Lane Kiffin Bolts Tennessee After One Season While Al Davis Says, “I Told You So”

"This is the job I've been waiting for ... really ... at least until I find a better one next year."

The truth be told, I’ve been highly critical of Al Davis more times in the past than I can count.  I’ve made the “Weekend at Al’s” jokes, I’ve claimed that the Oakland Raiders owner is really deceased, and that Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman are merely puppet-mastering him behind the scenes.  I’ve derided Davis for his heavy-handed approach to running the Raiders, for the game having passed him by, for his insane drafting decisions, and most recently his apparent ridiculous commitment to JaMarcus Russell under center.

But tonight, I have to say it:  Al was right.  100%.  About Lane Kiffin, that is.

You might remember Davis’s rambling press conference after he removed Kiffin from the head coaching position in Oakland, and how the elderly owner denounced Kiffin at every turn.  Davis called Kiffin, among other things, a “flat-out liar” guilty of bringing “disgrace to the organization”.  At the time, the popular belief was that Kiffin was a coach who’d been wronged, and that Davis was merely a senile, old fool who’d driven away a bright young football mind.

I won’t debate here whether or not Davis has seen his better days as both an owner and a judge of football talent, but when essentially describing Kiffin as a person lacking in character — well, it’s become pretty apparent he nailed that one on the head, whether by accident or design.  After leaving the Raiders, Kiffin landed the head job at the University of Tennessee, replacing Phillip Fulmer, who had been forced out there despite having won the school a national championship in 1998 (which begs the question now — how’s that decision looking, Tennessee boosters?).  It didn’t take long for Kiffin to find himself in hot water at his new home — whether it was engaging in a verbal feud with Urban Meyer or belittling the choices of college recruits who decided to go somewhere other than Tennessee, Kiffin was quickly stirring up controversies — even if he wasn’t delivering a whole lot of victories to go with them.  In his one season at Tennessee, Kiffin managed to insult a lot of people, act generally like a buffoon desperately in need of some lessons as to how to carry himself with some class, and … and well, not much else.  At least, the Volunteer program isn’t on probation for anything that happened during Kiffin’s brief tenure — not yet.

Don't be surprised if you get stung by one of these -- and don't be surprised at Lane Kiffin leaving Tennessee after only one season

And just like that, Kiffin is off to USC.  Is anyone really surprised?  While Kiffin’s still hasn’t actually won anything as a head coach, he’s now in charge of one of the premier programs in the country — of course, it may be a program that’s headed onto probation before the ink’s had time to dry on his new contract,  While I don’t feel sorry for the Tennessee faithful — like the fable about the scorpion and the frog, Tennessee knew (or should have known) exactly what Kiffin was when they started dealing with him — the consolation is that they’ll be better off without the loud-mouthed coach.  The program is still an attractive one, and they’ll be able to find someone who — you know — might actually want to stay there.

On the other hand, considering the recent history of USC and their apparent lack of ethics in running their athletic programs, Kiffin should fit right in — at least until he’s jumping ship in California in a few short years (after he finds out how recruiting with a reduction in scholarships, as well as an improved Pac-10, makes for more trouble than he realizes).   And somewhere Al Davis will be laughing manically, telling us all how he knew it all along.


One Response to “Lane Kiffin Bolts Tennessee After One Season While Al Davis Says, “I Told You So””

  1. Ha, nice post! Al can at least say he made one right coaching decision over the past 8 years…

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