What's in a Name? For Lane Kiffin, Apparently a Lot!

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IJanuary 14, 2009

What to name a child can sometimes be a hard decision to make. My wife and I have had to choose names twice.

The first one just kind of came to us. We did some research on the name Zachary and we liked it. We added my middle name, which happens to also be my father’s middle name and there you have it. Easy.

For the second child we wanted a Biblical name so we chose the name Elijah. For a middle name we picked my favorite athlete’s first name, Peyton. Another rather easy decision.

But for new Tennessee Vols head coach, Lane Kiffin, the process was even easier.

Lane and his wife welcomed Monte Knox Kiffin into the world on January 13. Yes, I said Knox Kiffin. And yes he is named after the city of Knoxville.

Some of you are probably wondering why I would decide to write on such a topic. Which point I debated with myself before I ever typed the first letter.

But after thinking about the possible significance of this story there was no way I could not write about it.

I see this as a statement. Some may believe it’s a rather stupid statement. I think it’s a brilliant statement.

Why in the world would a coach that has never been a head coach on the college level until now name his child after the city where his new employer is located?

Why in the world would a new coach in this rough and tumble, volatile world that is college football and more importantly in the SEC name his child after that city before he even coached a game in that city?

If you didn’t notice there were three coaches fired this season in the SEC. Two of them, Philip Fulmer, and Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville were two of the most successful, longest tenured coaches in the SEC!

So what happens if Tennessee goes 5-7 in ’09; 6-6 in ’10; 5-7 in ’11? Lane Kiffin will be fired unceremoniously is what will happen.

So every time he mentions his child’s name he’ll have to say “Knox” and be reminded of the job that more than likely ended his head coaching career.

I mean let’s face it. He was terrible in the NFL; going 5 – 15 in two-plus seasons with the Raiders.

A failure at UT would spell the end of Kiffin’s head coaching career. He might make it as an assistant somewhere but he would kiss the big money goodbye.

Surely he took all of this into account before naming his only son, “Knox.”

I think this is a brilliant PR possibility. I think it sends a message to UT fans, boosters, players, and everyone else in the SEC that Lane Kiffin is here to stay.

I believe this shows that Lane Kiffin is committed to the Vols. I believe it shows that he’s confident that he can turn things around. And I believe it confirms prior reports that Lane is a tad cocky. All of which I love! And all of which he’ll need in the SEC.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe I’m not.

Of course “Knox” really isn’t a bad name. As a matter of fact I may have to add it to the short list of naming possibilities should a third Barker male surprise us.

I know I would have a hard time naming a kid Blue…after where I work. And my job is more stable than a lot of college head coaching gigs.

One thing is for sure, if things don’t go well for Kiffin in Knoxville, he’ll be reminded of it every time he talks to his only son.


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