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University of Tennessee Hires Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin and his wife Layla

Lane Kiffin and his wife Layla

Dec. 1, 2008

Kiffin Announced as New Football Coach - 12/1 | Photos from Coach Kiffin's first day

The University of Tennessee today introduced Lane Kiffin as the 21st head football coach in school history during a press conference at Neyland Stadium's Wolf-Kaplan Center.

Kiffin joins the Vols as the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and former offensive coordinator at Southern California under head coach Pete Carroll.

"Over the past few weeks, we have been on the road meeting with prospective coaches and talking to some of football's most influential and knowledgeable players and coaches about the future of the Tennessee football program," said UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton. "We have had unbelievable interest from great coaches. When it was all said and done, we felt like Lane Kiffin was a perfect fit for Tennessee. He's energetic, charismatic, consumed with recruiting and has had a lifelong love affair with football."

Kiffin's deal is worth $2 million for the 2009 season and escalates to $2.75 million in 2014 for an average of $2.375 million a year over the length of the agreement. He will receive additional performance bonuses for achieving certain goals.

All funding for the athletics department, including coaches' salaries, is from monies generated by athletics' resources and not from appropriated funding by the state of Tennessee or other university-related revenues.

During his previous collegiate coaching stint with the Trojans, Kiffin demonstrated strong offensive prowess as an assistant from 2001-04. He was promoted to passing game coordinator in 2004 and served as offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for 2005 and 2006. USC led the nation in offense in 2005 and in both of his years as recruiting coordinator had the best recruiting classes in the nation. Those efforts helped the Trojans to back-to-back national college football championships and produced two Heisman Trophy winners -- Matt Leinart in 2004 and Reggie Bush in 2005.

A native of Bloomington, Minn., Kiffin is married to Layla Reaves Kiffin. They have two daughters: Landry (3) and Pressley (2), and are expecting a third child in January. His father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The elder Kiffin, a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach, served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s.

COMMENTS FROM TODAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE

Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton: "Thank you for attending today's landmark press conference, as we conclude what has been the first national search for a football coach in University of Tennessee history.

"Over the last several weeks, we've been on the road meeting with some of the nation's most dynamic coaches and talking with some of college and professional football's most influential and knowledgeable players and coaches about the future of the University of Tennessee football program.

"Throughout this process, I've been continually reminded what a truly special place this is -- by the incredible interest in the job, but also by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support surrounding our football program.

"Tennessee football history is made up of great coaches and great players who have shaped who we are today. Choosing a coach to fall in the line of Gen. Neyland, Bowden Wyatt, Doug Dickey, Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer, among others, is no small task. Today, we introduce the newest member of that coaching fraternity and the newest member of our Tennessee athletics family.

"During our process, Lane Kiffin stood out. He has great football bloodlines and has been part of a strong football tradition since birth. He played at Fresno State and began his coaching career there under Pat Hill and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who is now the coach of the Cal Bears. He worked under Sonny Lubick at Colorado State, and Tom Coughlin and Dom Capers of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then moved to Southern Cal for six seasons under Pete Carroll before becoming the youngest head coach in NFL history with the Oakland Raiders.

"His time at SC saw two national championships, and he served as both the recruiting coordinator and the offensive coordinator at SC as they had the most prolific offensive season in college football history. His time at Southern Cal helping to build a national championship program prepares him for the expectations we have here at the University of Tennessee.

"His time as head coach of the Raiders gave him the opportunity to oversee an entire organization from a different chair and most likely provided life experiences that will be invaluable in the rigors of the Southeastern Conference.

"When you actually spend time with Lane, you see his unbelievable energy and his incredible focus on the competitive nature of the recruiting process. He's charismatic, he has a plan for everything he is doing and he is a tireless worker. He will assemble a great staff, and we will support his efforts in doing that. He has made a significant impression on me in the short time I have known him, and I know he will have the same effect on the entire Volunteer family in short order.

"Lane is married to Layla, and they have two daughters -- Landry and Pressley -- and they are expecting their first son between now and signing day. How does Neyland sound for the first name? Please help me welcome our 21st head coach in University of Tennessee history, Lane Kiffin.

Head Coach Lane Kiffin: "Thank you, Mike. You know my resume better than I do. Thanks to everybody for coming out, especially some of our players in the back who have come down here. It was very exciting to meet with our players last night. I met with all of them for a while; I had the chance to talk with a number of them today, and I can tell they're excited about the direction we're going.

"I'd like to thank Dr. Petersen and Mike Hamilton and everyone else involved in the search. It was a great search, one that was very exciting. As Mike talked about, it took a while.

One of the things I was most excited about in meeting with Mike and everyone else in the search, I felt really good about Tennessee and really good about the relationship with Mike early on after the first meeting. I felt this was something that was probably going to happen. As Mike and I talked, one of the conversation's we had, I told Mike the last thing I want you to do is offer me the job right now. I don't know if that's what you want to do, but I don't want you to offer it to me. I want you to go out and interview every guy that's supposed to be the best in the world. What I want you to do is come back and say, 'I want you to be the head coach at the University of Tennessee. I know you can do a better job than anybody else.' You should never look back and see you missed something.

