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Tag:Lane Kiffin
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:10 pm
 

How important is a coach's age to winning titles?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Virginia Tech-centric blog Gobbler Country posted an interested study today, examining the breakdown of championship-winning coaches' ages in the modern era of college football. The question raised is "how old is too old," and excepting some obvious outliers, the answer is "younger than you think."

For the champions, I used the BCS from 1998-present, the coaches' poll from 1982-1997 and the AP poll from 1960-1981.

Time span Avg. Age
1960-69 46.4
1970-79 51.0
1980-89 48.6
1990-99 55.6
2000-10 49.9
BCS Era 55.1
1960-2010 51.3

The ages of head coaches have fluctuated from mid 40s to mid 50s since 1960, but the average has been a little over 51 years of age. However, there has been one coach that has helped break the curve. Take away Bobby Bowden's two titles and the average in the 90's shrinks to 52.8 and the BCS era shrinks to 53.8.

What's even more unsettling to programs with older coaches is the breakdown of championships by age bracket:

Age Span Champs
< 40 5
40-44 9
45-49 9
50-54 14
55-59 9
60 + 5

Not only is there a precipitous dropoff from the early 50s to 60+, those five titles were won by just three coaches: The aforementioned Bowden with two, Bear Bryant with two, and Joe Paterno -- the three most celebrated coaches of the modern era of I-A football. What's more, Bryant had won his first title at the age of 50, while Paterno won his first at 56. Bowden didn't win his first until he was 64, but that was after six straight top-five finishes in the final poll for Florida State. In other words, each of those three coaches firmly established his national championship bona fides before his 60th birthday, while every other coach who ever hit 60 in the last 50 years was quite evidently past his prime.

It's not really surprising, then, to have seen Maryland jettison longtime head coach Ralph Friedgen, who was 63 at the end of the 2010 and who clearly wasn't about to win a title at such a mediocre football school (no offense, Terps, but let's be honest). Incoming coach Randy Edsall will have just turned 53 at the outset of the 2011 season, and while one might joke that Maryland's only got two seasons of Edsall in his prime before it all goes downhill, it's not as if he's got 15 years in front of him with the Terrapins.

So with all this in mind, here are a few more notable coaches and their ages as of the start of the 2011 season. It would be incorrect to say there's a "new generation" of coaches on the move (seven years or so doesn't really constitute a generational gap) but it's pretty clear that a few of these guys aren't lasting much more than five years -- especially if they're not winning 10 games a year anymore.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 64
Mack Brown, Texas, 60
Gene Chizik, Auburn, 49
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 56
Al Golden, Miami, 42
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, a man, 44
Brady Hoke, Michigan, 52
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 49
Chip Kelly, Oregon, 47
Lane Kiffin, USC, 36
Mike Leach, free agent, 50
Les Miles, LSU, 57
Dan Mullen, Mississippi St., 39
Will Muschamp, Florida, 40
Joe Paterno, Penn State, 84
Gary Patterson, TCU, 51
Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 43
Chris Petersen, Boise State, 46
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas, 50
Mark Richt, Georgia, 51
Nick Saban, Alabama, 59
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 50
Jim Tressel, Ohio State, 58
Kyle Whittingham, Utah, 51

Now obviously, not all of these schools are going to win national championships in the next 5-10 years. But by and large, most of these schools do pay their coaches a gigantic salary -- to the point that the expectation of competing on a national level is inevitable. If a coach is struggling in his fourth or fifth year with a program, is an athletic director going to be more apt to fire the coach if he's 57 instead of 47? Is that age discrimination, or common sense?

Posted on: January 24, 2011 11:10 am
 

Titans lawsuit vs. Kiffin won't be settled soon

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's officially the offseason, which means that now's the time for Lane Kiffin's star to shine its brightest. On the positive side, his Trojans have enough scholarship space and continued recruiting pull to sign another top-flight class, and could see their NCAA sanctions reduced on appeal after Saturday's hearing before the infractions appeals committee.

