published Monday, July 26th, 2010

Wiedmer: Kiffin must be stopped

The only act of indecency left for Lane Kiffin is to desecrate Graceland.

What's with this punk anyway? You'd think the Volunteer state quit on him instead of the other way around.

Wasn't it cruel enough to embarrass Tennessee football fans and anger Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive for 13 straight months before kissing the Vols good-bye three weeks from signing day?

Or perhaps it was Kiffin's ham-handed gesture to place UT on the schedule of his new employer, the University of Southern California that raised your blood pressure 15 or 20 points.

Now comes news that he has lured Tennessee Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola away from the Music City exactly one week before training camp without so much as a courtesy call to Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who also just happens to be a fairly high-profile and loyal USC alum.

“I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane,” said Fisher, who praised Kiffin when the Vols hired him. “To call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. ... I don't know (Lane) well, so I am not going to pass judgment on his character. But I am surprised.”

Of course, if Kiffin weren't involved in this you could argue that karma prevailed on this occasion. After all, Fisher was so thrilled with running back Chris Johnson’s 2,006 rushing yards last season that he fired his position coach — Earnest Byner — in favor of Pola, who both played and coached at Southern Cal.

Even Fisher admitted Saturday, “I can’t fault anybody for having an opportunity like (Pola) has,” to become USC’s offensive coordinator.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not time for Fisher to stop favoring his alma mater. Or is there a Titans fan anywhere willing to lead a cheer for former Trojans — and Titans — Mike Williams, Norm Chow, LenDale White and, however briefly, Pola?

Not that anybody should stop faulting Boy Troy for another monumental lapse of respect, etiquette and professional ethics.

For those who remember the movie Wall Street, Kiffin is the Gordon Gekko of the coaching community. Most everyone can recall Gekko’s signature line, “Greed is good,” but a less known one perfectly sums up Kiffin.

Asked by the Charlie Sheen character, Bud Fox, why Gekko felt the need to wreck the company that employed Fox's dad, Gekko replied, “Because it’s wreckable, all right?”

So leaving Tennessee in the lurch after a single 7-6 season and a few possible NCAA violations was OK because he could. Tweaking the Vols with that possible revenge game was OK because he could. Now stealing away the Titans’ running backs coach one week from training camp is OK because he can.

And until or unless new USC athletic director Pat Hayden reins Kiffin in, his questionable behavior will continue unabated, much as it always has.

But there’s another side to these actions where the Titans are concerned that also surfaced on Saturday. It seems that despite 10 years of loyal, faithful, productive service, linebacker Keith Bulluck was allowed to sign a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the New York Giants without so much as a courtesy phone call from the Titans.

There’s little question that Bulluck is nearing the downside of his career, and he did tear an ACL last December. But he’s also the franchise’s third leading tackler all-time with 1,265, was never a problem off the field and probably still has at least two good years left for a team still in need of his leadership.

Or as Bulluck’s agent Gary Wichard said, “I think he would have at least liked to have heard somebody in Tennessee say, ‘Hey, we’d like to talk to you about coming back.’ After all the things he did and success he had.”

But the Titans never called. Just like Kiffin never called before the fact. It seems that courtesy is in short apply all over the place these days.

Still, just to be safe, if I were McKee Bakery I’d make sure Lane Kiffin couldn't find Little Debbie with a GPS device or a bloodhound.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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Livn4life said...

Wiedmer, Chatt. Times Free Press--PLEASE, PLEASE NO MORE ARTICLES about Coach Twinky at USC. He is on the West Coast now. He has that dream job which is a bit nightmarish at this point and he is far, far from East Tennessee. We've heard enough about him and his zany ways. I have one fond thought for him, THANKS TWINK...FOR LEAVING KNOXVILLE! So unless he lures Coach Dooley away from Voltown, keep us in the dark about his next vile deed!

July 26, 2010 at 8:03 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

"Embarrass Tennessee fans"? While they have now joined the rest of the CFB world in realizing what a scumbag Junior is, let's not forget how UT fans excused his lack of class while in Knoxville. A rat is a rat, regardless of what colors he is wearing, it goes for all college programs. UT fans were as bad as Kiffin last year as they laughed at his antics and led them astray while everyone else told them what a douche they had at the helm. Vol fans thought it was "cute". No surprise his lack of character continues to resurface at USC, even Al Davis figured this punk out quickly.

It is time for TN fans to hold ther state's university responsible for bad behavior whether it is the players, or the coach. They seem to have made a significant upgrade with their new coach, but he will need their support to regain the discipline that has been lacking the past 10-12 years. That may mean a dip in the W/L record, like Miami is going through, to institute the changes, but it is badly needed. Dooley will not make it unless the fans support him getting tough. At least they will not be the laughing stock of the league when he gets in front of a microphone.

July 26, 2010 at 10:35 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Macanllanlover, the "Vol fans thought it was "cute"" statement is way over the line. Vol fans had no choice but try to accept his antics and make the most of it. I had accepted that we might be stuck with him and the penalties he was bringing our way for a few years. But it sure never was cute. Also, I never felt he would be long as head coach. You are absolutely right on Dooley. He needs to be given a chance for his classy approach to make a difference. I for one plan to give him the benefit of a doubt. That will include a few years of struggles on the field. Then we will know what kind of coach he truly can be. It makes me feel very good to know he will be something much different than "cute". GO VOLS!

July 26, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.
Abe said...

Who is Lane Kiffin?

Seriously, this article never says.

Who is Lane Kiffin?

July 26, 2010 at 10:15 p.m.
Macallanlover said...

While "cute" may not describe how all TN fans felt (I know many long-time fans who were hiding their faces at LK's behavior), the more common reaction was to smirk about his childish antics and characterize them as a way to make opponents fear the Vols. In-your-face, cheap shots are in vogue in much of sports today, but SEC football has generally been classier than that. It may be generational, but I will not support that in teams I support.

Everyone has a percentage of bad who are not representative of the whole, but ther was too much acceptance, and not enough outcry about Kiffin until it was too late. Later it was revealed he was undermining TN traditions and that was known (and tolerated) by the team, Hamilton, and close insiders. No excuse for that, none. Never sell your soul to the devil, no matter what color polo he is wearing. Hopefully a lesson has been learned, and will not be repeated.

July 27, 2010 at 3:15 p.m.
tnvols said...

Enough about Kiffin he is nothing but liar and cheat anny way he can .....Tennessee traitions will live on .......GO VOLS.....The Titans will show him lesson

July 28, 2010 at 7:48 p.m.
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