"That was a pretty special moment when Mike did that for me and my family. I'd like to thank all of my family, my mother, father, brother, sister, my wife Layla. I'd also like to thank a number of coaches who have been very influential on me throughout my career going all the way back to Jim Sweeney, then Pat Hill. Jeff Tedford was a very big influence on me as offensive coordinator, position coach and then coaching for him as well. Down to Tom Coughlin at Jacksonville and Dom Capers who I worked with there, on to USC with Pete Carroll and the great run there that we had, so many lessons learned throughout the six years and all the wins. I'd especially like to thank Al Davis for giving me an opportunity the first time I was a head coach. That's very special to me and very unique opportunity he provided me.

"I'd especially like to thank the former staff. I was able to meet with them last night. It was not an easy thing. A number of coaches we had to let go. That is not an indication at all of what I view of them as coaches. There's a direction to part of our staff; at some of the positions I know where I want to go. Last night, I wanted to make sure I handled that with class. The last thing I wanted to do was keep those guys around here knowing where I was going to go.

"I'd especially like to thank Coach Chavis. (He had) an unbelievable run with 20 years at this university and some of the best defenses that the SEC has ever seen. So to Coach Chavis and his staff, I'd like to thank you."

"The next guy, as you guys know, I view this guy as a legend in this profession, a guy that so many people have looked up to in Coach Fulmer. He's done an unbelievable job here and I can't even imagine what he's gone through giving 35 years of his life to this university. I'm extremely honored to follow him. I'm not trying to be him, all I'm trying to do is carry on some of the things he's done. In my opinion, the University of Tennessee football program wouldn't be anywhere near where it is today without Coach Fulmer. As long as I am here, as long as you guys will have me here, my arms will always be open to Coach Fulmer and his entire family. Our doors will be open because he is a special part of this university. There's no way we'd be here today without him.

"As far as recruiting, we've hit the ground running. I took the test a few days before I got hired here so that we could do that. Yesterday was the first day we could start calling guys, and we started knocking them out everywhere. This is very important for where we are right now. It was important to have a meeting with the team last night and touch those guys first so that they knew about this officially before you guys did. After that, it was right to recruiting.

"We are very excited to work with our returning players because we have a lot of very good returning players. The previous staff has put together a very good roster, but we've got to make it better. We've got to go out and get great players to work with us.

"There will not be anywhere that we go, anywhere that we're not supposed to go. We will go everywhere to find the best players in the United States, nowhere. We've got to find the best players and we've got to get them to come to the University of Tennessee so we can do this thing and make a run for a long, long time.

"As we're nationally recruiting, we'll never forget Tennessee. We've got to put a fence around the state of Tennessee. We've got to make it so that there is no reason a player from Tennessee should ever leave this state and go anywhere else. They need to be here playing for us and winning championships for the University of Tennessee. That will be our number one goal in recruiting, as well as going nationally.

"With that being said, the spring is going to be very, very big for our returning players. We'll have highly competitive practices that they'll be involved with and they've got to show us what they're going to do, because in the fall, the first shots that are going to come, we're going to give them to our newcomers. We've got to find out if the great players we go and recruit; can they help us right away? We're going to go find these players and put them right in, see what they can do, how far they can take us. It's very important for our returning players and when we add the new guys in the fall to give them a great shot to come together as a team.

"As far as the staff coming, be patient with us Tennessee. I know all of you want to see this done today and everybody in place. All of the internet boards will be happy. That's not the way it's going to be. We have to do this right. Mike and the entire athletic department have made a great contribution to make sure this happens. They've done a great job from the first day we met talking about the staff we want to put together for us to be able to win. We're going to do that, but it's going to take time. When it's all said and done, you'll be extremely happy with the staff that comes here. But give us time on it and understand that it's most important that we do it right, not that we do it fast.

"I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year. It will be a blast.

"That line was Mike's idea, by the way; all right, Urban?

"I want the Tennessee family to know this. This is what I'm going to give you. I'm rolling my sleeves up and going to work. I'm not promising you how many wins, how many championships. I can't do that. I don't know that. There are too many variables, but I can tell you this right now: No one is going to outwork us. No one is going to outwork me as a head coach and no one is going to outwork our staff that we put together. That's the promise I'm giving you, the wins will come after that. You're going to see it; you're going to feel it throughout the state. It starts today. It starts when this thing is done. I'm on a plane and I'm going to Memphis to see the No. 1 recruit. It starts today you're going to feel it.

"The last thing, I'd really like to thank some of the former players who have reached out in support of this decision throughout the last few days. Jim Haslam, Charlie Anderson, Tee Martin, Peyton (Manning), just to name a few of the guys that reached out. That's been very special. My wife and I have only been here 36 hours. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about it by any means, but I do know this: in 36 hours, the passion from the people here at this University and in the community, from the people I've run into-it's unbelievable.

