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January 21, 2010 - Al Stephenson
Three college football coaches lost jobs this year as a result of player abuse. Mark Mangino, Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt lost the reigns at Kansas, Texas Tech and South Florida respectively because they had mistreated, both physically and verbally, the young men in their charge.
These incidents brought new pressures to bear on college coaches as they started rethinking appropriate ways to discipline players. The world is changing and coaching techniques are going to have to change as well.
The lastest coaching change occured at Tennesse as Lane Kiffin walked away from the Volunteers after just one season on the job. Supposedly he left for his "dream" job as he became the head coach at USC, a school where he had served as an assistant coach.
Kiffin's road map has been interesting to say the least. Two years ago he was the Oakland Raiders head coach only to be fired by the enigmatic Al Davis. He quickly landed the job at Tennessee after they fired long time coach Philip Fullmer. Kiffin made waves upon arriving in Knoxville.
He called Urban Meyer a cheater, quite possibly while fracturing a few NCAA regulations himself. He fled after the one season to take the place of Pete Carroll who seems to be heading for Seattle and the NFL one step ahead of the law. USC is in the midst of an NCAA investigation that could lead to severe punishments.
The whole situation should be very interesting. One thing that is certain - the Tennessee fans are outraged that anyone would leave their program for any other job. It may be that USC is a better opportunity Vol fans. You are not at the peak of the SEC right now. Coaching football at Indiana or Northwestern is not the same job as being the Buckeye boss even though you are still in the Big Ten.
The view from my seat suggests that it will be interesting to see how Lane Kiffin fares at USC. It will also be interesting to see how Vince Dooleys boy will do at Tennessee. How will Pete Carroll do with the Seahawks? His previous stint in the NFL was less than extraordinary.
While we are wondering - what's the odds that Brian Kelly will turn around the Fighting Irish? This coming football season will be fun to follow.
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