Is there any chance that Tennessee is willing to forgive and forget?
Former Vols coach Lane Kiffin, who infamously left Tennessee for USC after just one season, has quickly revived his career after a successful stint as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and first-year as the head coach at FAU. The Owls are currently riding a 7-game winning streak and are undefeated in conference play.
That should be enough to get Kiffin back on Tennessee’s radar as it continues its coaching search, but many expect that the damage committed during his exit is far too severe for fans to get over.
However, the coach is reportedly “definitely on board” for a return if contacted by the Vols, according to ESPN’s Chris Low.
Low, who appeared on the Swain Event with former Tennessee wide receiver Jayson Swain and co-host Charlie Burris on Wednesday, reiterated that the coach would be interested in making a return to Knoxville, as he’s stated previously.
“Lane [Kiffin] is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call,” Low said. “I don’t expect it to happen but he told me, ‘people break up all the time and get back together.'”
Low, who joked that his job title was to cover Kiffin during the interview, made similar comments last month on The Swain Event when discussing the former UT coach.
“I think Lane would crawl back to Knoxville,” ESPN’s Chris Low said on The Swain Event. “Oh yeah, I think he would in a heartbeat.”
“He’s probably better equipped to manage a program than the first time he was here,” he added. “I’m a Lane Kiffin fan, as big of a knucklehead as he is, and I’ll tell him that to his face. There is a lot of things he does well. He’ll surround himself with a good staff. He’s just got to be a lot more seasoned when it comes to managing a football team.”
Kiffin is one of the most polarizing figures in college football, especially on Rocky Top. Fans burned couches and painted obscenities on the UT Rock in protest of his sudden departure. The Volunteer faithful also booed him unmercifully during his return to Neyland Stadium as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2014.
But perhaps some have softened up to the idea of a Kiffin return given the fanbase’s displeasure of Jones, who many believe will be fired at some point during or after the regular season.
Low noted that he believes Kiffin will eventually get another shot with a Power-5 school eventually, but expects him to stay at FAU for at least another season.