"To walk in yesterday and from the janitor to the president, to feel the passion that they have for Tennessee football is special. It's something I'm going to understand. I get right now what I need to do. I have a plan for that and I understand that. I'm going to bring you guys with me. It's going to be something very special as we do this."

Lane Kiffin
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Lane Kiffin was named head coach for the University of Tennessee Volunteers football program on Nov. 30, 2008.

Kiffin joins the Vols as the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and former offensive coordinator at Southern California under head coach Pete Carroll.

During his previous collegiate coaching stint with the Trojans, Kiffin demonstrated strong offensive prowess as an assistant from 2001-04. He was promoted to passing game coordinator in 2004 and served as offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for 2005 and 2006. USC led the nation in offense in 2005 and in both of his years as recruiting coordinator had the best recruiting classes in the nation. Those efforts helped the Trojans to back-to-back national college football championships and produced two Heisman Trophy winners-- Matt Leinart in 2004 and Reggie Bush in 2005.

Kiffin began his coaching career at his alma mater, Fresno State, working with quarterbacks and wide receivers from 1997-98. He was an assistant at Colorado State in 1999, working with the offensive line, and made his first stop in the NFL as defensive secondary quality control coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000.

Kiffin was a quarterback at Fresno State for three seasons (1994-96) and earned his bachelor's degree there in 1998.

A native of Bloomington, Minn., Kiffin is married to Layla Reaves Kiffin. They have two daughters: Landry (3) and Pressley (2), and are expecting a third child in January. His father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The elder Kiffin, a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach, served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s.

SNAPSHOT OF KIFFIN'S CAREER

  • In Kiffin's three years as recruiting coordinator at USC, the Trojans had the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in college football each year.
  • In 2006, the Trojans finished first in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, averaging 142.8 yards per game, and produced two 1,000-yard receivers (Dwayne Jarrett - 1,105; Steve Smith - 1,083) and a 3,000-yard passer (John David Booty - 3,347).
  • In 2005, Kiffin was named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters and served as offensive coordinator of an offense that ranked in the top six nationally in every offensive category - including first in total offense (579.8 yards per game) and second in scoring offense (49.1) - and set Pac-10 records for total yardage, first downs, points scored, touchdowns and PATs. The Trojans, who scored 50 points a school-record seven times, won games by an average of 26.2 points. Kiffin's play-calling and offensive design enabled Bush to capture the 2005 Heisman Trophy and the Trojans to become the first school to have a 3,000-yard passer (Leinart - 3,815), a pair of 1,000-yard runners (Bush - 1,777, LenDale White - 1,319) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Jarrett - 1,274) in a season.
  • In 2004, Kiffin coached on a staff that led Southern California to its second straight national championship. He was in charge of a passing attack that helped Leinart win the Heisman Trophy with 3,322 yards passing and 33 touchdowns.
  • Kiffin mentored the Trojan wide receivers - including current Tennessee Titan's wideout Mike Williams, a consensus All-America first teamer and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2003, who set Southern California career (30) and season (16) touchdown reception records. Kiffin also coached the Denver Broncos' Keary Colbert, who set the Southern California career reception record (207) and was an NFL second-round pick, and Jarrett, who's in his second season with the Carolina Panthers.
  • In 2002, Kiffin coached the Southern California wide receivers that included Williams, who was Freshman All-America first teamer and the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, and Colbert, who combined with Williams to become Southern California's first pair of 1,000-yard receivers. He also coached Kareem Kelly, who was the Trojans career reception leader during 2002 and a 2003 sixth round NFL Draft pick by the New Orleans Saints.
  • Kiffin's bowl experience at USC includes coaching in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 2003 Orange Bowl, 2004 Rose Bowl, 2005 Orange Bowl (BCS Championship Game) and 2006 Rose Bowl (BCS Championship Game) and the 2007 Rose Bowl.

    WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT Lane Kiffin

    "Lane Kiffin has prepared himself through hard work and preparation and has become one of the brightest minds in football. He understands what it takes to reach a championship level and has the passion and work ethic to make it happen."
    Jeff Tedford, University of California

    "I have no doubt that Lane (Kiffin) will do great things at UT. He handled all of our national recruiting at USC and brought us great players during our championship seasons. While serving as our offensive coordinator, USC had the best offense in the history of football in 2005. The Tennessee fans and alumni will be very happy with the way Lane will embrace Coach Fulmer and the tradition at UT."
    Pete Carroll, University of Southern California

    "Coach Kiffin is a perfect fit. He brings a wealth of experience he's accumulated at a very young age. He has a brilliant football mind, and there's no doubt in my mind he's going to be successful.

    The University of Tennessee athletics program stands alone as far as our organization is concerned with Coach Fulmer's success, Coach Summitt's success and the future that's ahead of Coach Pearl. I'm a UT fan and have all the confidence in the world that Coach Kiffin will continue to carry on that tradition."
    Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans

     

     

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