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Tennessee investigated Lane Kiffin's car accident last summer

New USC coach told Mike Hamilton that he fell asleep at the wheel.

January 20, 2010|By Ben Bolch

Reporting from Knoxville, Tenn. — Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton said Tuesday the university investigated rumors that have recently appeared on the Internet that Lane Kiffin had been drinking and was with female students at the time of a car accident last summer, but "we were never able to substantiate any of that."

Hamilton said Kiffin, who resigned as Tennessee's football coach last week to take the same position at USC, acknowledged being involved in the accident after it occurred in August and said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

"I had staff members verify that he was at the office until a certain time shortly before that and that he had fallen asleep," Hamilton said. "It was a late-night deal and I never was able to find out anything to the contrary."

Kiffin, through a USC athletic department spokesman, declined to comment on the accident.

A Lexus dealership in Knoxville, Tenn., released a statement Tuesday saying that Kiffin had been involved in a single-car accident in one of its vehicles. The statement said the "proper authorities" were contacted and Kiffin's insurance paid the damage claim.

Hamilton said his school's compliance office continues to investigate allegations of improper contact by former recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, who followed Kiffin to USC.

Staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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