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Loyalty Is A Two Way Street, Vols

January 14, 2010

My gut reaction to the Lane Kiffin debacle was, “Man, what a dirtbag.”  The riots in Knoxville over Kiffin’s decision to leave UT after only one (mediocre) season seemed justified in the way that only righteous sports indignation can.

Unfortunately, this indignation is of the self-righteous variety.  Vols fans talk about loyalty now, but what about Phil Fullmer?  The guy brought you Peyton Manning and a national championship only 10 years before his forced resignation.  But one losing season and you become the Delilah to his, admittedly portly, Samson (ok it’s a poor analogy).  What about the 85-41 record he compiled in the years after the championship, including a 12th ranked season the year before his firing?

No, the humiliation of once missing a bowl game in a conference stacked with premier teams is enough to erase 16 years of dedication to the school, along with it the credibility and stability in recruiting the sports media now says Kiffin has robbed Tennessee of.

This is why coaches owe nothing to the programs they are hired to lead.  Similar fates awaited Larry Coker and Lloyd Carr despite their dominance in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Why would any coach wait around when the noose is dangling over his head?

So I don’t want to hear about loyalty from boosters and disgruntled fans.  If you wanted loyalty above results, you wouldn’t have chosen a mercenary gunning for national media prestige. When you find your team near the bottom of the SEC East again this upcoming fall and you want to point the finger at your disloyal former coach, remember one thing: you deserved each other.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brogles permalink
    January 14, 2010 5:10 pm

    Fulmer deserved to get fired, 2 losing seasons in 3 years, one of which we were preseason ranked #2. Those came after 7 years of mediocrity after we won the National Championship. While I can’t blame Kiffin for leaving it’s upsetting that someone would go the distance to give his new son the middle name of “Knox” only to leave a year later.

    In a side note, it’s heavily rumored Phil Fulmer will get the athletic director job after we fire Mike Hamilton for this whole debacle.

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