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."