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Kiffin worst of bad coaches
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Forsyth County News
Where have all the good coaches gone?

Oh, they’re still out there. It’s just that the rats monopolize the news. Which, in turn, leads us to believe that the entire profession has turned sour.

Not so. I think. I hope.

But you have to keep convincing yourself against the barrage of negative news the malignant minority foists upon us.

Guys like Mark Mangino, late of Kansas. Perhaps the best coach in Kansas history. Certainly the biggest. Yet he lost his job last fall because of his treatment of his players. The lads he recruited to play for him. Allegedly, not in public but in front of the entire team, he would berate, embarrass, and humiliate certain players.

Guys like Jim Leavitt, late of South Florida. The coach who started the Bulls program. From scratch. Literally. In a little single-wide trailer 14 years ago. Leavitt was the USF program.

Until one particularly exasperating first half last fall, which caused Leavitt to use the halftime break to grab a player by the throat and slap his face. Allegedly. In front of the whole team.

Leavitt has brought litigation to get his old job back, despite the university hiring Skip Holtz last week to take over the program. Leavitt says the accusations are false. The university says his story is uncorroborated by any witnesses.

Or, guys like Mike Leach, late of Texas Tech. Allegedly, Leach felt that the best treatment for one of his players suffering from a concussion was isolation in a storage facility. Of course, Leach denies the portrayal of his coaching technique as Neanderthal.         

Of course, a lawsuit is now in progress. Of course, this is now another situation where no one wins: not coach, not university, and certainly not players.

And that no win-no win-no win- situation brings us to one Lane Kiffin, late of the University of Tennessee. Another shining example of the depths to which the college coaching profession can sink.

When Pete Carroll left his cushy job at Southern Cal for pro riches-or was he leaving before the NCAA hammered SC for “lack of institutional control”?-despite the fact that he had already failed as a head coach in the NFL, Southern Cal athletic director Mike Garrett did the only logical thing he could do.

He hired another NFL failure as coach, one who also had the NCAA dusting for prints before he skedaddled out of Knoxville.

Sometimes the world has a perfect symmetry, doesn’t it?

Kiffin was in such a rush to reach La La Land that he overlooked notifying his assistant coaches of his pending move. Including his own brother-in-law.

Now, I ask you: who would want their son’s life entrusted to this clown?

“That’s right,” David Reaves, the Vol’s quarterbacks coach, told Ray Glier of the New York Times last week, in confirmation of the story. Nor did Kiffin have the courtesy, or decency, to call Lance Thompson, his linebackers coach.

“If that’s how people want to conduct their business, fine,” Thompson told Glier.  “He got the job he wanted. It is what it is for him. Business.”

Just as disturbing were the depths to which assistant coach Ed Orgeron sunk. Kiffin did notify Orgeron of the job change, since Kiffin is taking Orgeron with him. Meanwhile, Orgeron busied himself contacting Tennessee recruits and notifying them of the change of venue.

“I did call recruits to give them suggestions,” Orgeron told Mark Kriegel of Fox Sports. “I always try to guide them in the right direction.  I inform them. I give them the information I believe is correct.”

When Kriegel contacted Kiffin about Orgeron’s apparent unethical behavior, Kiffin responded that he hadn’t spoken with Orgeron. One wonders what they did on that cross country flight together en route to their introductory press conference in Los Angeles?

A third-party account arose from Gary Willis, whose son, Brandon, had been scheduled to enroll early at Tennessee.

“They called and offered him a scholarship to Southern Cal,” Willis told Jim Halley of USA Today. “I told them, ‘If I can’t trust you at Tennessee, I can’t do Southern Cal, because if somebody offered you more money, you would get up and move again.’”

Makes you wonder how Kiffin keeps getting hired. Can’t anybody see through his act? He’s even done the impossible. He’s proven Al Davis right.

Yes, Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders. The man thought to be out of his mind for the bizarre fashion in which he fired Kiffin in October, 2007. Among other things, Davis called Kiffin “a flat-out liar” who was “bringing disgrace to the organization.” When he fired Kiffin,
Davis famously declared, “It hurts because I picked the guy. I picked the wrong guy.”

Davis repeated his allegations in a June 8, 2009 statement regarding Kiffin’s hiring at Tennessee: “Lane Kiffin is a flat-out liar. He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, and he lied to the media. He will try to destroy that university like he tried to destroy the Raiders.”

So now its Southern Cal’s turn. Maybe there’s room on the staff for Mangino, Leavitt and Leach.