After just one roller coaster ride of a year at the University of Tennessee, Lane Kiffin is taking his clipboard and heading back to the West coast.
According to ESPN's Joe Schad, Kiffin (along with father and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and assistant head coach Ed Orgeron) have come to terms on a deal that will make him Pete Carroll's successor at the University of Southern California, a team that many believed had been on his "dream job" list due to his West coast ties.
This news comes as a shock to the college football world, many believing that Kiffin was the coach of the future for Tennessee. Kiffin, who named his newborn son Knox after being named head coach at Tennessee a little more than a year ago, was expected to lead the Volunteers out of the era of mediocrity and back to the SEC powerhouse they have been in the past.
Instead, these loyal fans, although some of the most hated in the country, got a year full of ups and downs and a tainted image thanks to some thieves and "hostesses."
Forever will Kiffin's name be linked to this dreadful year for the Tennessee Volunteers. It all started when he was hired, immediately taking shots at Urban Meyer's Florida Gators, the defending SEC and BCS National Champions.
He accused Meyer of violating NCAA rules in an effort to contact a recruit while on a different campus, however, that would violate not a NCAA rule, but an SEC rule. Nonetheless, Kiffin was forced to apologize for the accusations.
Needless to say, Kiffin has a tough time controlling his comments during the first months of his short tenure at Tennessee, getting himself into trouble from comments he made about recruits and other SEC schools a number of times.
Kiffin's tenure will also be remembered for the botched robbery attempt by three of his players: Nu'Keese Richardson (the player who was in the middle of Kiffin's accusations of Meyer), Janzen Jackson, and Michael Edwards. The robbery led to the arrest of the three young men and tarnished the image of what Kiffin was trying to build.
Another memory Tennessee fans can cherish from Kiffin's brief tenure in the SEC was the school's "hostess" scandal. Young female students who were hired to show recruits around and make them feel comfortable on visits and outside of visits, became a heated topic during the "Kiffin Era." While it may happen at other schools, Tennessee's image was further tarnished during the 2009 season due to the NCAA investigation which followed this stunning discovery.
The Tennessee fans will never forget the drumming they received in the Chick-Fil-A bowl on December 31, 2009, which just so happens to be the last game Lane Kiffin coached for the Volunteers. Virginia Tech was able to dominate the second half, with some help from Tennessee mistakes, and successfully put an exclamation at the disappointing season for the Tennessee faithful.
The final memory the Tennessee fans will have is the sour taste left on their tongue as they watched this coach build their hopes up in the 2009 off season, only to sprint out of town when his former employer came knocking.
Knowing a number of Tennessee fans, there will be a bitter taste left by a program desperately in need of a quick makeover. The pride instilled into fans of the Volunteers has been stepped on today by their most recent coach of all people.
Their former coach, which talked less than a year ago about where he was taking this program, made them believe he was there for the long haul. The former coach which couldn't wait to sing "Rocky Top" after his team defeated the "evil" Florida Gators, a dream which ended up being at least one year away, but a dream Kiffin has evidently given up on.
Today, Tennessee faithful will mourn the loss they have suffered and reflect on the seasons that could have been, but never was.
But I guarantee tomorrow, the Volunteers will be on the hunt for their next coach, one that will lead them back to glory and pride. A coach that will put the fire back into the program and hopefully stay for awhile.
But for now, I'm sure the Volunteers would just like to give Kiffin a nice, warm Southern talk about what he has done.
And I am positive they will not be thanking him for the memories anytime soon.