But with Kiffin the headlines are never just about football, as Nashville's Tennesseean showed once again with an update on the lawsuit filed against him by the Tennessee Titans , alleging that Kiffin's surprise hiring of Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola constituted "interference with contract and inducement of breach of contract."

While the lead for the story is that two judges have already recused themselves from the case thanks to various entanglements with the Titans and USC, the story also drops one intriguing bit of data at its conclusion:
A trial date is preliminarily set for Aug. 2.
That's a long, long time from now in college football terms, and if it's only a preliminary date, it's a reasonable bet that the actual date could wind up being even further away than that. Unless the two sides come to an agreement before the case goes to trial (which is a possibility), the suit could prove to be a personal distraction for Kiffin for quite some time.

Of course, by now Kiffin has more than enough experience in dealing with off-field distractions; the actual impact of the suit on anything Trojan football-related will be minimal at best. But if Kiffin produces another decent-but-not-spectacular season on the field in 2011, fans could wonder if the constant stream of headlines and personal distractions might be part of what's holding Kiffin back ... and this suit would be yet another log on that fire.

Posted on: January 14, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 2:12 pm
 

David Oku transferring from Tennessee

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Overall, Derek Dooley enjoyed a successful first year at the Tennessee helm, salvaging a recruiting class that nearly came apart at the seams following Lane Kiffin's 11th-hour departure and dragging a Volunteer team with all kinds of depth chart issues and off-field squabbles to a bowl game.

But for all his accomplishments, no one will claim Dooley excelled in the area of getting some of Kiffin's highest-profile recruits to buy in. Neither five-star tailback Bryce Brown nor freshman All-American Aaron Douglas ever played a down under Dooley, and as of today four-star tailback/kick returner David Oku has also departed the Volunteer program .

The loss won't be a substantial blow to Tennessee's productivity -- Oku was not a major contributor this season, carrying only 42 times for 174 yards and returning 16 kickoffs for less than 20 yards a return -- but it drives home the fact that Dooley is more than willing to reshape the program with his own players and in his own image. The writing may have been on the wall for Oku, playing-time-wise, when Dooley said this to the media last September, just before Oku was stripped of his return duties:
You mentioned kickoff return. Can you talk about what you've seen from David Oku from that standpoint in the first three games?

"I've see nothing from him other than an inability to make yards. I don't think he's running with any conviction, and I've told him that. I think he runs tippy-toeing and searching."
In a word: ouch. That level of abrasiveness won't win Dooley any Mr. Congeniality contests -- and it might have helped cost him whatever modicum of depth at running back and returner Oku represented -- but as long as the Volunteers continue moving forward, no one's going to care.

HT on Dooley quote: @HABOTN .


Posted on: December 26, 2010 11:50 am
Edited on: December 26, 2010 11:52 am
 

Lane Kiffin a key figure in Knoxville lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Lane Kiffin has been out of the Tennessee head coaching job for nearly as long as was ever in it, but his legacy of petty discord and minor violations of both the letter and spirit of institutional law lives on, as evidenced by this lawsuit filed in a Tennessee court.

Kiffin isn't named as a defendant in the suit and isn't in any kind of criminal jeopardy, but it's still his accident in a dealership-owned Lexus -- first reported last January -- that's at the heart of the suit. Plaintiff Mark Boling has filed a claim against the dealership and the supervisor who fired him, stating that he was dismissed because he had knowledge that the dealership had committed insurance fraud and taken other steps to cover Kiffin's tracks in the wake of the incident.

As summarized by Knoxville TV station WBIR :

In the suit, Boling claimed Kiffin was driving a $75,000 Lexus which belonged to the dealership when he crashed it into a ditch and hit a fence.

The suit also alleged the dealership's General Manager, Andy White , picked Kiffin up at the scene of the crash to keep Kiffin from being seen by law enforcement.

The lawsuit said the dealership filed a $29,188 estimate for repairs to the vehicle, but said Kiffin never reported the collision ...

