KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee confirmed Sunday night the news that started leaking last week: Lane Kiffin has replaced Phillip Fulmer as the Volunteers’ football coach.
UT scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference today for Mr. Kiffin at Neyland Stadium.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been on the road meeting with prospective coaches and talking to some of football’s most influential and knowledgeable players and coaches about the future of the Tennessee football program,” UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a sports information department release. “We have had unbelievable interest from great coaches.
“When it was all said and done, we felt like Lane Kiffin was a perfect fit for Tennessee,” he said. “He’s energetic, charismatic, consumed with recruiting and has had a lifelong love affair with football.”
Mr. Kiffin, 33, was fired Sept. 30 from his head coaching position with the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders. At 31, he was the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when the Raiders hired him in January 2007, but owner Al Davis terminated after several public and private quarrels — or “insubordination,” in Mr. Davis’ words.
Mr. Kiffin gained acclaim for his coaching and recruiting skills during a six-year stint with the University of Southern California. He rose through the ranks at USC and coordinated the Trojans’ high-scoring offense for two seasons before leaving for Oakland.
Mr. Kiffin, a Minnesota native, played quarterback at Fresno State from 1994-96 and graduated from the college in 1998. He and wife, Layla Reaves Kiffin, have two daughters — 3-year-old Landry and 2-year-old Pressley — and expect a third child in January.
UT announced Nov. 3 that Mr. Fulmer wouldn’t return next season. Mr. Fulmer coached the team’s last four games, a stretch that ended with Saturday night’s 28-10 victory over the University of Kentucky in Neyland Stadium.