Tag Archive | "Lane Kiffin"

Titans suing USC and Kiffin but not Pola?

The Tennessee Titans filed a civil lawsuit against USC and its football coach Lane Kiffin arising out of the school’s hiring of Kennedy Pola, the Titans’ running back coach.

They did not include coach Pola in the suit. The question is why.

This is a breach of contract case if pursued against Pola since the filed documents make clear that the assistant coach’s obligations were to notify his employer and obtain written permission to merely enter into discussions with a third party looking to employ him.

The case against the Titans alleges that they maliciously interfered with a contract they knew about including knowledge of the terms. There is case law in the state of Tennessee that allows for such a claim in addition to a state statute.

Money damages are sought including punitive amounts for the malicious nature of what the Titans believe occurred. And therein lies the only reasonable explanation of why Pola has been spared, at least for now.

Deep pockets are needed for cases like this, first for legal fees and then a potential settlement or a jury verdict if it even gets that far. Pola reportedly was paid $400,000 under the terms of his Titans deal, coming in pay checks just like all of us get from time to time.

USC, on the other hand is worth a whole heck of a lot more, as is Kiffin.

Kiffin will surely have to face the wrath of incoming Athletic Director, Pat Haden, who takes office on August 3. He can’t be happy to start his term by having to untangle another mess brought on by remnants of the bad old days at USC.

Lawsuits such as these can be dismissed prior to getting into the nitty-gritty of depositions and exchange of internal documents and communications. It isn’t likely this will be the case in this instance.

The case states the minimum it has to for a smell test and key facts are what is at issue. Did USC really know that Pola had to ask permission to leave? Were they informed that verbal approval was insufficient to proceed?

Those kinds of things require fact finding that will open USC and Kiffin to producing texts, phone records, emails and testimony about how in less than 48 hours, a man with a contract left his employer and joined another, without proper notice and approval.

Stay tuned..

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Duffy's Court, NCAA, NFL, Recent BuzzComments (0)

Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week goes to Lane Kiffin

The Tennessee Titans dropped USC coach Lane Kiffin down to one knee with a back-handed bitch-slap when they filed court docs to sue him for “maliciously” luring assistant coach Kennedy Pola just days before NFL training camp opens. But if history repeats itself, Kiffin will spring back up.

The docs were filed by Tennessee Football Inc., the company that owns the Titans. The lawsuit accuses both USC and Kiffin of violating Pola’s contract, a contract that required him to have written permission to discuss a job with anyone.

This details surrounding this latest incident indicate Kiffin may be up to his shit-stirring ways again and he may not be done leaving his trail.

After becoming the youngest NFL head coach to be hired, then fired, by Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders, a bitter legal battle followed that ordeal. Shortly after that head-butting battle, the controversial coach galloped into the University of Tennessee like a knight in shining armor with his dad, Monte riding in the saddle behind him.

While the dust was still settling from his arrival, he called out University of Florida coach Urban Myer accusing him of recruiting violations and followed that charade with a campaign that included placing billboards around the country proclaiming how his UT program was king of the SEC.

The orange faithful were eating it up. That is until their savior decided to wad up his contract, throw it in the garbage and dump his duties in Knoxville to head west to take a job with the USC Trojans, a job created after Pete Carroll bolted.

Feeling deserted, as they should have, the fans had a few mattress-burning parties and defaced several Knoxville “monuments” like the one pictured here. Once the tears dried up, Tennesseans began moving on, until this latest incident with the Titans.

The lawsuit charges that:

“USC and Kiffin maliciously intended to—and did—induce Pola to breach the Pola contract.”

The suit goes on to state, “USC and Kiffin engaged in improper means in their procurement of the breach and were not legally justified in their actions. Kiffin and USC’s actions, through him, were part of a course and pattern of conduct fostered by Kiffin and USC to use improper methods and means to the direct harm and damage of parties to contracts.”

Titans coach Jeff Fisher, a Southern California alumnus, threw in a couple bitch-slaps of his own showing his displeasure in Kiffin’s actions. Fisher felt slighted and possibly pissed off about never receiving a customary courtesy phone call to let him know they were interested in talking to one of his assistants.

