Running backs coach Kennedy Pola is leaving the Tennessee Titans to become the offensive coordinator at USC — a move that surprised and dismayed Jeff Fisher.
Fisher, the Titans’ coach and a former Trojans player, told The Tennessean on Saturday that USC coach Lane Kiffin didn’t contact him during the hiring process. Fisher also said he learned of the move from Pola, who had only been with the Titans since January.
“I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin’s approach to this,” Fisher said. “Typically speaking when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.
“So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.”
Kiffin attempted to rectify the damage Saturday, finally reaching Fisher and discussing the abrupt move. Kiffin then issued a statement that didn’t exactly deny that he had breached protocol, saying he first spoke to Pola on Friday, then called Fisher on Saturday after Pola called him back, apparently to accept the job.
“I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events,” Kiffin said. “We realize the timing of this isn’t perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy.”
Later Saturday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Kiffin originally offered the job to Vikings running back coach Eric Bieniemy, who turned him down and notified Vikings coach Brad Childress on Thursday that we would stay with the team. One of the reasons that Bienemy chose to stay was because the team is scheduled to open training camp Friday.
“First off I felt I would have let my players down,” Bienemy said. “On top of that, I would have let my fellow coaches down and I would have let the organization down. There was a lot pulling at me. After having conversations with our head coach, with people in management and ownership this is the right place for me and the right decision.”
Bieniemy, who will continue to oversee Minnesota’s running backs, also has been given the title of assistant head coach/offense. Bieniemy is entering the first year of a two-year contract.
Pola’s departure leaves the Titans without a running backs coach one week before training camp opens. Fisher told The Tennessean he’ll promote a coach from within the Titans to replace Pola.
Original Article Courtesy of NFL.com
Topics: Coach Fisher, Jeff Fisher, Jeff Fisher Steamed At Lane Kiffin, Kennedy Pola Leaves Titans, Kennedy Pola. USC, Lane Kiffin, Lane Kiffin Steals Titans Coach, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, USC Steals Titans Coach