Report: Lane Kiffin to be the next head coach at Tennessee

ESPN.com is reporting that former Oakland Raiders’ head coach Lane Kiffin is heading to the University of Tennessee.

Kiffin, 33, will be making his college head coaching debut in succeeding Phillip Fulmer, who will coach his last game for the Vols on Saturday.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton denied reports on Wednesday that Kiffin had been offered a contract. But Kiffin has been at the forefront of the Vols’ search for some time.

Part of the holdup is that Tennessee didn’t want to do anything officially this week that would take away from Fulmer’s final game Saturday against Kentucky. Fulmer was fired by Hamilton on Nov. 2 and allowed to finish out the season. He’s been at Tennessee as a player, assistant coach and head coach for 35 years.

The university has dubbed Saturday’s game “Phillip Fulmer Appreciation Day” at Neyland Stadium in celebration of his 17-year tenure.

One of the big draws with Kiffin was the staff that he’ll potentially be able to put together. He’s talked with his father, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, about joining him at Tennessee. The elder Kiffin is considered one of the foremost defensive minds in football.

Outside of drawing recruits with his NFL resume, I’m not sure Kiffin is a great fit at Tennessee. But the Vols are in major need of an offensive facelift, which is supposed to be (read: supposed to be) Kiffin’s specialty.

How huge would it be if Lane could convince papa Monte to come up from Tampa and join him? Monte Kiffin’s defenses are always so underrated and he’s easily one of the best schemers in the NFL. It’s doubtful he would leave the Bucs, but one would have to imagine that the temptation to join his son would be strong.

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