Pearl volunteers: ‘I miss Lane Kiffin’

Lane Kiffin still has at least one fan in the Volunteer State.

Kiffin, now the coach at Southern Cal, rankled a lot of University of Tennessee football fans in January when he left after one season in Knoxville.

But Vols basketball coach Bruce Pearl apparently would welcome Kiffin back with open arms.

"I’ve made mistakes, I clearly did," Pearl said Monday while addressing the Knoxville Quarterback Club, "but what I was hoping for was that some other dumbass would get on the front page and take me off the hook.

"I miss Lane Kiffin."

The room erupted with laughter, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel’s GoVolsXtra.com, at the mention of Kiffin, who left Tennessee after compiling a 7-6 record in his only season with the Vols. Kiffin’s USC Trojans take a 7-5 record into their sason finale against UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The Trojans are ineligible for a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions.

And that also makes Kiffin and Pearl kindred spirits.

Pearl has been suspended for UT’s first eight conference games by the Southeastern Conference for violating NCAA rules and misleading investigators.

"If I’m not as funny as I was a year ago, there’s a reason for that, We’ve had a lot of things going on," said Pearl, who was a fill-in at the QB Club last year when Kiffin backed out on his scheduled appearance.

After thanking Vols fans Monday for their suppport, Pearl apologized, saying he "brought embarrassment to our university and I’m humiliated and embarrassed by it."