Those two coaches are Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and USC’s Lane Kiffin. Kiffin was in his only season as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Meanwhile Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators were coming off their second National Championship in the last three seasons.
To make strides in recruiting publicity, Kiffin made some disparaging comments about Meyer and his Gator program. Kiffin started the feud by stating “I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him,” in regard to a recruit that ended up committing to Tennessee.
Kiffin left for USC one year later, while Meyer spent one season out of the coaching profession only to return two months ago in Columbus. Both seem to have forgiven the other. Kiffin apologized and Meyer reciprocated by admitting he may have acted “childish” too.
Both coaches are now in places they always dreamed of coaching. But it took different routes and NCAA violations to make it happen. When Kiffin left Tennessee for USC, it was after Pete Carroll left for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. That was before the NCAA slapped the Trojans with the two year ban on post season play.
Urban Meyer was a graduate assistant under Earle Bruce with the Buckeyes in the early 80’s. If it wasn’t for Jim Tressel’s mistaken gamble of not alerting his bosses of the Famous Five’s tattoo violations, Meyer would still be retired. But once Tressel stepped down, the only choice for the Buckeye’s was Meyer.
Now these coaches talk 2-3 times per week. Meyer has picked Kiffin’s brain on how to work through an NCAA probationary period. Ohio State has a one year bowl ban issued by the NCAA.
The Trojans right now are widely considered to be the No. 1 team in the country going into the 2012 season. The Buckeyes just landed a Top 10 recruiting class despite finishing 6-7 in 2011. These coaches have worked hard this off season to bring in young talent. Thus the general consensus is it won’t be long before these two teams are back to dominating the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively.