At the SEC Media Days main room press conference on Tuesday, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin made his way to the stage as a head coach for the first time since being there with Tennessee 12 years ago.
Kiffin spent the majority of his time going through the expected Ole Miss football routine. However, there was one point when Kiffin diverted off the path and talked about another return to Tennessee. And in his words, Kiffin has hope that it’ll go better than the last time.
“That’ll be exciting to go back [to Tennessee],” Kiffin said at SEC Media Days, with a chuckle. “I’ve been back there as an assistant coach. I don’t know, I can’t predict it, I feel like it will not be welcoming but a little bit better than it was the last time as an assistant coach. It was definitely not welcoming.”
Tennessee football will host Ole Miss in the 2021 regular season. The Ole Miss Rebels will travel to Neyland Stadium for a matchup with Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 16.
On Oct. 25, 2014, Kiffin made his first official return to Neyland Stadium with Alabama. Kiffin had taken the offensive coordinator position for Nick Saban after being fired from USC in 2013.
However, this time around, Kiffin is expecting a toned-down response from the Tennessee fans. Well, slightly toned down at least. But regardless, Kiffin knows that no matter the topic, Tennessee fans are very vocal.
“It’s a passionate fan base,” Kiffin said about the Tennessee fans at SEC Media Days. “I loved our year there so it will be exciting to go back there. That is a special place, a special university, a special stadium, a special tradition.”
On July 7, 2021, Kiffin spoke to USA Today about his departure from Tennessee.
“It’s not like I was at Tennessee going, ‘OK, there’s 20 better jobs, and when one opens, I’m going,’” Kiffin said in an interview with Blake Toppmeyer of the USA Today Network.
Lane Kiffin will return to Tennessee for the first time as a head coach this October when the Rebels take on the Vols in Neyland Stadium. One thing is for sure though… the “passionate” Tennessee fans will almost certainly be in attendance for another Lane Kiffin appearance in Tennessee.