Fulmer Finally Rips Into Kiffin: ‘Arrogant Attitude’

The man who Lane Kiffin replaced at Tennessee, Phil Fulmer, finally let loose with some criticism of the now-USC coach on CBS on Saturday:

Phil Fulmer

Tennessee is a very proud program as we all know with great traditions and the people of Tennessee felt betrayed to be honest with you. They were embarrassed, felt jilted with all the cost of the change there was. Kiffin, he left Tennessee with basically his hat in his hand and a bunch of NCAA compliance questions.

Many in our community are glad that he is gone. He never really embraced the traditions, the values of the program or the community for that matter. 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.”

I wonder if the people who deal with Nick Saban inside the Alabama program think he’s arrogant? Or the people inside the UT program when Fulmer was there? (Yes and yes.)

Saban’s circumstances in leaving the Dolphins were every bit as indelicate as Kiffin’s in Knoxville, but I don’t hear anyone complaining in Tuscaloosa about Saban’s attitude. If there is any talk about it, it’s Alabama fans celebrating Saban’s gruff, intolerant nature.

Winning will do that.

Fulmer’s revisionist criticism, even if there is an underlying truth to it, is laughably hypocritical. If Kiffin had won at Tennessee he could’ve replace Smokey with the Taco Bell chihuahua and no one would’ve cared.

Fulmer also commented on the so-called new era of high-profile, mercenary coaches:

You know we probably have been our own worst enemies in some cases because of the money. It’s become an entertainment industry if you will. I do think that we are missing some of the values that are out there, that the experience and the maturity older coaches can bring. But it’s changed and we have to change with the times.

What of the “values” of “mature” coaches like Tom Osborne, who elected to play the now-incarcerated Lawrence Phillips during a Nebraska national championship run? And the arrest records of Penn State and Florida State players the past two decades under Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden?


Not to mention the rap sheet rung up by Fulmer’s own players at the end of his sagging Tennessee tenure.Fulmer’s critiques on Saturday did the impossible: Make him look small.Here’s hoping he hurries up and takes the Washington State job so we don’t have to listen to anymore of his crying tripe.