Even though he’s coached zero games as the Vols coach and been on the job for only about 2 ½ months, new Tennessee Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin has already managed to anger Urban Meyer, Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier. On Friday, Kiffin made another misstep, resulting in Tennessee reporting a third secondary recruiting violation since Kiffin’s hiring on December 1, 2008.
In a radio interview with WNML-AM 990 The Sports Animal in Knoxville, Tenn., Kiffin mentioned high school running back Bryce Brown by name, which is prohibited by the NCAA if the player is unsigned. Brown, who remains unsigned despite graduating early from East High School in Wichita, Kan., is the nations’ top running back prospect and second overall prospect according to Scout.com.
It’s just another incident in a tumultuous off-season for Kiffin.
On Friday, my colleague Phil Guidry wrote about Kiffin’s mix-up with Georgia head coach Mark Richt over wide receiver recruit Marlon Brown. In that incident, Kiffin stated that the reason Brown, who is from Memphis, left the state of Tennessee in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs was because his grandmother didn’t like Knoxville.
Earlier in the week, Tennessee self-reported Kiffn’s first two secondary recruiting violations, the staging of a fake news conference for nine recruits on official visits to Tennessee and the use of a fog machine for uncommitted recruits to run through as they entered Neyland Stadium.
Just last week, Kiffin falsely accused Florida head coach Urban Meyer of cheating when Meyer, according to Kiffin, repeatedly called recruit Nu’Keese Richardson on the telephone while Richardson was on his official visit to Knoxville. Calling recruits while they are on official recruiting trips to other schools is not a violation. The transgression by Kiffin earned him a public reprimand by SEC commissioner Mike Slive and a stern response from Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley.
Kiffin is certainly a departure from the publically calm demeanor of former Vols coach Phillip Fullmer. However, he’s dangerously close to crossing the line from being eccentric, to being laughable. One thing is certain, he’s sure giving radio shows and message boards plenty to talk about during the off-season. And for that, Mr. Kiffin, we thank you.
What are your thoughts on Kiffin’s missteps since being hired? E-mail me
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