Kiffin no longer popular in Tennessee

Shock, disbelief and betrayal are all words that described the University of Tennessee fan base Tuesday night. From students on campus to current Vol football players no one could believe what had just transpired. After buying into what Lane Kiffin was selling and being a part of what they thought was a special family, now they are unsure of what to believe. Go "Inside" this detailed report.

The evening of January 12, 2010, is not one students of the University of Tennessee will soon forget.

Around 7 p.m. EST unnamed sources reported on ESPN that Lane Kiffin had formally resigned as head football coach at Tennessee in order to fill the head coaching vacancy at the University of Southern California.

The outraged student reaction on campus appeared almost as suddenly as the shocking news.

"Our first way to meet up was the Rock. We got to the Rock and spray painted our expression on it," freshmen Travis Pruitt said.

Pruitt and six other students painted an obscene message, spelled out using the letters "U-S-C" with an image of Kiffin's face.

Around 9:35 p.m. students began sprinting down Lake Loudoun Boulevard carrying banners and signs.

One banner read ‘Go home traitor! It's time!', a mock of the slogan printed on free student T-shirts distributed at the beginning of the season.

Nearly 30 students managed to enter the Lawson Athletic Center and move up to the second floor where Kiffin was scheduled to briefly speak with media members at 9:30 p.m.

"The mob started downstairs where all the media was going," Pruitt said. "We were all in the conference room (upstairs) and the cops were nice asking us to get out. Once outside, they started moving everyone on up the hill (on Lake Loudoun Blvd)."

Kiffin's refusal to allow media members to shoot live video of the address caused the conference to be delayed until 9:50 p.m.

Multiple football players poured out of Gibbs Hall to brave the cold along with fellow students and express their outrage and shock over the situation.

"What kind of character does this guy got, to come in here and lie to us for a year," freshmen linebacker Marlon Walls said. "The whole time he'd been telling us to buy in, be a family, that he isn't going anywhere. He can't even be man enough to come tell us before he put it in the media."

Walls mentioned that players Aaron Douglas, Chris Walker, Gerald Williams and Gerald Jones were among many who walked out before Kiffin concluded his address to the players.

Douglas, a freshmen offensive lineman, reportedly interrupted Kiffin and yelled "you're not my coach."

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin also addressed his defense, a discussion that was equally as unsuccessful in settling the players' frustrations.

"We went in the defense room and listened to Monte Kiffin," Walls said in disgust. "He basically said he didn't want to leave this coaching staff and he knew he had a job at USC."

"You just don't understand, that's what he told us," junior defensive end Ben Martin said. "It's his dream job, he said he's from out there. I had to walk out of the meeting, I'm just so hurt by it right now."

As players continued to stand along the alley between Gibbs Hall and Haslam practice field, students continued to chant "Rocky Top" and "It's Great to be a Tennessee Vol."

At 11:04 p.m. Knoxville police had arrested two students for undetermined reasons outside of Haslam practice field, where an excess of 4,000 students had gathered and began to burn a mattress.

Two sophomore students were escorted to police cars in handcuffs.

"We're just representing the University of Tennessee," said sophomore Dan Paris, roommate to the arrested students. "Everybody out here feels the same way and they just got caught for it. As far as I'm concerned they're martyrs for the university."

It was only a matter of minutes before firefighters arrived and put out the flames, intimidating the crowd enough to create a circle around the confused setting.

Around 11:14 p.m. the student crowd had shifted towards the student walkway, where hundreds encircled a campus art structure, while some students began to climb and shake the flimsy structure.

Trash cans were upended and dumped around the artwork.

By 11:30 p.m. hundreds of remaining students again rushed down the student walkway towards Neyland Stadium.

Observers claimed a large amount of students broke into the stadium, where distant voices could be heard singing Rocky Top.

Despite the shocking and messy departure of what is arguably the most watched position at the University of Tennessee, players and students displayed a spirit invincible to betrayal.

"Right now we've just got to bond together as a team," Ben Martin said. "It's about us sticking together."

"We're still going to play ball, we're still Tennessee," Walls said.


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