Jan. 2, 2009
Tennessee Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin introduced Ed Orgeron as assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach and Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator in a press conference Friday morning. Below are excerpts from the three coaches' comments.
Head Coach Lane Kiffin
"Good Morning. This is an extremely exciting day for Tennessee football. This took a long time to get done. As I said in our opening press conference, we're going to do this right, not fast. I said to bear with me. The two guys that were are going to present today for you to talk to are the best in the world at they do. The first guy I'm going to talk about is Ed Orgeron. It was extremely, extremely important to get Ed Orgeron for two main reasons. Number one, he's the best defensive line coach in the country, NFL or college. We are able to bring in somebody who has put a number of first-round picks into the NFL, whose coached guys, Freshman All-Americans, put them on the field right away and made them the best players they could be to get them ready for the day they had to go to the NFL. Number two: he's best recruiter anywhere, anywhere in the country, any conference. I don't know what more evidence you need than these two things. If you look at the SEC right now, one of the most talented teams in the SEC is Ole Miss. Ed Orgeron, as everyone knows here, put that team together and you see what's happening with that team right now.
"You see maybe on of the greatest runs in all of college football ever at Southern Cal right now. You saw it last night again. Ed Orgeron put that team together from the beginning, from the first day he was there. Even today, there are players--Mark Sanchez set a Rose Bowl record last night--that Ed Orgeron recruited out of high school.
"This is really important for me to bring Ed Orgeron up here. He is also our assistant head coach. This is somebody that when I have to go other places, when I have to be out recruiting, I have to deal with the media or our boosters, this is somebody that can run our program exactly the way that we need it run for it to be a national championship team. "
Assistant Head Coach Ed Orgeron
"It's a privilege to be able to represent the University of Tennessee and Lane Kiffin. When Lane was mentioned as a possibility for being the head coach at UT, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to join him. When he got the best defensive coordinator in the history of college football to join him in Monte Kiffin, I knew this was a place that I wanted to come.
"I have always looked at the University of Tennessee as one of the top five places in the country that you would want to coach or to play football. As the recruiting coordinator, I'm excited to have all the tools necessary to recruit the best players in the country, and we're going to start with the state of Tennessee. I can't wait to be in Memphis on Monday morning. Monte Kiffin and I are hitting the top players in the city of Memphis, working throughout the state of Tennessee, working across the country. I cannot imagine a player not wanting to be coached by Lane Kiffin. When you look at the Heisman Trophy winners that he coached and he recruited at the University of Southern California, and you look at Monte Kiffin and the great run that he had in the NFL, I think this is a big attraction for any player to come to the University of Tennessee.
"This is my second day on campus. My first day wasn't as pleasant as this one is, but in my second day I see the tremendous facilities and the tremendous commitment to winning. I'm proud to be here.
Head Coach Lane Kiffin
"The next guy that I'm going to bring up is an example of what I talked about the day that I got here. We're going to shoot so high in everything that we do: the way that we put our staff together, the way that we recruit. We did the same things with the way we went after the coaching staff. We just talked about Ed Orgeron. That was a very long, hard process. There's a reason for that. If it was an easy process to get him to come here, he wouldn't have been the right guy. It was hard because everybody else wanted him; he was drawn in so many different ways because he was so good.
"The next guy is Monte Kiffin. He spent 13 years as the defensive coordinator in Tampa. Eleven of those 13 years, they were in the top 10 in defense in the NFL. That's never been done before in the history of the National Football League. We talk about doing things better here than they've ever been done before. If we're going to do that, if we're going to sell that to a kid and sit in his living room and tell him that he's going to get coached here better than anyone in college or the NFL, the only way that we could do that is to put these two guys together. If there is any defensive player in America--they're going this week together--when they sit on that couch in front of the mother and father and high school coach and the kid and say you will get coached for three or four years better than you'll get coached anywhere in college football or in the NFL, they can say that. No one else at any other school can say what these guys can say.
"This was a very important hire. He'll be the defensive coordinator and run the whole defense, and I know the way that our defense will play under him because I've seen it for years and years. Anybody can do something really well for a short amount of time. Anybody can all-of-the-sudden make a run and play good defense for a year and lead the NFL in defense. Can you do it for a long period of time though? The only way is if you are a great coach and you know how to coach your coaches and your players. In that run of 13 years, those players were different; those assistant coaches were different. Four of those assistants went on to be NFL head coaches on his defensive staff alone. There was one thing that stayed consistent: Monte Kiffin.
"It's very important for us to be able to introduce Monte Kiffin as the new defensive coordinator for Tennessee football."
Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin
"Whatta you say? I look pretty good in this orange tie? Believe it or not, at my high school in Lexington, Nebraska--I saw a sign the other day that said Lexington, Tennessee--our colors were orange and white. There you go. Let me tell you this. They say, `You're here because of your son, Lane,' and that's true, but let me tell you why else I'm here.
"I was born and raised in Nebraska. I played there and coached there 11 years. They bleed red. There are two things in Nebraska, flat land and a football team. You know what there is in Tennessee? Well, there are more than two things; there are some hills. But there's a heck of a football team and a great history: the Tennessee Volunteers. Nebraska, as awesome as it is and with all due respect to my alma mater, there were sellouts year after year of home games, 76,000 people. Then I went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a couple of stops along the way. I've been to some pretty darn good places. I spent 13 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, 65,000 people sold out. You can't buy a ticket and there are thousands of people on the waiting list.
"Then I go to the Super Bowl--I don't mean to be boastful--in 2002 in San Diego, California. How many people were there? Sixty-five thousand people and they looked awesome.
"But now you know what, I've never coached in a place that had 107,000 people every Saturday afternoon at one o'clock p.m. eastern standard time or whenever that kickoff is. You're talking about big-time football.
"I'm here, yes, because of my son, but my son had other opportunities. He was not offered any other head jobs. We talked about being together at some time. He interviewed at the University of Washington. I don't know that he was offered the job; I don't believe that he was. They hired Steve Sarkisian, who is a great coach. I talked to Lane at the time. He asked, `Dad, what do you think about the University of Washington?' I said, `Let me tell you something, Lane. Have you looked at a map? I live in Tampa and you're in Seattle. You can't go any further unless you go to the University of Vancouver. Am I going to take a job at the University of Washington?' He knew that.
"I came here because of Tennessee football, and my son. On top of that, we've got Ed Orgeron. I watched that game last night. You want to see talent? On that field last night it looked like the Pro Bowl. Those guys will all be pros.
"Lane's mentor in recruiting was a guy named Ed Orgeron, who was the recruiting coordinator for four years before Lane took over for two years. When you put these two guys together, they got it.
"I want to tell you that it's exciting to be here. This facility--Lane and Bruce (Warwick) showed me around--this place is awesome. Then I hear that we're breaking ground on a new facility. I went to Mike Hamilton and I told him that I called this recruit and told him that he had to come and see this facility, besides that we're breaking ground on a new facility shortly and it'll be done in six months. So we better start digging here pretty quick.
"It's great to be here."