The lawsuit slams Kiffin accusing the coach of intentional actions regarding this case.

In a recent interview with the Tennessean newspaper, Fisher also discussed Kiffin’s lack of professionalism which is not the first time that topic has come up.

The lawsuit requests a jury trial now picture that. A bench full of people decked out in bright orange sitting across from the man who just screwed and set back their college football program. If there’s ever been justification to move a trial to another state . . .

Used with permission of the author.

Jay Donetelli is a Tampa-based freelance sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax. With an opinion sharper than an Ovechkin skate blade with the sting of an Ali jab, Donetelli has a loyal cult of readers who have found a way to love him.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Bitch Slaps, NCAA, The Mosh PitComments (0)

Carroll bolts USC, NCAA hammer comes down

When I picture USC execs standing to face the music and have to accept the sentences for their NCAA crimes, a caricature scenario runs through my mind that includes ex-Trojans football coach Pete Carroll driving off in the getaway car leaving his fellow cronies behind to take the beating.

Carroll’s name has come up around the NFL regarding coaching vacancies several times over the years since he returned to an NCAA bench but he never took any offers seriously enough to leave until this off-season.

When it was announced Carroll would be leaving USC to return to the NFL, the NCAA allegations against USC were long out there with investigations dragging out over several years, so the timing of him shedding his Cardinal and Gold comes into question.

Being behind the Trojans bench this year would have been a disaster since the sanctions include a two-year ban from participating in a bowl game, the loss of 20 scholarships and sacrificing wins over the past several years. The L.A. Times has all the sanctions listed here.

Good luck recruiting with your hands tied like that.

The records for top NCAA football programs after being issued harsh sentences have produced grim results in the past. The five-year conference records for Alabama Crimson Tide was (21-14), OU (17-15-2) and Auburn (18-22) after being penalized by the NCAA and after an impressive winning run, the University of Miami took several years to dig out of a hole after they were slammed with sanctions.

It’s all about recruiting in college ball which is basically the minor league of the NFL. Elite high school players get lured to whatever schools can get them the most exposure to the NFL scouts.

So what’s going on in Knoxville then? Where Lane Kiffin left the University of Tennessee hanging just as the team was making its way around the corner from a dark, dingy alley they had been stuck in for several years.

Be assured there will be some heavy partying at that campus when Kiffin learns his recruiting has suddenly become so difficult.

Kiffin is known as one of the kings of recruiting and even went as far as sending hot looking babes in skimpy outfits to high school games and events trying to lure top prospects to UT during his short stay.

While all this is happening in Southern California, the caricature comes back to mind and I picture Carroll glancing back in the rear view mirror of the getaway car, well out of danger, heading toward sunnier skies in Seattle.

MORE: L.A. Times Lists All Sanctions Here

Copyright © 2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in NCAAComments (2)

Revolving Door for Fired and Hired NFL Coaches

The revolving door to NFL head coaching positions has been spinning out of control since the end of last season with Marinelli11 head coaching changes occurring and several more being anticipated.Four teams started the NFL disposable coach act prior to the start of the season.

The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins all handed headsets to rookie head coaches Mike Smith, John Harbaugh, Tony Sparano and Jim Zorn.

Other teams reminded us how impatient owners can be in a 16 game NFL season when the axe was swung and three other head coaches were sent packing early. The St. Louis Rams’ Scott Linehan and Oakland Raiders’ Lane Kiffin got canned after just Week 4 and San Fran 49ers’ head coach Mike Nolan was asked to hand in his headset after Week 7.

While those three teams were setting up interviews at the
close of the season, several others were sharpening their axe. Detroit, Denver, Cleveland and the New York Jets barely got back into the office on the Monday following the regular season when they were filling out pink slips.

The Rod Marinelli (Lions 0-16) and Romeo Crennel (Browns 4-12) firings came as no surprise but seeing Eric Mangini (Jets 9-7) and Mike Shanahan (Broncos 8-8) get their walking papers was less expected.

Mangini turned the Jets into an AFC East contender with a 9-7 record this season. Getting upset by the visiting Miami Dolphins and losing a chance of winning the division title at home the final game of the season put his head on the chopping block.

