Lane Kiffin discusses if leaving Tennessee for USC was a mistake

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Lane Kiffin is in his second season as Ole Miss’ head coach.

His first collegiate head coaching position came in 2009 at Tennessee. He left the Vols after one season to become USC’s head coach from 2010-13.

Kiffin was fired by the Trojans after USC’s program was handed NCAA sanctions following his arrival in 2010.

Kiffin would serve as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2014-16 before becoming a head coach again at Florida Atlantic (2017-19).

Ahead of Ole Miss traveling to Tennessee Saturday for Kiffin’s return to Neyland Stadium as a head coach, he discussed if leaving the Vols for USC was a mistake.

“I don’t think of it that way,” Kiffin said on the SEC teleconference. “We didn’t know what was going to happen. We went there, and being told by the powers there, that the Reggie Bush situation, there’s nothing to it, best case scenario, slap on wrist. Then all of the sudden, we go there, put a staff together, start recruiting and we get a two-year bowl ban, thirty scholarships, which is well known, but think about you go in, in your first year all your juniors and seniors can transfer with no penalty. They can just leave. They can go take visits, they can do whatever. They’re not going to be able to play in a bowl for two years. It’s hard to keep them. You’d think very hard to recruit when kids can’t go play in bowl games, and we sign the No. 1 class in the country, loading up before the number took their hit.

“There’s no way to know that, so I don’t sit there and say we should have stayed because we didn’t know that. I like to live in the positive and say, had those numbers not happened, it would have been a totally different story of results on the field. I know that.”

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