Ex-Vol Coach Phillip Fulmer Rips Kiffin On CBS; Now a Poster Boy For Pettiness
The words simply drip with bitterness as the diatribe reaches a crescendo.
A spurned ex-coach, responding to the man who replaced him, and doing it with all of the class of a drunken wino.
So went the conversation on CBS yesterday as ex-Tennessee head coach, Phillip Fulmer, he of the 18-14 record over his last four years with the Vol's, ripped into ex-Tennessee coach, Lane Kiffin, now with the USC Trojans.
On the networks halftime show, and with a national platform, Fulmer took the opportunity to display a pettiness not often seen on such a large stage.
Among other things that Fulmer "offered" on the show, was his personal opinion that in leaving Tennessee, Kiffin departed "with basically his hat in his hand and a bunch of NCAA compliance questions."
Whatever compliance questions there may be, and to be certain, Kiffin made some mistakes in Tennessee, those were of the secondary nature, at least as far as we know.
And Kiffin has never shied away from an admission of those mistakes but said that he was concerned that Tennessee had been relegated to second tier status and that he wanted to get the buzz over the Vol's going again.
By the way Phillip, that second tier thing happened on your watch, during those last four years of your reign when the program took such a nose dive that a first year coach (Kiffin) felt like he had to do whatever needed, including bringing ridicule on himself, to make your program relevant again.
And that "hat in hand," belonged to the USC Trojans, a team that Kiffin has always said was his "dream job."
Was it unfortunate that Kiffin left after only one year?
Yes, and this writer has opined this belief to Vol fans in print, supporting their right to be angry at Kiffin.
However, the line needs to be drawn at using a network show to espouse the bitter opinions of a jilted ex-coach.
But Fulmer wasn't done yet.
The former head man at Tennessee went on, "And often his arrogant attitude turned people off. The bigger question in my opinion is how does a guy like this end up with two jobs with historic football teams like Tennessee and USC?"
The bigger question may be, how does a former coach get a major network to allow him to spout off about the man who replaced him, and, in doing so, provides the ex-coach with a modicum of legitimacy?
To be certain, there will be a legion of Tennessee fans who will rally to their beloved ex-coaches defense as they find solace in ripping the villain Kiffin.
But the time to move forward both for the Vol's and their fans is now.
Though Tennessee lost yesterday to Florida, they are on the right track with Dooley and fans (and ex-coaches) should have their sights set forward, not backward.
Dwell on a bright future Tennessee fans, for your day is coming.
Don't let the mean spirited words of your former coach drag you into the quagmire of the bitterness he wallows in.
And for Gods sake CBS, don't give him the platform to do it.
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