Jan. 13, 2010
"Certainly, when I got on a plane yesterday in Nashville, Tenn., to head to Denver, Colo., for the day to meet with one of our major corporate partners, I never expected I'd be sitting here today under these circumstances. But I've found, as anything in life, you have those moments in time where you deal with change or adversity or opportunity and it's how you respond to those moments that ultimately matters.
"I got back here this morning at about 3:30, slept for about an hour or two and then got in here and been going full blast. I am really, to be honest with you, very disappointed for our student-athletes and for our fans that we are here and have to have this discussion. Our student-athletes have had to suffer through two changes in the head coaching position in football over the last 14 or 15 months. Let's not lose sight that in the end, we can have all the media here in this room, but it's really about the student-athletes in the end. These are young men who are going through impressionable times in their lives and for them to have this kind of change, while it may hurt here in the short term, they will find out that this is a time they will be able to look back on and gain valuable life lessons from it.
"I got in this morning and one of the first things I did was get our mid-year enrollees together to have a chance to visit with them. We have eight mid-year enrollees and I wanted to let them know what I want our fans to know--and that is this is a great football coaching job. Tennessee football is not going away. We have had unbelievable success for a number of years and we are going to continue to have great success in the months and years to come. That is a fact."
On the search
"I can assure you that just as our players slap that sign that they will give their all for Tennessee today, that is what we are doing right now. The search process has begun. It began as soon as I was notified of Coach Kiffin leaving for the University of Southern California yesterday afternoon.
"Most of you know that I have this feeling that you should always be prepared as an AD for any change that comes about. It is inevitable from time to time and that allowed us to get on the move very quickly and we are down that road."
"Don't like to put too many timetables on anything of this nature but everybody knows that we are about to hit a live recruiting period again and this is an absolutely critical time for our program as it relates to wrapping up recruiting and approaching signing day. We will work very diligently to bring closure to this process as quickly as possible so that we can bring the right head coach here for our student-athletes, for our university and for our fans. I would rather be a day late to ensure that we've got the right person. However, that being said and because of the work that has already been done and the work that is being done and the work that will be done, we are going to bring this to closure as quickly as possible to find the right person for The University of Tennessee."
On the events prior to Coach Kiffin's departure
"I've been asked by a couple people how these events transpired from my end of things. We talked to our coaches about expectations in our head coaches meeting and Coach Kiffin was not able to be there because, justifiably so, he was out on the road recruiting. As he came off the road recruiting, I told him I wanted to speak with him as early as possible and I had a chance to meet with him Saturday morning in his office and we talked about those issues as they pertained to that particular topic.
"At the same time, there was potential news of Coach Carroll leaving to go to the Seahawks. Given Lane's relationship with Coach Carroll, I had a pretty good assumption that he would know what the scenario was there. I asked him straight out what was happening with that and should that job become available, would he have any interest. He was very honest and forthright. He said while he was not looking to go anywhere, that this was an odd situation and if the job at Southern Cal became available he would have an interest in that--and I appreciate him saying that.
"Yesterday morning, he called me to let me know that he received a call from Mike Garrett, the athletic director at Southern Cal, and then a string of events occurred afterwards to which he then responded and took the job. For those fans who have asked was negotiation on our side as it related to Lane remaining our head coach--he did not ask for that. I specifically asked him, is that a matter of contract negotiations, do I need to be discussing your contract? As many of you know, he deferred his contract discussion as we came out of the regular season to finish up the recruiting season. He said it was not about the money; it was about that particular job and his interest in that particular job."
INTERIM HEAD COACH Kippy Brown TRANSCRIPT
"First of all, there has been a lot of gloom and doom around here. I don't buy into that. I came to Tennessee in 1983 and was on Coach Majors' staff for seven years. We went through some tough times but we won a lot of ball games and some SEC championships. One season we started the season 0-6 and then came back and won 15 out of the next 16 games and won an SEC championship.
"Then I left and went to pro football and came back to be an assistant head coach on Coach Fulmer's staff for two years. And we won ball games and competed for SEC championships. Before I left, I recruited a kid out of Dayton, Ohio, that I did not get to coach. But he ended up helping Tennessee win a national championship and that was Peerless Price. My point to all of that is that with all of the gloom and doom going around here, this is still Tennessee. This was Tennessee before I got here, it's Tennessee now and it will be Tennessee long after I am gone. That is special. It's not the coaches. It's the fan base, it's the institution and it's the players that make this place special. That's how I feel.
"We are going to make the best of this situation. We're going to have some recruits in this weekend and it's full speed ahead. Whoever Mike decides to go with, we'll make the best of it.
"I am glad to be here. I can't foresee the future or what's going to happen, but I am glad to be at Tennessee.