Eric Berry recalls night when Lane Kiffin left Tennessee for Southern Cal
Former Tennessee star safety and current Kansas City Chiefs starter Eric Berry was at the Chattanooga Convention Center to speak about his recovery from cancer — among other things — in front of a crowd of 1,300 on Thursday night.
Included in the “among other things” agenda was a story that he recalled about the night that Lane Kiffin (who currently serves as Alabama’s offensive coordinator) left his post as Tennessee’s head coach to fill the same position with Southern Cal.
“When everybody found out coach Kiffin was leaving, the campus became one big riot,” said Berry with a smile, according to the Times Free Press.
Berry said that the night Kiffin left, Monte Kiffin — who was the Vols’ defensive coordinator — was still hanging around the football complex when things started to get a little wild around campus.
“Everybody was burning mattresses and stuff,” said Berry. “Monte was in the football complex and he was in a panic. He wasn’t going to leave his office until the fires were out. And he didn’t. I think he slept there all night. I finally had to tell him, ‘Coach, they’re not going to do anything to you. It’s your son they’re after.'”
As for Monte, he ended up being just fine, following Lane at USC as the Trojans’ assistant head coach from 2010-12 before accepting a defensive coordinator position with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. Now 76 years old, he currently is an assistant on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ staff.
Lane, of course, was fired from his position at USC a few games into the 2013 season, but recently helped the Crimson Tide win the 2015-16 College Football Playoff national title.
Berry, who was a two-time All-American during his time with Tennessee (2007-09), won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2015 after winning his fight against cancer. He has already been named to four Pro Bowls in his young career.