Monday, December 1, 2008

Lane Kiffin Introduced as Vols Coach

Lane Kiffin was introduced as the 21st head football coach at the University of Tennessee today during an afternoon press conference at Neyland Stadium.

Kiffin covered a number of topics ranging from Eric Berry to his new coaching staff in the press conference, but summed up his message with a promise that “no one will outwork us, no one will outwork me.”

Before the press conference UT released details about Kiffin’s new contract that runs through 2014 with an average yearly salary of 2.375 million dollars. That’s roughly the same as men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and about half a million dollars less than Phil Fulmer made for the 2008 season.

Kiffin was joined by his wife Layla, who is eight months pregnant with the couple’s third child and after the press conference Kiffin said that Pearl had already been recruiting he and his wife to buy the house across the street from his in the Gettysvue neighborhood.

Though vague with the details, Kiffin did indicate that none of the current defensive assistants would be retained and that the process to replace them was underway. Four other current assistants are being kept on board for now to assist with recruiting while he finalizes his coaching staff, according to Kiffin.

As rumors swirl about Kiffin’s father, Monte, the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, joining him in Knoxville Kiffin himself dodged questions on the subject because of the contractual obligations of other coaches and asked for the patience of Tennessee fans.

Kiffin left plenty of room for optimism on the subject of a putting together a winning coaching staff by saying, “Mike (Hamilton)and the entire athletic department have made a great contribution to make sure this happens.”

“When it’s all said and done you will be extremely happy with the staff that comes here,” added Kiffin.

Kiffin spent most of his time talking about recruiting and even mentioned that he was boarding a plane headed to Memphis after the press conference to meet with a top recruit. “We have got to go out and get great players. We will go everywhere to find the best players in the United States,” said Kiffin about their current recruiting efforts.

He also expressed a desire to “put a fence around the state of Tennessee” and “make it so there is no reason that a player from the state of Tennessee would leave this state and go anywhere else.”

Kiffin has firsthand experience with the Vols’ losing top-level instate talent as he was the recruiting coordinator at Southern Cal responsible for signing All-America wide receiver Patrick Turner out of Goodpasture High School in Middle Tennessee in 2004.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Kiffin was very gracious towards outgoing head coach Phil Fulmer and his family, calling him “a legend in this profession” and saying that he is “extremely honored to follow him.”

Kiffin said when the time is right he plans to talk to Fulmer and looks forward “to developing that relationship.” He also said that he would like to “use him (Fulmer) as much as possible, as much as he’s willing to help us.”

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