The math is simple and when you do it, it reminds you how the NFL head coaching occupation comes with very little job security. There were 11 head coaching changes out of 32 teams in 2008 with speculation of other coaches like Jim Zorn (Redskins) and interims Jim Haslett (Rams) and Tom Cable (Raiders) being replaced before the 2009 season.

The 49ers did sign interim head coach Mike Singletary to a four-year $10 million contract after his team went 5-4 over the nine games he sidelined after Nolan was fired.

Singletary joined in the fray right away and fired his offensive coordinator Mike Martz. It must be contagious.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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NFL Week Five

Pitt at Jax – In a rematch of last year’s AFC wild-card game that the Jags won 31-29 in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will try to repay the favor and take it to the Jags in sunny Florida.That will be quite a challenge with a depleted running game and questionable ‘O’ line. Running backs Willie Parker is out with a knee and first-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall is out for the season. The Jaguars sacked Big Ben six times and picked him off three in that 31-29 game. Things to watch for: Big Ben running for his life. The Jag cheerleaders who are some of the hottest in the league.

Oakland Bye Week – Since Raiders owner Al Davis fired Coach Lane Kiffin, the two are locked into a soap-opera style dispute over the remainder of Kiffen’s $3.5 million salary.

Davis referred to Kiffin as a “flat-out liar” and accused him of “disgracing the organization.” Kiffin responded by saying he was “hurt and saddened” by what he heard from Davis, saying he was “kind of embarrassed for Davis, to be honest with you.”

Davis is also accused of denying Kiffin the opportunity to say good-bye and hold a final meeting with his players. Things to watch for: Kiffin getting the money he’s owed and Davis continuing to make himself look like a senile old bastard.

Chicago at Detroit Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris is suspended for today’s Norris Division match-up against the 0-3 Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. Harris was docked by the team for showing up late for rehab and a meeting earlier in the week. Harris, who sat out practice this week due to an injury wasn’t expected to play anyways.

Chicago players, Tillman, Vasher and Booker also did not practice most of the week due to injuries and it is unclear which of these players will be on the field against the cowardly Lions.

As Lions fans continue their raucous celebration of GM Matt Millen’s ouster to the tune of ‘Ding dong, the witch is dead’, could this be the upset of the week?

With Millen gone, Joe Barry, defensive coordinator and son-in-law of Coach Ron Marinelli, may begin to get more attention from lynch-mobbing Lions fans if his defense gives up another quick 21 points at the start of the game. Thing to watch for: Freshly painted “Fire Barry” Signs in the stands and ‘Fire Millen” T-shirts specials outside the stadium for 70% off.

Copyright © 2008 – Sports Climax

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NFL Owners Swinging the Axe Early

ST. LOUIS – Some NFL owners are making a very strong statement this year . . . win now or pack your bags. The first victim of the axe, which was five years overdue, was Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen.

During Week Three, Mike Martz and the San Fran 49ers threw a can a’ whoop-ass on Millen’s Lions. A few days later, with a little coaxing from his son, Bill Jr., Owner William Ford gave the dysfunctional Millen his walking papers.

For years, Millen put bad teams, followed by worse teams onto the field, drafting an assembly line of wide receivers and first-round flops.

Yesterday, the St. Louis Rams followed suit and fired their third-year coach, Scott Linehan. The Rams are the only team that may be worse than the Lions this year and after starting 0-4, Linehan got the axe.

Oakland Raiders Coach, Lane Kiffin is another coach that is sitting on a white-hot burner right now. Kiffin’s Raiders lost to the Chargers Sunday to drop to 1-3 putting his job in more jeopardy than last week. One of the hottest rumors around the league, prior to this loss, was that Kiffen was getting the boot from Owner Al Davis.

Payrolls and overhead have gotten out of hand and owners have such huge investments in their organizations, they expect a return. With a short 16 game season, a slow start out the gate can put these owner’s “investments” in an improbable position for finding success.

With Kiffin hanging on by a thread and other coaches like Marvin Lewis, Rod Marinelli and Romeno Crennell struggling to put a team on the field that even remotely resembles an NFL squad, expect a few more coaches to be ducking the axe early in this NFL season.

Copyright © 2008 – Sports Climax

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