Karma Catches up to Lane Kiffin
By Larry Burton
It’s not usual that we write about something outside the SEC, but the curious case of Lane Kiffin bears the exception because of the bad karma he had when he left Tennessee and the SEC.
Lane Kiffin was at one time so excited to spend his “career” at Tennessee that he couldn’t wait to be with his boys and sing “Rocky Top” all night long. Then another job came along. This one fit his dreams of living on the beach and being an LA rock star. He couldn’t get out of Tennessee fast enough, barely even long enough to say kiss my butt on the way out the door.
The stench from that departure meant that nobody wanted the old house the Kiffin’s paid 2.6 million dollars for and when it finally sold, it went for 1.96 million. Including interest, that lost Kiffin a cool million alone.
Yes, he signed a big contract with USC, making him one of the highest paid coaches in all of college football, but there was this $800,000 that he owed Tennessee for breaking his contract, then there was the immediate loan USC made to him for over $500,000 so he could buy his dream home, a $5.5 million home in Manhattan Beach. His 2010 tax return said he made $2.4 million dollars.
Kiffin’s high salary meant that over 50% of it went to taxes in California and the IRS, his agent got a huge chunk of it and his wife went crazy with the decorating in that mansion. Basically now, Kiffin is cash broke and according to the terms of that USC loan, he now owes them them that $500+k plus interest due immediately.
Kiffin is now jobless and very soon to be homeless. After he repays the loan to USC, even with whatever buyout money he may get from USC, he may not have the money to pay the reported $30,000 property taxes and the reported $15,000 insurance bills on the six bedroom, seven bathroom, 7308 square foot beach mansion on the beach.
Can you say fire sale and quick move in the future? And as for “going back home”, Kiffin has no “home”. He was raised in an NFL family, moved a lot and played some ball as a backup at Fresno State and they surely wouldn’t want him back there.
Now, here is Lane Kiffin, just 38 years old, broke, unemployed and a laughing stock. At an age when most coaches are seeing their stock rise, Kiffin can’t plummet any further down. He will never be the head coach of a major program again. His best hope to do so is to wind up at some God forsaken place like Dennis Franchione had to settle for as in Texas State earning $350k per year or less money than his assistants made at Tennessee or USC.
Kiffin’s trophy wife had better be able to change lifestyles quickly and go from wondering what to buy the housekeeper and cook for their birthday to clipping grocery coupons and scrubbing those toilets herself.
For Kiffin defenders, if there are still any, yes he inherited a mess at USC, but the undeniable fact is that he made it much, much worse.
Like Franchione, running from the SEC bought him a little fame and a higher paycheck, but only for a while. Karma truly is a bitch and catches up to most after a while.
Who knows what would have happened to both if they had stayed in their former jobs. It would be hard to imagine Alabama not eventually rising back up to the top with Franchione even if it were not to the extent that Saban brought it. In Tennessee, Kiffin did raise the bar in level of play on the field, excitement with the brand of Tennessee football and attracting recruits. He certainly would be enjoying more results there than he left at USC and he’d still be employed more than likely.
As for Alabama fans, they are glad to be rid of Franchione and celebrate Saban and in Knoxville this weekend, there was dancing in the streets when news came out about about Kiffin being not only fired, but publicly slapped in the face and not even being allowed to ride back to the USC facilities on the team bus.
Tennessee fans are hoping that he didn’t even have cab fare on him.
Southern teams are like the Hatfield’s and McCoys. They hold grudges and have long memories of past transgressions and for Tennessee fans, this has been a good week, a win in the football column and one in the karma column.
Personal editorial by Larry Burton whose views are not necessarily those of Touchdown Alabama or it’s staff