Hate is such an ugly word. I was taught from an early age that I shouldn’t hate anyone; that I should love everybody. I will tell you up front that even though I am a lifelong Tennessee fan, I have never hated Alabama. I always respected the great success of the Crimson Tide football program, and the tremendous passion of the fans. During the past few days however, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has given ‘Bama haters everywhere another reason to absolutely despise his team. He hired Lane Kiffen as the Tide’s new offensive coordinator.
The posters on Facebook and all over the internet have had a field day with photo-shop pictures among other things. My favorite so far is a shot of Coach Saban with his arm around Kiffen, who looks like a mean little boy. It was obviously done with help from photo-shop or some other internet site, but even with no words, that picture tells a hundred stories.
I personally have no beef with Lane Kiffen. I interviewed him a few times in 2009 when he was the Vols’ head coach, and he was always a decent interview. The problem I have with Lane Kiffen is something I really can’t mention; something he did to one of his players and the things he said to that player regarding his family. Forget about the other things he did that everyone knows about. That’s just his style.
When Kiffen left Tennessee in the middle of the night for his “dream job” at Southern Cal, it caused a near riot in Knoxville. Students were so angry with him that he surely feared for his safety and got out of town as quickly and quietly as he could. A lot of Tennessee fans point directly at Kiffen as the source for the Vols’ recent problems on the field. They are wrong however. The Vols’ problems began with the dismissal of Phillip Fulmer as head coach and have not gotten any better.
A few weeks ago, Kiffen paid a visit to Tuscaloosa to meet with Coach Saban and his staff. He spent several days in town, talking football and whatever he said must have impressed Coach Saban. Saban hired Kiffen last week, and more than one college football fan has stated it was the “kiss of death” for the Alabama football program.
I really can’t say that I agree with that statement. There is no question that Lane Kiffen is a good offensive mind and a solid quarterback coach. I still doubt his character, but then again, people can change.
I try not to ever sit in judgment of anyone; even Lane Kiffen. It is not my job to do that, so when people ask me what I think of ‘Bama hiring Kiffen, I respond with, “Well it could be really good for them. But it will be interesting to say the least.” So, if you ask me, that’s the answer you will get. Pretty vanilla isn’t it?
Perhaps the most humorous scenario involving Alabama football came from a long-time Crimson Tide fan. He said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with Coach Saban. First he pulls that deal going for a 57 yard field goal against Auburn which really back-fired. Now he hires Lane Kiffen to run the offense. He must be going through the ‘change of life’ or something.”
As I have already mentioned; it could be really good for them, but it will interesting to say the least.
Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.
His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.
He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.
In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.
To contact Randy: firstname.lastname@example.org