A night that will be remembered forever

January 12, 2010, is a day that will forever be remembered in Tennessee football history. Just after one season as the Vols head coach, Lane Kiffin bolted to USC, leaving the current Vol football team in shock. Go "Inside" for on-the-ground coverage and UT player reactions to the unbelievable news.

Just 14 months after Lane Kiffin was hired as the Tennessee head football coach he is leaving Knoxville for the California sunshine.

"This was not an easy decision. It was something that happened very quick. A decision that myself and my family made," said Kiffin. "We have been here fourteen months. The support has been unbelievable here. I really believe this is probably the only place that I would have left here to go. I am very thankful to all the Tennessee people and the way they welcomed myself and my family.

"It has been an exciting time. I know that I can walk out of here and say this. We have been here for fourteen months and there is not one day that I didn't give everything I had to the Tennessee football program. We are leaving here 14 months later a lot better team then we were 14 months ago."

Defensive end Chris Walker said that he understood Kiffin's decision to leave the Orange and White and didn't feel that Kiffin has betrayed him, but he wasn't so sure the rest of his teammates took his understanding stance.

"I don't. Some other players might if you ask them, but I don't. I am old enough to know it's a business out there," said Walker. "When things come around you can't turn down the dream job that you wanted forever."

Freshman tailback David Oku was signed in Kiffin's first recruiting class and was in complete disarray after Tuesday evening's announcement.

"I am puzzled. We as football players are upset because we bought into everything that he was saying," said Oku.

Oku said what hurt the most was not hearing the announcement from Kiffin himself.

"I saw it on ESPN that he was leaving. I just think its disrespectful. It's a business move. You have to respect what he is doing, but at the same time it's just not right. You could at least come to us and talk to us first," said Oku.

The young tailback said there are factions within the Tennessee football team who are no doubt upset enough to consider leaving the university to play football elsewhere.

"A lot of people want to leave. Some people want to transfer," said Oku. "I am not sure what I want to do. It's kind of hard right now."

Oku added that out of respect for the Tennessee faithful he would at least see who was brought in as the new coach for the Volunteers before he took any action regarding a transfer.

"I want to see who they bring in first. At least respect the Tennessee fans before I do anything," said Oku.

Despite all the uproar Chris Walker assured the Tennessee fans that the Orange and White are still going strong despite Kiffin's departure.

"We are going to be Tennessee today, tomorrow, next year, whenever. We are still going to be here no matter what coach is going to be here," said Walker.


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