Kiffin watch: Can you put an athletic department on lithium?

The UT athletic director is bi-polar.  So is his football program.

Lane Kiffin has done just what his new boss at Tennessee wanted him to do: Put the Volunteers back in the national spotlight.

And while the new coach has ruffled some feathers with his bold moves and brash comments, athletic director Mike Hamilton told The Associated Press Thursday that Kiffin’s statements have been “misunderstood.”

Make up your minds.  Junior likes to claim that every move he’s made has been purposeful and that things have gone according to plan.  Now he’s “misunderstood”.   Oh, please.

“When you think about the fact that our football program was 5-7 last year, and we’ve got a coach that’s not coached a game yet in college football, but yet, we’re on the front page of USA Today sports (Tuesday) … it’s really quite amazing,” he said.

That’s Tennessee football today in a nutshell.

Look for another front page story soon.  Maybe this one.

The buildup to Lane Kiffin’s first season at Tennessee continues to be one wild and crazy ride.

He’s gigged rival coaches, pried away top recruits from rival schools, infuriated an entire community with his unflattering post-signing day comments, landed a reprimand from the SEC and accumulated a handful of NCAA secondary violations along the way.

Now Kiffin has the first turnover on his staff — all in about six months’ time.

Sources told that Kiffin and his strength and conditioning coach, Mark Smith, met on Thursday and agreed to part ways…

This is the guy he pried away from Spurrier – and did a fair amount of chest-beating when he did so.  That was so six months ago, though.  Today, it’s a different story.  No one’s giving a reason for the dismissal, but it’s worth noting that it’s not like Smith doesn’t have a respectable background.

… Smith’s resume also includes two years in the NFL, first with the Washington Redskins in 2003 and then with New Orleans Saints in 2004.

Smith was a two-year starter at linebacker for North Carolina State. He began his strength and conditioning career as assistant strength coach for the Wolfpack from 1993-97. He moved to Florida as strength coordinator from 1998-2001 and spent 2002 as head of the Kansas program before moving to the NFL.

Now he’s pumping gas.


UPDATE: Chris Low adds this note.

… It sounds like Tennessee will now go after Aaron Ausmus, who was Ed Orgeron’s strength coach at Ole Miss and worked with both Kiffin and Orgeron at Southern California. Orgeron has a lot of juice in all the decisions that are being made right now within the football program, and Ausmus is clearly one of his guys.

So the guy with the 5-15 head coaching record who’s new to the SEC is leaning heavily for advice on the guy who had a conference record of 3-21 as a head coach.  Makes perfect sense.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

8 responses to “Kiffin watch: Can you put an athletic department on lithium?

  1. Averaging just under one self-report a month since Kiffin pulled into town. AD Hamilton is pissin’ his Dockers he’s so drunk on attention. And “the internets” is still as puzzling as “NCAA Compliance” to the entire department.

    Guess things are hummin’ right along in Knutsville.


  2. Looks like the old “any publicity is good publicity” adage will really be put to the test in Knoxville this year. Will Hamilton, Kiffin et al. still be basking in all this wonderful attention the program is getting if the Vols go 5-7 for a second straight year?


  3. Dog in Fla

    Global War on Lane (GWOL) Crisis of the Day (COD) Piece, Green Zone, Knoxville – 22 May 2009 (Extended Memorial Day The Head Coaches of the SEC version):

    An aggravated Head Coach Pat Summit has ordered UT AD Mike Hamilton to do a ‘do over’ with the Associated Press because, in Hamilton’s interview yesterday, Hamilton flat threw Bruce Pearl under the bus by saying the sh!t Bruce did was even more riduculous than the sh!t Lane is doing but because it’s football, not basketball, Lane gets more press. Why? Because football is more important than basketball.

    Head Coach Pat Summit regards this as not only an indirect attack on roundballers of both genders and President Obama but a direct attack on she and her boy Bruce because Lane and now Hamilton have completely sucked all the PR air out of the Green Zone.

    Hamilton contacts Associated Press, shrugs shoulders, says you can’t always get what you want, but if you’ll come back I’ll let you interview Lane and Coach O. AP agrees and Hamilton sends a helo to pick up the reporter and return him to the Green Zone drop zone.

    Hamilton then intros Lane, in a Smokey The Vol Animal costume, with Coach O behind him. Lane says thanks for coming and breaks out into a little hip-hop number for the young AP reporter:

    ‘Baby, do you understand me now
    Sometimes I feel a little mad
    But don’t you know that no one alive
    Can always be an angel
    When things go wrong I seem to be bad
    But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
    Thank you Thank you very much…’

    Lane passes hat for offering and then passes the mike to Coach O, who breaks out into a Cajun version of ‘Golddigger’.

    Right in the middle of ‘Golddigger’, after reading the tweets on his twitter, the AP cub reporter stringer intern jumps up, thanks Hamilton, Lane and Coach O for the helo ride but tells them he has to leave in a hurry on an unprecedented number of multiple spread formation breaking unverified emergency Memorial Day reports that:

    Auburn has rented yet another limo;

    Chizik barged into the Payless in Starkville and for some unknown reason bought a bunch of shoes with no cleats;

    Touchdown Jesus fired Weiss for failure to disclose and instructed His Disciples to hire Spurrier because Spurrier’s an Old Testament type of guy;

    Spurrier is having his receptionist prep a resume on non-letterhead paper for Jeremy Foley, telling her to leave out the Redskin and Gamecock years;

    Fulmer and Tuberville are now Personal Coaches for other head coaches selling the topic of “How to Get Fired, Kick Back and Collect $5,000,000”;

    Pahokee has decided they want yet another apology from Lane because it’s a long weekend;

    Richt agreed to play Florida in the Georgia Dome but only to even out the recruiting between Nick and Urban in metro-Atlanta;

    The NCAA instead of forfeiting 14 wins from Bobby ‘What Me Worry’ Bowden gave him an additional courtesy 14 wins for the trouble, which means Paterno will now have to sit the press box until he is 110 to catch Bobby;

    Slive is trying to contact Vick about buying muzzles for The SEC Head Coaches;

    The Hat is now wearing The Hat backwards like a Trooper;

    Lance Thomspon can’t find Memphis;

    Urban can’t get out of speaking about himself in the third person and is about to write a book about it;

    Sabin is denying that he ever coached against Utah and

    Jimmy Sexton has annointed himself as Commissar of the Playoffs.

    Lane tells the AP Reporter that it looks like that’s a lot to cover. The AP guy says, “No big deal, The SEC is like Chinatown. It’s just the usual suspects. Same faces, different BS.”

    The AP reporter asks Lane if he is going to be doing any acting up over the long weekend. Lane smiles that grin of his that caught Layla I and says, “What do you think?” The reporter smiles, thanking Lane for the scoop, and says he’ll be sure to contact Lane first thing Tuesday morning.


  4. RedCrake

    “Now he’s pumping gas”

    Well played Senator.


  5. mike

    Mmmm….that’s good Squeeshy!!