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Special UT aura the lure to Kiffins

Special UT aura the lure to Kiffins

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008 5:37 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said his father, Monte Kiffin, chose to join his Volunteers’ staff because he believed it was a special place to coach.
Monte Kiffin announced last week that he would work with his son as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator after more than a decade in the same position with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I don’t think this could have happened anywhere else because he never said, ‘I’m going with you wherever you go,’” Lane Kiffin said Saturday in his second public appearance as Vols coach. “It had to be a special place. He doesn’t want to come here to be mediocre. He wants to come here to win national championships.”
Lane Kiffin said his father wanted to work at a place where he believed he could be successful recruiting and a place with relatively mild weather.
And despite Monte Kiffin wanting to coach with his son, Lane still had to sell the job on him.
Monte Kiffin is expected to join the staff a few days after Tampa Bay’s season ends.
Lane Kiffin said he wasn’t worried about his father being required to report to someone besides himself to avoid violating Tennessee’s nepotism policy because it “has nothing to do with our staff meetings or our dealings or our individual meetings on a weekly basis.”
Since being introduced to Tennessee fans on Dec. 1, Lane Kiffin has also hired brother-in-law David Reaves, a former South Carolina quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator, and Oakland Raiders offensive assistant James Cregg to join his staff.
He retained assistants Greg Adkins, Latrell Scott, Stan Drayton and Jason Michael from the staff of former coach Phillip Fulmer to help with recruiting, but hasn’t decided whether he will formally hire them.
“I’m still evaluating them. I’m still in interviewing them,” Kiffin said. “It’s been very valuable to spend almost three weeks on the road with them and in houses and on airplanes with them. I’ve learned way more than I could ever learn in a two-hour interview.”
The current staff has been on the road throughout the past three weeks visiting prospects in approximately 14 states.
Recruiting is entering a two-week dead period during which coaches are to have no contact with players.
That gave Kiffin a chance to catch his first Tennessee basketball game on Saturday, where fans cheered when his name was announced over the public address system.
Kiffin said it’s been challenging recruiting without having his full staff in place but felt that he’s benefited from strong name recognition that the Tennessee program carries.
Kiffin said he hasn’t had a chance to speak with Fulmer but has been compiling a list of questions he wants to ask the man that ran the program for the past 17 seasons.
“I’ve got so many questions to ask him about how he did this from the beginning and how he was able to make this great run that he made,” he said. “I’m ready to wear him out.”

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