Sallee: Kiffin and the Tennessee Issue
Former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin
Former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin
Posted Feb 23, 2011

CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee looks at the Tennessee sanctions under Lane Kiffin's watch.

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"It's a one-year membership to the ‘Jelly of the Month Club'."

"Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year."

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton must be familiar with that famous quote from Christmas Vacation, because his decision to hire Lane Kiffin has certainly had an impact on his athletic program – and it appears to be lasting longer than a year. These allegations should cost Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton his job. After all, he's the one that got the Vols into this mess.

Hire a basketball coach that's become more of a punch line than a leader? Check.

Run off a legendary football coach? Check.

Replace him with an upstart coach that has never deserved any of the jobs that he's received? Check.

Failure to monitor both coaches, and ultimately get hit with department-wide allegations? Check.

Most AD's would be long gone after one or two of those missteps…but not at Tennessee. Some say Hamilton's future is tied to basketball coach Bruce Pearl's, and others say it's tied to second-year football coach Derek Dooley's. As a result of these allegations and eventual sanctions, Hamilton should be fired on the spot. It's actually a wonder that he made it this far. Under his direction, Tennessee has regressed from perennial SEC football power to an SEC afterthought, and the roots of the regression can be traced directly to the decisions Mike Hamilton has made as AD.

There's no doubt that Kiffin (and Pearl) will be the scapegoat. That's understandable, considering that Kiffin has become Public Enemy No. 1 in Knoxville, and it's pretty easy to criticize the boy-wonder. But Hamilton should be held just as, if not more accountable for the downfall of the Tennessee football program. He may have hired the right guy with Derek Dooley, but the sanctions these allegations and eventual sanctions will further hamstring an already sputtering football program.

2010/2011 Off-Season Column Archive:
Kiffin and the Tennessee Issue – February 23, 2011
Six SEC East Spring Storylines – February 17, 2011
CFN Analysis – The SEC Schedule – February 10, 2011
Ealey Suspension Leaves Georgia In A Bind – February 9, 2011
SEC Signing Day Review – February 3, 2011
CFN Analysis – Signing Day 2011 – February 2, 2011
Dream Team Won't Save Richt – January 31, 2011
Five Thoughts On Kragthorpe – January 24, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC West Rankings – January 23, 2011
LSU Hires OC Four Years Too Late – January 20, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC East Rankings – January 19, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cam Turns Pro – January 14, 2011
BCS National Championship Review – January 11, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cotton Bowl – January 8, 2011
Five Thoughts On Why Auburn Wins – January 7, 2011
Five Thoughts On Dan Quinn – January 5, 2011
Tuesday Question: Should Rich Rod Be Fired – January 4, 2011
Five Thoughts on Charlie Weis – January 4, 2011
CFN Analysis: Charlie Weis as the Florida OC – January 3, 2011
CFN Analysis: Outback Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Gator Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Capital One Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Liberty Bowl – December 31, 2010
CFN Analysis: Music City Bowl – December 30, 2010
End Of The Season Accountability – December 27, 2010
Pryor Can't Be Compared To Newton – December 23, 2010
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 19, 2010
Malzahn Makes The Right Move – December 14, 2010
Five Thoughts on Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Florida Hires Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Cam's Heisman Landslide – December 11, 2010
Five Thoughts On Urban Meyer – December 9, 2010
Meyer Leaves Legacy, Question Marks – December 8, 2010

Click here for the 2010 regular season archive

Click here for the 2010 Three & Out archive