There have been a growing number of Tennessee fans hoping that former head coach Lane Kiffin will get some consideration for a return to Knoxville. There’s good reason for that hope, Kiffin has turned around an FAU program that hadn’t won more than three games in the previous three seasons. In Kiffin’s first season in Boca Raton, the Owls are 10-3, Conference USA champions, and bowl bound for the first time since 2008. According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel however, don’t expect new Tennessee athletic director Philip Fulmer to give Kiffin a call.
On Tuesday, Thamel reported on a few candidates being considered for the Tennessee job, some of which included Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. One name he also mentioned was Lane Kiffin, but based on what he has heard, Fulmer has no interest in giving Kiffin a second chance.
The only thing more certain than Tennessee not hiring Jon Gruden is that Fulmer won’t hire Lane Kiffin, as he was not impressed by Kiffin’s year in Knoxville. (He wasn’t the only one, but there’s a strong disdain there.)
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the FAU head man. Still, it should come as no surprise considering the history between the two parties.
Kiffin replaced Fulmer after he was fired back in 2008. In his lone season at Tennessee, he led the Vols to a 7-6 mark, and there were clearly signs of improvement. But Kiffin left Tennessee behind for greener pastures in LA, and some of the football program’s struggles in the last 7 years can be traced back to his tenure.
There is no doubt that a high profile program will pick up Kiffin eventually, as his surge at FAU is too hard to ignore. Just don’t expect that high profile program to be Tennessee.