Tennessee students enraged after learning of Lane Kiffin's departure

10:32 PM, Jan 12, 2010   |    comments
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  • WBIR -- Hundreds of students have now gathered on Johnny Majors Boulevard and are blocking the road, apparently with the goal of keeping departing Coach Lane Kiffin from leaving the lot.

    There are signs that order is breaking down--someone has apparently brought a mattress down and lit it on fire.

    Police and firefighters are on scene in an effort to calm the situation.


    Coach Lane Kiffin himself has confirmed he's leaving the University of Tennessee for an opportuinity at USC.

    Kiffin spoke very briefly in a press conference from which live cameras were barred. Kiffin wanted to allow only 30 seconds of video from the event. The TV stations present refused to abide by that restriction.

    Kiffin had little to say of his departure--he said family played a big role in his decision. He'll be returning to USC, where he was once a wide receivers coach.

    He expressed gratitude to the university and East Tennessee for the way the community welcomed him during his 14 months here.

    With that, he was on his way.

    With the reins being handed over to Kippy Brown as interim coach, Athletic Director Mike Hamilton and Brown will have their hands full.

    "I want to thank Coach Kiffin for his work with our program this past year. We have already begun the search for the new head football coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. We will complete this process as quickly as possible to put the right person in place to lead our great program forward in the months and years ahead," Hamilton said in a statement.

    Hamilton was actually out of town when the news broke. He's returning from Denver. Kippy Brown will be named interim coach.

    WBIR Sports Director Steve Phillips and analyst Will Overstreet said reassuring recruits and current players will be among the top priorities.

    At this time, they'll be feeling a lot of instability. NCAA rules make jumping to another school a proposition with drawbacks--a one-year waiting period for one--but some will certainly be considering it.

    Overstreet also said this situation is an indication of the state of college football overall.

    Phillips said Kiffin's departure was absolutely a product of this job coming open and Kiffin's perception of how well he'd fit there. Phillips said he didn't perceive any other opportunity that would likely have drawn Kiffin away.

    Kiffin would replace Pete Carroll, who jumped to the NFL as coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

    Kiffin, the former Oakland Raiders coach, led the Volunteers for only one season.

    According to the sources, Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, and assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to Southern Cal with him, and wide receivers coach Kippy Brown will be named interim head coach at Tennessee

    Lane Kiffin was supposed to talk to the media at 9:30 p.m.


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