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Posted Jan 16, 2009

The AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee has brought big changes to several key SEC Coaching staffs.

By: BE Coleman

The AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee has brought big changes to several key SEC Coaching staffs. The most notable gainer is Tennessee, and the biggest loser may be South Carolina.

Tennessee is busy putting together the most notable coaching staff in the history of the tradition rich football program that spans 118 years. The Vols began by hiring Lane Kiffin on December 1st. Since that time, Kiffin has kept his pledge made on day one that there, "is no where he wont go to get the best," for the program.

Kiffin began by hiring David Reaves and Mark Smith from South Carolina, James Cregg from the Oakland Raiders, and Monte Kiffin from Tampa Bay. He then signed up Ed Orgeron from the New Orleans Saints as assistant head coach and picked up Jim Chaney from the St Louis Rams.

That was only the beginning, the Kiffin's have now lured LB Coach Lance Thompson away from Nick Saban and Alabama, Thompson coached with Saban at LSU previously. On Friday, it was learned Kiffin has hired Auburn RB Coach Eddie Gran.

Gran was well documented by the Tennessee sports media for having three interviews with Kiffin. The move all but removes Stan Drayton from Florida as the Vols running back coach.

There has been no official release by UT upon Drayton's current status. News sources are now releasing data that Kiffin has completed the UT staff by hiring Willie Mack Garza from North Dakota State and a longtime Orgeron assistant, in Frank Wilson from Southern Miss.

Spurrier Loses Fifth Coach

It has been going downhill for Steve Spurrier since being misinformed by the Carolina press that Lane Kiffin had not taken his NCAA recruiting test on day one. On Thursday, Spurrier saw yet another coach jump off the Gamecocks ship.

Robert Gillespie, a former player at Florida for Spurrier has taken the running backs position up at Oklahoma State, which was left vacant by former Tennessee RB Coach Trooper Taylor, who is now at Auburn with Gene Chizik.

O-Line coach John Hunt, QB Coach David Reaves, Secondary Coach Ron Cooper and now strength coach Mark Smith have all departed Columbia.

Alabama Is Not Immune

Nick Saban has taken some serious hits the last two weeks since the Crimson Tide were pushed up and down the field by Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Last week Saban saw D-C Kevin Steele depart for Clemson, now Thompson to Tennessee.

LSU Fans Are Happy

They are happy in the Bayou with John Chavis' appointment by Les Miles after Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory parted ways with the Tigers coaching staff. The noted coaching move was expected after the Tigers fell to ninth in the SEC for total defense in 2008.

Auburn Fans Still Concerned

It is still taking time for Auburn fans to warm up to the idea of hiring Gene Chizik by the Tigers administration. Chizik has put together a bigger name staff than he himself presents after posting a 5-19 record at Iowa State.

The Citadel Broadcasting's Sports Animal put the question to me this morning on the "Hawks Nest," segment hosted by Kenny Hawkins of WJHL and Bobby Rader as to why a Charlie Strong, a Turner Gill or perhaps Rodney Garner who were proven, had not been given the job.

Strong went public this past week stating he personally feels it is because his wife is white, and he is black. Strong, one of the most prolific coaches in all of football the last 25 years, says he feels it is a racial decision by university administrations for not hiring him.

Former Tiger alum and NBA great Sir Charles Barkley said he feels that "race was the number one factor," in Gill not getting the job. Both Gill and Garner interviewed for the job.

Georgia Fans Thankful

Lane Kiffin put the fear into the hearts of Georgia fans last week when he nearly lured Rodney Garner back to Tennessee. Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt wasted no time in keeping the Junkyard Dogs longtime assistant in Athens.

Garner one of the SEC's most prolific recruiters gave serious consideration upon a return back to Knoxville. Georgia was able to put the dog to bed when Garner announced that he would stay.

Older Stories:
Spurrier – South Carolina Now Banned , 1-11-08
Tennessee Is Completing Coaching Staff , 1-2-09
Kiffin Announces Destination Is Knoxville ,12-14-08
Desperation Time On The Plains,12-13-08
Fulmer Decides Against Presidential Position ,12-12-08
Mississippi State Hires Gators Dan Mullen, 12-10-09
Berry, Tebow SEC AP Players Of Year ,12-08-08
Phillip Fulmer Accepts Position With UT,12-08-08
Tubberville's Mom Says Son Was Fired, 12-08-08
Blog...Coaching SEC Football Is Tough,12-5-08
Blog...SEC Championship Game Implications, 12-4-08
UT Selects Lane Kiffin Officially 11-30-08
Sources: Lane Kiffin Hired At Tennessee , 11-28-08
Blog...Clawson - Never Was Any Confidence,11-24-08
Blog...UT Plans To Name Coach Next Month,11-20-08
Phillip Fulmer Must Step Down At UT 11-04-08
Phillip Fulmer Steps Down At UT 11-03-08
Blog...Old Nemesis Standing In Door 11-03-08
Blog...For Spurrier Game Is Big,10-30-08
Blog...SEC has 6 Mid-Season All Americans, 10-16-08
Blog...Ice Could Thin Under Fulmer,10-15-08
CBS Continues Slamming Door On ESPN, 10-1-08
Blog...Vols Bowl Season In Jeopardy Now , 9-30-08
Blog...Another Ego Take Down In Knoxville ,9-21-08
No Deposition For Fulmer , 9-18-08
Blog...Tennessee Pass Game Important, 9-18-08
Blog...Gator Special Teams Makes The Breaks, 9-16-08
Blog...Carolina Game A Bloodbath Says Mark Richt 9-10-08
Blog...Vandy's Bobby Johnson Should Get Notice, 9-05-2008
Blog...Fulmer: Take Care of Tennessee 1st, 9-02-08
Blog...Is ESPN Going From Bad To Worse 8-29-08
Blog...Mounting Gator Injuries Bring Questions , 8-17-08
SEC – CBS Sports Ink 15 Year Deal, 8-14-08
Blog...SEC East Scrimmages - Injury Glance, 8-12-08
Blog...The SEC Weekly Digest, 8-7-08
Blog ... Tennessee Opens Practices, 8-4-08
Blog ... Georgia's Richt Wants To Quell Hype, 8-4-08
Blog...Spurrier 100% Southern Fried , 8-2-08
Blog ... The SEC Weekly Digest, 7-27-2008
Blog...Fulmer Says "It's All Crap!" , 7-25-2008
Blog ... Fulmer Mystery Subpoena Solved, 7-24-2008
Blog... LSU – Calm Before The Storm, 7-23-2008
Blog...Tebow Mania Begins Now, 7-23-2008
Blog...Mississippi State Uprising?, 7-23-2008
SEC Coaches Tap Seven Players, 7-21-2008
Blog...The SEC Weekly Digest, 7-12-2008
Blog...Who Is In Charge Of The Zoo?, 7-10-2008
SEC Running Backs Are Running Strong, 7-1-2008
Blog ... Tennessee Top 10 Program Wins, 6-22-2008
Nine Conference Games Makes BCS Sense, 6-10-2008

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