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Source: Kiffin will coach at Tennessee

November 29, 2008|Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee has reached a tentative agreement with former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin to lead the Volunteers, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Friday.

A formal announcement was expected early next week, said the person, who requested anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.

Kiffin, 33, replaces Phillip Fulmer, who was forced out after 17 seasons as Tennessee's coach. Fulmer won a national championship in 1998 but had two losing seasons in the last five years, including a 4-7 record this season.

Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton did not return a phone message seeking comment and a school spokesperson declined to comment.

The Volunteers (4-7, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) play host to Kentucky (6-5, 2-5) on Saturday night in what has been dubbed "Phillip Fulmer appreciation day."

The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported the Kiffin deal.

Kiffin was the youngest coach in the NFL's modern history when hired at 31 in January 2007 to lead the Raiders.

The son of longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had a rocky relationship with Oakland owner Al Davis, who fired him Sept. 30 for what Davis said was insubordination. Kiffin had a 5-15 record with the Raiders.

Kiffin has filed a grievance with the NFL to claim salary he maintains he is owed by the team.

Kiffin spent seven seasons as an assistant at USC under Coach Pete Carroll, including two as recruiting and offensive coordinator.

Tennessee announced Nov. 3 that Fulmer, 58, would not return next season. He has a 151-52 record as coach.

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