Tennessee betrays its roots

In an effort to compete against the SEC powers, the University of Tennessee has betrayed its honorable past in pursuit of football glory.

First, the University hired Lane Kiffin, a coach considered a joke by those who know him. “I know him personally and he doesn’t command a lot of respect from the players or other coaches. I never looked at him as head coach material or even offensive coordinator material. He couldn’t even manage players at USC, how can he manage players in NFL?…Watching him call the plays for the offense of the 2005 team, with Leinart, Bush, and Lendale White was like watching a little kid trying to drive a Ferrari.”
(The above quote and more about Kiffin can be read at Sports by Brooks.)

Now the University is turning on its fans. According to the AP Tennessee is involved in a lawsuit with one of its own supporters as the University tries to take away prime tickets. “For years, generations of Thomas Luck’s family supported the University of Tennessee and its endeavors. But on Friday, the Nashville lawyer squared off against his alma mater in a Nashville courtroom in a dispute over prime box seats at Neyland Stadium…As president of the West Tennessee Big Orange Club, Luck’s father, William Luck, helped raise money to build the stadium’s upper west deck. As a result of the father’s fundraising, Gen. Robert Neyland, the school’s former athletic director and football coach, gave William Luck lifetime rights to buy tickets for both seats in a 1961 contract.” Now Tennessee wants more money. I guess building the upper deck hasn’t brought enough revenue into the Volunteer coffers. (You can read the entire AP story embedded below.)

One other note on Tennessee, fans are starting to attack anyone telling the truth about Kiffin. At Chattanoogan.com, a column by Jerre Haskew and Jerry Merchant attacked Paul Finebaum for a recent column on Kiffin and Stewart Mandel for a column critical of Tennessee.

According to the Volunteer fans, “And we could not be happier about the fact that Kiffin is upsetting so many talking heads around the SEC, and even nationally! That he has been able to do that in such a short amount of time has resulted in Kiffin exceeding our expectations so far, even though our expectations have been very high all along, ever since UT athletic director went “outside the box” in his hire of this brash and confident 33-year-old wunderkind with the Southern Cal pedigree.”

As pointed out above, Kiffin is a joke in the coaching world. He looks intelligent when compared to Shrek, errr Ed Orgeron, and Gene Chizik, but that isn’t saying much. Kiffin lacks the X’s & O’s skill and leadership ability to compete against Mark Richt, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Houston Nutt and even a washed up Steve Spurrier. Tennessee will get its fair share of players; it isn’t like Fulmer failed at recruiting. Fulmer and Johnny Majors turned in some impressive recruiting classes. But coaching matters, and there is nothing in Knoxville that concerns anyone else in the SEC.

Well, maybe Vandy is worried.