By admin | December 1, 2008
By Jayson D. Henry
Lane Kiffin was just announced as the head football coach at the University of Tennessee and Iâ€™m already thinking about when and how he is going to leave.
Donâ€™t necessarily take the headline of this article to be a negative. However, the Volunteers will be looking for a new head football coach in 3 to 5 years.
That may very well be a good thing for Vol fans. The reason being, if the new coach comes in and turns the slipping program around he will be in high demand. In all likelihood, that would result in a return trip to the NFL for the young coach.
Most UT fans would probably be willing to accept those terms in exchange for a couple of SEC championships and maybe even a national title. If those things do indeed come to Knoxville, Kiffin may well be headed out of town with the intention of redeeming himself at the professional level and collecting a fatter paycheck than most colleges are willing to pay.
His first go around as an NFL head coach was, by almost every account, disastrous. However, in evaluating his time there, it has to be considered that he was not working for the most stable management in the sporting world.
Besides, the exit of Phillip Fulmer probably brought about the end of the days in which college coaches hang around in one place for 10-15 years. Itâ€™s just the lay of the land in modern day college sports.
Kiffin has no real ties to the university, and thus, no real reason to stay if and when a better offer comes along, especially if he has accomplished great success in Neyland Stadium.
However, there is also the possibility that UT will be in search of a new coach because Kiffin has failed. If he is unable to right the ship along the banks of the Tennessee River his time in Knoxville will be short.
Without victories over Florida, Alabama, Georgia and other SEC rivals, Kiffin will soon find himself to be a man without a country, or at least a Vol Nation.
And more, should Kiffin fail, the Vols will almost certainly be looking for a new athletic director as well. Say what you will in regard to Mike Hamiltonâ€™s decision to hire the recently fired Oakland Raidersâ€™ coach, but the UT Athletic Director did not play it safe with this hire.
For Hamilton, Kiffin will be an all or nothing decision. The AD will bask in the glory of unrivaled praise and popularity if the new football coach breathes the same life into this program as Bruce Pearl, another Hamilton hire, has breathed into the UT hoops program.
However, if Kiffin does not produce wins and championships there will be many second guessers to emerge throughout the Volunteer State. Those second guessers wonâ€™t stop at asking for Kiffinâ€™s head. Theyâ€™ll want the head of the man who hired him as well.
The credit Hamilton has built up in the UT fan bank for the Pearl hire will run out quickly if the football program fails to achieve at high levels. Successful basketball hires at UT are nice, but successful football hires are essential. Football is the life blood of most SEC athletic programs.
I believe the University of Tennessee will be looking for a new football coach in 3 to 5 years. The question is, will it be because Lane Kiffin did so well that he moved on to bigger things, or will it be because he failed miserably? The answer to that question will also determine whether it will be Mike Hamilton or someone else leading that search.
Jayson D. Henry is a guest blogger for RacingWithRich.com. Reach Jayson either by commenting below or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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