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Reactions around the Web to Kiffin's departure from Tennessee, hunt for new coach

Staff Report • Jan 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM

The "Lane Train" has prematurely pulled out of Knoxville, and the Internet is abuzz with fallout, reaction -- and the hunt for a new head coach at the University of Tennessee.

Texas coordinator Muschamp at top of Vols' list

Chris Low of ESPN.com reports Tennessee's top target to replace Lane Kiffin is Texas defensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp, according to several people close to the situation.

Muschamp was also high on the Vols' list when they hired Kiffin, but Texas took him to nearly $1 million per year and also gave him the coach-in-waiting title for when Mack Brown retires.

Other possible coaching candidates

WRCB TV has compiled a list of other candidates to replace Kiffin, adding their compilation is pure speculation.

Along with Muschamp, WRCB lists former Tennessee offensive coordinator and current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, TCU head coach Gary Patterson, Houston Nutt of Ole Miss and former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach -- recently fired for his alleged mistreatment of a player.

Former Tampa Bay Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden -- once a graduate assistant at Tennessee, with a wife having ties to Knoxville -- rounds out the list.

Fulmer "PO'd" by Kiffin's departure

ESPN.com reports Fulmer wasn't taking any joy in Kiffin's sudden departure, especially since national signing day is only three weeks away.

"I'm like any Vol and as disappointed and PO'd as anybody else at what's happened," said Fulmer when contacted Tuesday night.

Junior defensive end Ben Martin was also reportedly seen running across the street outside Tennessee's sports complex yelling, "Somebody needs to go give Phil [Fulmer] his job back." Another player leaving the meeting with Kiffin bellowed, "They're nothing but a bunch of traitors."

Sources Say Kiffin Never Embraced Tennessee

Columnist and author Clay Travis blogs that just a few months after Kiffin's tenure began at Tennessee, at least 20 televisions in the Neyland-Thompson sports complex were running loops of stellar plays featuring USC athletes.

"They'd replaced our highlight video from the past season with Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Dwayne Jarrett from USC," said Vols senior center Josh McNeil. "I was like, 'Man, I know we were 5-7 last year, but this is Tennessee. Right beside our national title trophy? Come on, man.'"

"I was thinking, 'Damn, Jamal Lewis went here. Travis Henry went here. It ain't like we never had any running backs of our own.'"Orgeron telling UT enrollees not to go to class

Dave Hooker, of GoVolsXtra, writes that former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron has contacted multiple UT mid-term enrollees and encouraged them not to attend class today. That's so they can they can easily leave UT and enroll at Southern California, multiple sources told the News Sentinel.Recruiting class taking big hits with Kiffin's departure

GoVolsXtra writers Dave Hooker and Josh Ward report that Tennessee's once heralded 2010 recruiting class in now in tatters.

Linebacker Michael Taylor of Atlanta Westlake High School decommitted from UT and is pledging to Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Taylor was the MVP of the recent Under Armour All-America game and was the first to publicly change his mind.

Several South Carolina newspapers have reported that defensive end Brandon Willis of Byrnes High School in South Carolina has once again changed his mind and will leave UT. Henry County (Ga.) wide receiver Markeith Ambles, another All-American Bowl participant, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is considering following Kiffin to Southern Cal.

More decommits are expected.

Summitt on Kiffin: 'You only want people who want to be here'

GoVolsXtra also reports women's basketball coach Pat Summitt was not surprised but was disappointed in learning that Lane Kiffin had resigned as football coach.

"You only want people who want to be here," Summitt said Wednesday. "I understand the ties (to USC) but why move your whole family here and leave?"

"Even though he was here just over a year," Summitt said that she got to know Kiffin and said that she would trade text messages with him after games.

Kiffin T-shirts heading to Haiti

The Knoxville New Sentinel's Josh Flory urges Vols fans not burn their Kiffin-related gear, but send it to someone who needs it.

Following Lane Kiffin's unexpected resignation, some fans have apparently taken to burning Kiffin-related T-shirts. But Dan Burks, co-owner of the West Knoxville apparel store Hound Dogs, has a better idea.

Burks said Wednesday that any customer who brings in an "It's Time" T-shirt can get 20 percent off the purchase of a new shirt. Burks said he'll ship the old shirts to Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake on Tuesday.

Lane Kiffin: a lightweight for USC's heavyweight program

While Big Orange Country fumes over Kiffin and his staff turning their backs on Tennessee, some columnists in Southern California are equally disappointed in Lane's return to USC.

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times asks what USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett is thinking? A program that defines itself by victories over UCLA just signed a guy who was out coached by UCLA's Rick Neuheisel just four months ago, Kiffin's Tennessee team losing to the Bruins in Knoxville.

A program that defines itself in consistency of leadership just acquired a guy who walks out of a Tennessee program after only one season.

A program that covets an NFL pedigree just added a guy who was 5-15 with the Oakland Raiders in his only NFL head-coaching experience.

Garrett puts out USC fire with gasoline in Kiffin hire

Dennis Dodd, of CBSsports.com, joined in on the assault on Southern Cal's Garrett, referring to him as, "Bozo the AD."

Mike Freakin' Garrett hired Lane Freakin' Kiffin? One is a recluse. The other tried to wreck Urban Meyer. One fiddled while O.J. Mayo earned -- about $20,000 in improper benefits by one estimate. The other led with his mouth.

Can they win together? Not likely. Not because Kiffin can't, but because Garrett probably won't be around to see it.

Maybe Al Davis was right about Lane Kiffin

Dave Curtis, of The Sporting News, writes that listening to Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis may have been the right move.

As the Lane Kiffin-Oakland Raiders-Tennessee Vols shenanigans unfolded a little more than a year ago, Davis hammered his former coach and capped a public rant with telling words: "I picked the wrong guy."

Now Davis can welcome Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton to his Kicked-aside-by-Kiffin club (time to make T-shirts, boys). And given Kiffin's record, it might not be long before the decision-makers at Southern Cal sign up for membership, too.

TN lawmakers ax Kiffin resolution in mock vote

According to the Associated Press, Tennessee lawmakers are resoundingly rejecting their customary annual resolution to honor the football coach of the University of Tennessee.

Republican House Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton today asked members of the chamber to hold a voice vote on whether to congratulate Lane Kiffin for his year of service in charge of the Volunteers.

The response? A unanimous: "No!"

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