Most of my friends and one of my daughters expected me to be absolutely livid today when the news came down the pike that Lane Kiffin, erstwhile football placeholder for my beloved Tennessee Vols, had proved the depths of his insane belief that everyone accepts the crap he does and done a shameful, Cleveland Brownsesque bolt in the middle of the night for the warmth of a NCAA-probation ready USC Trojans.
I'm so glad you're gone from Knoxville. It means I can now go back to a city I love without running the risk of hurling all over my orange and white patent leather sneakers. It means I can take a drive by the Rock, where I can read various forms of graffiti that basically boil down to F*CK YOU KIFFIN, take a deep breath of that mountain-scented air and know that my University is back. It means I can walk down Phillip Fulmer way with the absolute conviction that a loud-mouthed punk isn't sitting behind his desk. As a matter of fact, I couldn't have been happier at the news that my athletic donation dollars are no longer going to pay your entirely-ridiculous salary.
And then I realized.
You bolted three weeks to the day before National Signing Day.
What a piece of crap. You misled a slew of young football players. You misrepresented your commitment to the program. You flat out lied about your loyalty--not only to the school, but to their development as players and young men. Who gives a crap about the fan base? Next year, Neyland Stadium will still be full of Rocky Top singing Volunteer fans and in a few years we won't even remember your name--until we beat you in a bowl game. We, the alumni and fans of Tennessee, will get over it.
But what about the kids? Huh? Did you think about that before you slunk out like a Smoky Mountain polecat clutching your son named Knox and hiding behind your Barbie doll wife? Did you spare them a thought before you called your dad to drive you to the airport in the hopes that no one would throw a molotov cocktail at an old gentleman's car?
You see, as long as everything is about YOU, a team will not prosper. The story shouldn't be Kiffin, Kiffin, Kiffin. Maybe you should spare a thought for the players on your team, the athletic department that stood behind you and your stupid mouth, and the kids who were just yesterday really excited about attending a quality program like the University of Tennessee and now are floundering with a commitment they may or may not want to follow through on.
I hope you're happy. You've screwed over people on so many levels with this move that you've made Nick Saban, Rich Rodriguez and Brian Kelly look like freaking Girl Scouts. Congratulations.
Here's hoping that your level of success will continue to be what it has been as a head coach. That record is what now? 12- 21? Good luck to you.
PS: TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT AS WELL AS THE ALUMNI FOUNDATIONS AND HIRING COMMITTEE
You know you guys screwed over Phil Fulmer, don't you? This is karma coming back to bite your ass and you deserve it. When you threw over one of the greatest, winningest coaches in college football for a loud-mouthed punk who nearly dragged the program into probation disaster, this is what you deserve. Seriously.
Unfortunately, the kids don't.
Do yourself a favor--do us all a favor: Call Coach Fulmer. Ask him to come back for ONE YEAR starting tomorrow. I don't care how much you have to pay him--do it. Get him in the office and after our committed recruits TONIGHT. Save our recruiting class for God's sake! Coach Fulmer loves the University of Tennessee. He will do anything to save our football program and face it--you freaking owe him at least that much.
Coach Fulmer will represent our school with class and dignity. He's also a hell of a coach. He can save our season and those recruits. Just eat the crow. Beg him to help. At the end of the season, you can judge his future based on what he's accomplished with the team. You'll have the opportunity to run an extensive and thorough head coach search and not land us with a bipolar publicity maniac next time. But at the very least, there's only one coach that can save our football team, our season, and our recruiting class right now, which is exactly what has to happen.
Call him. Call him tonight. And then pray that Coach Fulmer will be gracious enough to save your ass.