The front page of the Palm Beach Post’s sports section had an article and a column about Kiffin’s departure for USC. I’m a history buff and used to follow college football much more seriously than I do today. As I drank my coffee I thought of a former TN Volunteer coach who left the school for another football program. His name was Doug Dickey.
I did a google search after I finished breakfast, and found this article written by Randy Moore.
Lane Kiffin’s sudden decision to leave The Hill in favor of his previous college coaching stop (Southern Cal) has created the same mixture of shock, dismay and outrage among Volunteer fans that arose when Dickey bolted in ’69 to take the reins at his alma mater (Florida).
That’s understandable. Consider the similarities in the two situations:
- Dickey was a former college quarterback (Florida). Kiffin was a former college quarterback (Fresno State).
- Tennessee was Dickey’s first head coaching job at the collegiate level. Tennessee was Kiffin’s first head coaching job at the collegiate level.
- Dickey was an “outsider” (a non-UT grad) who followed two UT grads (Harvey Robinson, Bowden Wyatt) as the head coach. Kiffin was an outsider who followed two UT grads (Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer) as head coach.
- Dickey had incredible support from Tennessee’s administration and fan base. Kiffin’s support from those same groups was no less incredible.
- Dickey surrounded himself with outstanding assistants who excelled as recruiters and teachers. Kiffin surrounded himself with outstanding assistants who excelled as recruiters and teachers.
- Dickey was a radical departure from his predecessors, shifting UT from the single-wing to the I-formation and lobbying for artificial turf (dubbed Doug’s Rug). Kiffin was a radical departure from his predecessors, as well, making national headlines with his brash comments and lobbying for black jerseys on Halloween.
- Dickey went 4-5-1 in Year 1 but raised Big Orange hopes by playing third-ranked Alabama to a 19-8 loss and playing seventh-ranked LSU to a 3-3 tie. Kiffin went 7-6 in Year 1 but raised Big Orange hopes by playing top-ranked Alabama to a 12-10 loss and playing top-ranked Florida to a 23-13 loss.
- Dickey closed his Tennessee run with a 14-13 Gator Bowl loss to 14th-ranked Florida. Kiffin closed his Tennessee run with a 37-14 Chick fil-A Bowl loss to 12th-ranked Virginia Tech.
- Dickey’s departure led UT to promote receivers coach Bill Battle to the top job. Kiffin’s departure led UT to promote receivers coach Kippy Brown to the top job (albeit on an interim basis).
Those are an awful lot of similarities. Both coaches last game was a Florida located Bowl appearance.
I understand Volunteer fans who are angry at Kiffin. Greg Stoda at the Palm Beach Post does make a point-
Yeah, y’all got jilted. It hurts. It happens. Both ways. Vol Nation didn’t exactly treat ol’ Phil Fulmer kindly by kicking him out the door after 17 mostly real-good seasons in making room for … Kiffin.
The whole karma bit can get ugly.
What goes around comes around. Tennessee should move on. Isn’t Volunteer football bigger than one man?
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