Posted: 3:28 pm Saturday, February 7th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
After Lane Kiffin’s controversial and inaccurate comments Thursday morning, he spent the rest of the week apologizing … to everyone but Pahokee.
He made amends for that Saturday, sort of.
Kiffin called Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson to apologize for suggesting Thompson and the school would botch or forge Nu’Keese Richardson’s letter of intent.
“Somebody at the school was going to screw it up — the fax machine wouldn’t work or they would have changed the signatures,” Kiffin said Thursday. “All the things that go on in Pahokee, now.”
Thompson said Kiffin needed to retract his statement publicly, which has not yet been done. His phone call to Thompson is only half of the solution.
“He apologized and made no excuses,” Thompson said. “He’s doing what’s right and we appreciate it.
“I told him the town and the school need a public apology, since what he said earlier was public, and he said he would take care of it.”
But Thompson was reluctant to say even a public apology by Kiffin would completely rectify their relationship. Thompson was deeply offended by the comments and he will not forget, even if he forgives.
It’s also important to remember that Thompson wasn’t totally pleased with Kiffin or assistant coach Eddie Gran even before Thursday’s comments. Tennessee’s staff circumvented Thompson at critical points in Richardson’s recruitment and ignored standard recruiting practices and courtesies.
Thompson left the door open to Kiffin and his staff to continue recruiting his players, but Thompson will be keeping close watch on what happens in Knoxville in the near future.
“If he treats Nu’Keese right and doesn’t do something like this again, then yes, I’d say we’d send a kid to Tennessee — if he proves to be a good coach and a man of his word,” Thompson said.
Tennessee did not return a message seeking comment.