The suit also alleged that Kiffin did not have a valid Tennessee driver's license.

The suit also said the Knox County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy approved a property damage report on the crash that did not name Kiffin as the driver.

At this point, it's all water under the bridge where Kiffin is concerned. But the suit just reconfirms that the aftereffects of his supernova of a year in Knoxville -- for both ill and good, both within the Volunteer program and without -- are continuing to reverberate. In part because no other coach seems quaite as capable of causing so much havoc in such little time, we're not likely to see anything like it again soon.

HT: GTP .

Posted on: December 21, 2010 4:11 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2010 4:11 pm
 

Derek Dooley has problems with Facebook

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Okay, so here are some new rules for the Tennessee athletic department.  All student-athletes should avoid bars for the time being, and coaches need to stay off Facebook.  Even if they're just tending to their farm or whatever it is you kids are doing on Facebook these days.  Both of those activities have led to secondary violations at the school in recent days.

The latest ones come courtesy of head coach Derek Dooley, who, when trying to reply to a recruit via a Facebook message, accidentally posted the message on the player's wall for the whole world to see.
Dooley violated NCAA bylaw 13.4.1.2 on June 3 when he inadvertently posted a message on four-star high school tight end Nick O’Leary’s Facebook wall.
According to the bylaw, “electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent to a prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete’s parents or legal guardians) is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles.”
This secondary violation, coupled with another recently learned self-reported transgression involving 26 football players receiving improper benefits from Bar Knoxville, constitute the first known violations involving the UT football team since Dooley took over as coach in January. Under Lane Kiffin in 2009, the Vols committed at least six secondary violations.

The recruit, Nick O'Leary, also happens to be the grandson of some former golfer.  His name is Jack Nicklaus or something like that.  After finding out about their mistake and reporting it, Dooley and his staff weren't allowed to contact O'Leary for two weeks, which left his Facebook wall mighty empty and no doubt made him feel incredibly lonely.

As for why Dooley left the message on O'Leary's wall, it seems that it was all a mistake because Dooley knows that was against the rules.  It's just he was answering the message on his cell phone and thought he was answering O'Leary's message, not posting it on the wall.

In other words, life at Tennessee is like a bad sitcom that gets inexplicably high ratings.  Something we wouldn't know about here at CBS.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's hard to criticize much about the first year of Derek Dooley's tenure at Tennessee. After the sudden departure of Lane Kiffin from Knoxville and Dooley's whirwind hire, he still managed to hire a well-respected staff, salvage an impressive recruiting class, and drag the least-experienced Volunteer team in years to a bowl game behind rapidly-developing quarterback Tyler Bray.

Perhaps the only truly debatable decision Dooley has made has been to play hardball with a handful of Volunteers who asked for transfer requests in the wake of Kiffin's departure, notably former No. 1 overall recruit Bryce Brown and former freshman All-America lineman Aaron Douglas. Dooley denied Brown his release, apparently keeping him off scholarship at his hometown Kansas State program, and responded to Douglas's claims that he needed to get away from certain influences in Knoxville by granting him a waiver only on the condition that Douglas transfer somewhere eight hours' drive or further away. Those highly unusual steps -- taken to "protect the program " in Dooley's words -- may have successfuly sent the message that any future Volunteers who wish to transfer will need to be in good standing with Dooley ahead of time, but it also created a good deal of enmity between the program and Brown and Douglas.

Now that enmity may be coming home to roost in Douglas's case. After spending this season at community college Arizona Western, Douglas has transferred back into the SEC, and at the last school Vol supporters would want: Alabama.

For his part, Dooley says he's happy that Douglas has landed on his feet:

"First of all, I wanted to release him," Dooley said after practice this morning. "I didn't want to deny a release, which is what we normally do. I thought he needed to get away, and I thought it was good for our team that he wasn't close by, too.

"I thought everybody benefited, that we just get away from the deal for a little bit and I think it worked out well for our team and it worked out well for Aaron. Everybody should be happy."

