school whose football players have the worst criminal record each year. Fulmer’s final few seasons were marked by continual decline. He did not finish in the AP top ten after the 2001 season and did not win an SEC Championship after his national title year in 1998. He only had one ten-win season after 2004. The final year of Fulmer was sweetest for rival fans when Tennessee lost to Wyoming. He was fired in 2008 after a 5-7 campaign. Fulmer was succeeded by Lane Kiffin. Kiffin had been the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, where he had a 5-15 record. He was an assistant at Southern California during the Reggie Bush era. He came to Tennessee for the 2009 season and brought his father with him to coach the defense. Monte Kiffin is seen as a legend in the NFL because he invented the “Tampa 2” defense that won so many games for the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers. SEC fans remember the younger Kiffin as a loud-mouthed dummy. He constantly prodded Urban Meyer during his stay in Knoxville, one time accusing Meyer of breaking the rules when Meyer was in total compliance. He earned multiple letters of reprimand from the SEC for his antics. Alabama fans most remember the Lane Kiffin-coached Volunteers for a near-loss on the way to the national championship. Terrance Cody blocked two field goals, one as time expired in the game, to preserve Alabama’s perfect season with a 12-10 victory in Tuscaloosa. Lane Kiffin’s tenure was as short as it was incendiary. He left Knoxville to coach the Southern California Trojans after Pete Carroll left to join the Seattle Seahawks. Tennessee students reacted by rioting. There were mattresses on fire throughout Knoxville. Tennessee fans
PHOTO ABOVE BY ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / PHOTO RIGHT: BY AP PHOTO/WADE PAYNE
now despise Kiffin as much as many other fan bases throughout the country. Kiffin’s sudden departure left the Tennessee athletics department scrambling for a new coach. The school hired Derek Dooley on January 15, 2010, to replace Kiffin. Dooley’s experience included stints with Nick Saban at LSU and Miami. He was the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he compiled a 17-20 record over three seasons. Dooley is the son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley. He has amassed a 2-4 record thus far at Tennessee. Volunteer fans have high hopes that Dooley’s pedigree will bring success to their downtrodden football program. There have been flashes, such as the near upset of LSU in Baton Rouge earlier this year. Only time will tell if he can bring Tennessee back to the national prominence it enjoyed in the late 90s.
Touchdown Alabama Magazine - Tennessee 2010