Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin explained on Wednesday why he didn’t want cameras filming his infamous 2010 press conference the night he stepped down as the Tennessee Vols head coach to take the same job at USC.
Kiffin left Knoxville after just one season as Tennessee’s head coach. His abrupt departure was met with vitriol from Vol fans.
Before Kiffin left town, he wanted to explain to the local media, and his team, why he was leaving UT after just one season. Behind the scenes footage of the lead-up to the media session was captured that night that shows the intense debate between television and print media on how to cover the “media opportunity”.
Kiffin explained on Wednesday, during an appearance on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, why he made the unusual decision to talk to reporters that night (typically coaches don’t speak to the media at the program they’re leaving).
“Chris Low (of ESPN) sent me the video of it this week, which I don’t know that I’d ever seen the actual video of everyone talking in there while I wasn’t in the room,” said Kiffin on Wednesday. “But that was my idea only. I was advised against that, from (Kiffin’s agent) Jimmy Sexton to a lot of people. They said, ‘Get out of town. Get on the plane and show up at USC and then speak there,’ and I said I just didn’t feel like that was right.
“I really felt like the media had been awesome. Not just fair, but awesome in our one year there,” added Kiffin. “I really had grown to like them a lot and felt like they should get an explanation. Now, I couldn’t do that with the cameras and everything, because then that would be like, ok well you’re basically starting your press conference at USC in Tennessee. That’s not right.”
“But I wanted to explain to them, hey why this was the one job that I would take. This is why. It’s not great timing at all. I had no plans of leaving here. Really was excited about what was building. Much like I had the team meeting, which also was advised not to do at all. But I wanted to tell the players. That doesn’t normally happen at all in those situations.”
“I think both of them backfired, but that’s not the point. You do things in life because they’re the right things to do, whether they work or not. And in my opinion, those were the right things to do against what people were saying.”
Kiffin is set to return to Neyland Stadium on Saturday as his Rebels take on Tennessee.
Featured image via Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports