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Houston official: Lane Kiffin was 'not a safe hire'...

on 12/11/2016

Crimson Tide Football:

A Houston official got into his car Friday night and turned to a sports talk radio show.

Upon doing so, he heard the host of the show critiquing Houston's decision to pass on Alabama offensive coordinator
Lane Kiffin for its head coach opening and instead hire Major Applewhite

So that official, Houston board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta, called into the show on KILT-AM in Houston and explained and defended the decision.

Houston announced the hiring of Applewhite Friday morning.

Kiffin was one of three finalists for the job. USA Today reported Thursday that Houston officials had made the decision to hire Kiffin pending the school president's approval. 


Fertitta told KILT-AM that wasn't true and that Kiffin was never any closer to being hired than either of the other two finalists.

"
Lane Kiffin did not show me anything that Major Applewhite did not show me," Fertitta said on KILT-AM. "Sure, he's been a head coach, and he's been an OK head coach. But I can tell you this: It was not a safe hire."

Fertitta interviewed Kiffin twice, including once in New York.

Some factors that worked against Kiffin according to Fertitta? 


Applewhite, who was Houston's offensive coordinator the last two seasons under Tom Herman, gives Houston continuity. 

According to Fertitta, Houston players and recruits all said they wanted Applewhite to be the head coach. So did a lot of Texas high school coaches, according to Fertitta.

"
The Texas high school football coaches bombarded our athletic director and said, 'We want our kids to play for Major Applewhite,'" Fertitta shared. 

"Here's a guy that's been on the big stage. He was the quarterback at the University of Texas. He has a great relationship with the coaches and high school football in Texas. Lane does not. That was an X against Lane compared to Major."

It was "
just one thing after another that had steamrolled for Major," Fertitta said. That's why Houston officials decided to pass on Kiffin in favor of Applewhite.

"
When all this started, I thought that we needed to go out and get a name-brand coach because, to me, it's all about brands," Fertitta said. 

"Nobody understands that better than me. And I wanted the University of Houston to stay relevant. OK? I think Les Miles is a fine coach, and he's going to be a great coach for somebody, and I think the same thing of Lane Kiffin. I was very impressed. But when I looked at the whole picture and totality, I truly think in my heart -- and so did everybody else on the committee think -- that Major Applewhite was the right fit."


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