So nice to see you again Lane Kiffin. Four years ago, Syracuse was searching for its next head coach. And guess whose name popped up? A certain disposed Raiders coach who had ties to SU’s athletic director. We know what’s happened since. Kiffin took the Tennessee job, then bolted after a year to USC. The Orange have built slowly, but surely. No corners cut or fast tracks that are common with Kiffin.
Here’s what The Fizz wrote at the time SU flirted with Kiffin.
“It remains murky whether Gross ever truly pursued him for the Orange job.
Likely, Dr. Doom knew he had no support (or credibility) to go down this road again; west-coast coordinator, fired from the pro ranks, zero east coast ties.
The Fizz is convicted in its analysis: Lane Kiffin would not have worked at Syracuse. There would have been immediate skepticism from an already tortured fan base, plus if a school like UT was willing to hand him a job, he would’ve had one foot out the door from Day One.
But damn, would’ve been nice to have Layla around the Dome.
Imagine a one-two punch of Julie Boeheim and Layla Kiffin? Syracuse sporting social events would’ve turned into hottie central (and who would’ve ever imagined that sentence being written?).
Visualize Julie taking Layla shopping at Kay’s in the Carousel, house-hunting in Manlius, out for a ‘Sex in the Salt City’ double-martini lunch at Armory.”
Was it the right road?
Well, let’s start off with it being the only road. Had Gross convinced Kiffin to come to CNY, the coach would have been itching to leave for greener pastures as soon as he landed at Hancock.
While grooming good, young, talented head coaches is not a bad thing at a school like Syracuse, Kiffin was all types of wrong from the get go. It’s virtually impossible these days at a lower/middle tier football school like SU to ever have head coaching lifers.
Maybe Marrone sticks around for 20 years because this is his alma mater. But more than likely if Marrone turns this into a top 25 program, a struggling SEC or Big 10 school comes knocking. And you know what? He’ll go. Them’s the breaks. Syracuse basketball could easily poach the next bright young mind any year to replace The Per’fesser (if Mike Hopkins wasn’t already waiting in the wings). SU football is where those coaches get poached from.
But Kiffin was never going to work. Whatever success he may have achieved in a year or so would have been completely submarined by having to find his replacement so shortly after the Groobers’ dumpster fire. There was too much instability at the time. Too many questions about where this program was headed. Too few east coast recruiting relationships fostered by an out of touch, west coast bozo. Kiffin’s condescending, know-it-all attitude would have also ruffled enough feathers to stuff a pillow for every empty bleacher seat at the Dome.
So here we stand. USC is a national champion contender. Syracuse is fighting for the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl. But just remember Kiffin wouldn’t have fit at SU. We dodged a bullet.