But to hear Douglas say that he didn't originally want to play against Tennessee but that "the stipulations with my release opened up everything," it doesn't take a whole lot of reading between the lines to see that responding in kind to Dooley's less-than-accomodating decision was a motivating factor in his choice of new school.

If so, then certainly Douglas is opening himself up to his own charges of pettiness. But that wouldn't change the fact that if Dooley had simply approved a standard release, Douglas likely would have ended up somewhere that wasn't Tuscaloosa. Maybe the message sent to future potential transferees was worth it, but if Douglas plays a role in maintaining the Crimson Tide's recent success in the series (and judging by his play in his one season on Rocky Top, he does), it will have to be asked of Dooley if, maybe, it wasn't.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 5:28 pm
 

USC juniors to enter draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With no bowl giving them a reason to forestall disappointing the fanbase or informing their coaches, a pair of USC juniors have wasted no time in letting the world know where they stand in regards to the NFL draft:


It's never too big a shock when juniors declare early -- NFL paychecks are a little more flexible, spending-wise, than tuition waivers -- and it's even less so considering that the Trojans will still be barred from a bowl game in the 2010 juniors' hypothetical senior seasons. So no one will be too surprised to see players like Jurrell Casey and Tyron Smith depart.

But that doesn't mean it's not a big, big blow for Lane Kiffin's program. Smith has been a productive a two-year starter at right tackle, helping power the Trojans to a top-30 finish in rushing offense and an average of better than five yards per-carry in 2009. But it's Casey's decision that really stings, as he led SC in tackles-for-loss with 11, finished second in sacks, anchored the run defense, made first team All-Pac-10, and was generally agreed by many observers to Monte Kiffin's best defender -- including his teammates, who named him the team MVP .

Worst of all, with the NCAA restrictions on replacing SC's departed scholarship players and the Trojans' 2011 recruiting class limited to only 15 players this spring, finding replacements for Casey and Smith will be exponentially more difficult for Kiffin and Co. than for other top programs when their players leave early. It's simply bad news all the way around for the men of Troy.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:45 pm
 

Secondary violations can earn coaches suspensions

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Just go ahead and call it the Lane Kiffin Rule: coaches who commit NCAA secondary violations in the name of recruiting can now face suspensions of up to two games . The days of head coaches willingly pushing the proverbial envelope and collecting slaps on the wrist like so many Pokemon sound like they may be over:

"This is our request: Anything that has to do with recruiting, if there's a proven violation, we want the ability for the NCAA to say this will cost you a week or a maximum of two weeks," [American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant] Teaff said."We as an association asked for that, and they granted that.

"We think that's a major step forward."

The NCAA does make clear that being found guilty of a secondary violation doesn't trigger an automatic suspension, and that "punishment could depend on the circumstances"; the coach or program who slips up somewhere once probably won't get anything more than the usual reprimand.

But some coaches -- like Kiffin during his abbreviated stay at Tennessee -- have seemed to treat the secondary violation as more bureaucratic annoyance than legitimate deterrent. This change is likely aimed at curbing those kinds of serial offenders, or the more obvious, flagrant violations, like recruits-running-out-of-the-tunnel gameday simulations.

NCAA punishments have often sounded imposing on paper and been toothless in practice; waivers for BCS schools running afoul of the annual APR requirements have been so rampant they may as well be automatic. But more than one coach complained anonymously in the media after incidents like Auburn's 2009 impromptu recruiting pep rally , and Teaff at least sounds serious. (The NCAA might even have an immediate test case at Arkansas after this photograph surfaced this week. Does dressing recruits up in Hog jerseys and letting them visit personalized lockers in the Hog locker room count as a gameday situation?) The rank-and-file in the AFCA may be tired of seeing the Kiffins of the world benefit while those that toe the line lose out.

So whether this will actually be a brave new world for recruiting violations and punishments remains to be seen. But there's little doubt it will be a development worth watching as Signing Day approaches.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com