I've always wondered why anyone would hire Lane Kiffin and it started at Tennessee, at least in the college ranks. It all actually started in 2007 when Kiffin, USC's offensive coordinator, was hired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
I'm extremely ready for this opportunity," Kiffin told the Minneapolis Star Tribune for Tuesday's editions. "The last six years [at USC] have prepared me for this. I'm extremely excited to have the chance to restore this program back to where it's been before. - Minneapolis Star Tribune
The well-known Coaches Hot Seat website has a really good article on Lane Monte Kiffin and his meteoric rise in the coaching ranks. You can read it here, and the quote below provides some insight.
Alas, it didn't take long for a friend of ours that worked for the Oakland Raiders to call one of us and say (paraphrased since it was so long ago):
"This Kiffin kid is a real beaut. This could get real ugly before Kiffin is fired and I have no doubt Al will fire him eventually unless he wins a lot of football games."
Coaches Hot Seat: "What's the problem with Kiffin?"
Oakland Raiders Friend: "Let's just say I wouldn't have hired him to empty the garbage cans here but Al....."
Coaches Hot Seat: "Yes...Al.....?"
Oakland Raiders Friend: "Let's just leave it at I wouldn't have hired Kiffin to empty the garbage cans around here!"
You can read the whole article here.
Kiffin didn't last long. He was fired by Al Davis four games into the 2008 NFL season. So, Tennessee hires him a few months later. Coaches Hot Seat had some choice words at the time as you can read in their article.
Like Stoops, Kiffin brought in 51,000 for the Tennessee Spring Game. Kiffin, however, had already insulted some of the SEC coaches. He was not well-received in the SEC.
Volunteer fans loved him because of his brashness. After all, he brought in the Rivals #10 ranked recruiting class for 2009. The 7-6 record didn't seem to bother the Vol fans. After all, Phil Fulmer put up a 5-7 record in 2008.
Kiffin upset the fan base when he abruptly left for Southern Cal. Hundreds of Tennessee students rioted in their anger towards Kiffin. Now, they see his firing at USC as payback for getting Tennessee in the NCAA doghouse.
In the end, former Ole Miss head coach, Ed Orgeron, has taken the reins until Pat Hayden finds a new coach for the Trojans.