Lane Kiffin


I was speaking with a friend of mine who dates back to my days in Nashville. She’s a big Tennessee Vols fan, and feels betrayed by the defection of Lane Kiffin to Southern Cal.

My question: Why?

By now, it’s very clear that the pecking order of professional integrity goes as such:

1. Bank CEO.

2. Bookie.

3. Gary, Indiana-based pimp.

4. Crack peddler.

5. Big-time college sports coach.

It’s true. With rare exception, these men have no integrity, and a remarkably nonexistent sense of loyalty. If you come calling with large wads of bills, fat sneaker deals and chance for unlimited TV time, they’ll follow. Every. Single. Time. That’s why, even though I’d like to believe him, I have little doubt Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks for the simple reason that Southern Cal is about to be smacked with some severe penalties—and he knows it. Hell, why else would someone leave a secure, well-paid gig in Southern California for the chance to take over a miserable franchise in America’s rainiest city? (If you’re answer is, “The chance to guide the team once quarterbacked by Kelly Stouffer,” you win a dime).

And yet, I probably shouldn’t even thrash these guys. Where, exactly, does loyalty exist? Family? Yes. But where else? Most of our employers would fire us in a flash if it meant upping stock value by a cent. Hollywood? We keep going to movie theatres and they keep upping prices. Religion? Don’t make me laugh.

Truth is, Lane Kiffin owes Tennessee no more than Tennessee owes Lane Kiffin. He’s looking out for No. 1—a sad, yet common, practice in this country.

PS: By the way, I’ve been to Knoxville more than once. OK town, passionate fans. But L.A. or Knoxville? Not exactly a tough choice.

9 thoughts on “Lane Kiffin”

  1. Kiffin’s getting killed but I don’t get it.
    coaches leave.
    that’s part of the game.

    and what exactly would be an acceptable period before a coach leaves?
    2 years?

  2. Another blanket statement. Coaches, with rare exception, have no integrity. Where do you get off, man? If you’re offered a better opportunity and more money, why not take it? Kiffin wasn’t married to Tennessee and he spent more time in USC’s system anyway. He was an assistant there for years. How is returning disloyal?

  3. I agree, most coaches don’t have loyalty. There are some…I can probably name them using just the five fingers on my left hand. Maybe I can’t, I don’t know.

    But, should coaches have loyalty?

    I mean, one losing season and they could lose their job. Are they rewarded for loyalty?

    Tyrone Willingham wins 10 games in 2002, collects a national coach of the year award and two years later he’s fired in year three of a five year contract.

    The year before Tommy Tubberville led Auburn to a 13-0 season he was all but fired….because he finished 8-5 that season.

    Eric Mangini was nearly canned after ONE year in Cleveland.

    There are many more examples.

    Fan bases turn on coaches faster than you can say Lane Kiffin to USC.

    Administrators will dump coaches too, especially if they can save a buck (or $800,000) and find “cause,” as in the case of Texas Tech and Mike Leach.

    Where’s the loyalty?

    It’s a nasty business…feelings get hurt…but they all (coaches, players and administrators) all (most of them) do it for one reason…money.

    If someone came to me today and offered to double my salary (or even better, offered the millions these coaches receive)…my loyalty goes out the window.

    I think a person’s loyalty should be judged based solely on their performance while employed.

    Was Kiffin committed to Tennessee while he was head coach? Did he do his best? Or, was he building his resume and contacts to take over the second Carroll left town?

    If it’s the latter, I can bash Kiffin. But, he worked hard at Tennessee–at least he tells us he did. That’s all anyone associated with UT can ask.

  4. I think Lane Kiffin’s kind of a wiener, but I can’t fault him for this one. It’s clearly his dream job, so I can’t blame someone for pursuing gig numero uno. If I was offered Rob Halford’s job in Judas Priest I’d take it in a heartbeat.


    Loyalty goes both ways in sports anyway. Dudes get cut and fired all the time, and lots of times it’s with pretty cutthroat circumstances. Big time sports leagues are really no different than Hollywood in a lot of ways.

  5. You seem to blame the individual’s integrity more than the permissive/corrupt institutions that allowed the bad behavior.

    What do bank CEOs/steroid users/college football coaches have in common?

    a) they have huge economic incentives to make decisions that may be morally dubious, and

    b) they work within institutions with lax rules/regulations that don’t force these individuals to think twice about their actions.

    I like to think that generally human beings often do the right thing. But when you have the above scenario exist, it’s a lot harder.

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