published Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Lane Kiffin's assistant reportedly paid for UT Vols recruit’s visit

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    Staff File Photo by Tim Barber Lane Kiffin will lead his Tennessee Vols against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-a Bowl on Dec. 31.

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee appeared to be in the clear in its troubles with the NCAA, but that changed Monday night.

Yahoo! Sports reported that Willie Mack Garza, who was UT’s defensive backs coach during former coach Lane Kiffin’s lone season in 2009, arranged for a recruit and his mother to visit UT and reimbursed Willie Lyles, a scout and the prospect’s mentor, a total of $1,446.80 for his purchase of airline tickets.

Lache Seastrunk, a five-star prospect, took an unofficial visit to Knoxville in June 2009, according to the report. He never officially visited the Volunteers, signed with Oregon and transferred to Baylor before this season.

Garza followed Kiffin to Southern Cal but resigned two days before the 2011 season began, citing “some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address.”

Lyles, who is based in Houston, has been linked to alleged recruiting violations with Oregon and LSU. Lyles informed the NCAA of the transaction in an Aug. 30 interview in Los Angeles and said investigators were conducting “a wide-ranging look into Tennessee recruiting practices,” according to the report.

“We are aware of the situation, as is the conference office,” UT associate athletic director for communications Jimmy Stanton told Yahoo!. “We’ve been verbally contacted by the NCAA enforcement staff and a student-athlete who never attended Tennessee.”

UT’s case with the NCAA had reached an end earlier this month, when the NCAA accepted the school’s long list of self-imposed penalties and placed the school on two years’ probation. The NCAA charged UT with failing to monitor former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his staff, but Kiffin and his former staff were cleared of any major violations.

Contact Patrick Brown at or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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So tired of the mess that Kiffin's bunch continues to leave behind.

SEC Doesn't Need to Hurry in Search of 14th Member

September 27, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The clorox orange clad faithful need to get over Kiffin, the problems with the football program is the responsibility of Fulmer. Football was on a downward spiral before Lane's arrival. Much like the Obamamaniacs blame Bush, the candy corn Vols fans blame Lane, when in truth should be blaming the Great Pumpkin.

September 27, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
Salsa said...

Fulmer shoulders a huge share of the blame for the decline of the TN program , but Kiffin added more than his share of sleaze in the very short time he was there. It is quite telling that Garza quit USC just days before the season began. You also need to look at how many of Kiffin's recruits are no longer there. Kiffin was responsible for running off B.J. Coleman and signing a mediocre QB named Matt Simms. I do give him credit for finding Tyler Bray though.

September 27, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.
garyyager said...

Or as Dooley said at the press conference, "Something that happened before I got here, by a coach who's not on our staff, involving a player who isn't on our team. There's nothing really I can say about it other than that"

September 27, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
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