Lane Kiffin spent one season in Knoxville as the head coach at Tennessee before notoriously leaving for the same job at USC, earning the fury of Volunteers fans to this day.
With the status of current Volunteers coach Butch Jones up in the air and the job possibly opening again, would Kiffin be interested in heading back to Big Orange country? One college football analyst thinks so.
“I think Lane would crawl back to Knoxville,” ESPN’s Chris Low said on The Swain Event. “Oh yeah, I think he would in a heartbeat.”
The move would be Kiffin’s second in as many seasons, as he is currently in his first year at Florida Atlantic after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant at Alabama, where he learned under Nick Saban and partly rehabilitated his image after the fast departure from Knoxville and failure at Southern Cal.
“He’s probably better equipped to manage a program than the first time he was here. … I’m a Lane Kiffin fan, as big of a knucklehead as he is, and I’ll tell him that to his face. There is a lot of things he does well. He’ll surround himself with a good staff. He’s just got to be a lot more seasoned when it comes to managing a football team.”
The bigger question would be if Volunteers fans would accept him back and rally around Kiffin, who has spent the last several years trolling the Tennessee faithful with quotes and posts on Twitter.
With a program still looking to get back to the level of national prominence that has been missing since the glory days of Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee’s next hire will be crucial after missing on Derek Dooley, Butch Jones, and the first hiring of Kiffin. Anything but a home-run hire will keep the Volunteers at status quo.
Is Kiffin the man to lead the Volunteers back to respectability? It seems he would like the chance.