017
The photo was a play on Saban’s recent rant about ripped jeans.
“I just want to know how he got here,” Saban said to the media last weeks, via AL.com. “Not to offend anybody out here, I just walked by some jeans, wore out jeans, holes in them, all cut up. I just remember when I was a kid in West Virginia, I was ashamed to go to school because my jeans were wore out only because we didn’t have any better.
“Now they buy them that way. I just can’t figure how did we get here?”
So of course Kiffin would take credit for giving him the jeans and joke about it. Kiffin was Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama for three seasons. Now he focuses on messing with his old boss.
Lane Kiffin has officially activated the FAU fan base.
Kiffin is in his first season as head coach of the Owls, and he has his Florida Atlantic squad 7-3 on the season and first place in their Conference USA division. But Kiffin isn’t satisfied with just getting wins and quietly moving on. Oh no; that’s not his style. Instead, Kiffin is trying to bring attention to his program any way he knows how. His latest move is trying to get ESPN’s “GameDay” to come to FAU next weekend.
Florida Atlantic hosts rival Florida International in their annual “Shula Bowl” next week, so the program is trying to get the roving ESPN pregame show to set up shop in Boca Raton.
In fact, a plane flew around Miami Saturday with a banner saying “Come to FAU”.
— rick puchferran (@rickpuchferran) November 11, 2017
“GameDay” was in Miami Saturday for the Hurricanes-Notre Dame game. And in case ESPN didn’t see the sign, Kiffin tweeted at GameDay and Kirk Herbstreit to make sure they saw the banner.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 12, 2017
Beyond that there was a strong Kiffin presence on GameDay. Some signs from the crowd were FAU or Kiffin-themed, including one saying “Come to FAU.”
— Michael S Garrett Jr (@marchingfish) November 11, 2017
— Madalaine (@gymmaddie) November 11, 2017
The people have spoken! Looks like ESPN will have no choice but to go to Boca Raton on Saturday!
Don’t expect Lane Kiffin to go crawling to the parole board to persuade them about how he has been “rehabilitated.”
Kiffin, now 6-3 in his first season at FAU after three as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, conducted an interesting interview with The Athletic’s Chris Vannini. In the Q&A, Vannini asked Kiffin whether part of the reason for wanting to go to Florida Atlantic was to prove to the rest of the country that he’s changed and maybe grown up following his controversial departures from Oakland, Tennessee, and USC. Kiffin said no.
“No, because I don’t care,” Kiffin told Vannini. “This is probably bad in the big picture of what the perception of you is nationally. I don’t do things to try and create a perception of positivity. I don’t do what most people do. ‘Boy, if I do this, it’ll get in the paper. If I do this, it’ll be positive and they’ll write about it. I’m going to go out of the way to say how changed I am so people think he’s so changed.’ Anything I say in an interview is exactly what I’m thinking or is what is going on. That’s how I am. That’s probably not great advice to give someone young in the profession. They should probably do coachspeak.”
That’s a really interesting quote from Kiffin. He is proving that he still possesses strong coaching and recruiting skills and that he can win in a conference that’s not as competitive as the SEC or Pac-12. The more he wins at FAU, the more he will capture the attention of other athletic directors and football programs looking for coaches. But Kiffin’s making it clear: You hire me, you get my personality too, not some watered down version of myself. And that means plenty of Nick Saban trolling.