January 20, 2010
Like a lot of campuses in the South, Tennessee prefers to keep its football heroes at the front of its mind: One drive along the Tennessee River will take you through Phillip Fulmer Way, Peyton Manning Pass and Tee Martin Drive en route to the stadium named for the granddaddy of all Vols, Gen. Robert Neyland. Do right by UT, and you may come back to something with your name on it for the rest of your life.
At the moment, perhaps no major figure in school history has done as wrong by Tennessee as now-former coach Lane Kiffin, who abruptly slipped away in the middle of the night last week for his dream job at USC, abandoning a proud program after a single mediocre season and briefly turning the Knoxville campus into a borderline riot zone as Kiffin staged his escape. Still, at least one Vol fan is willing to commemorate the brief Kiffin era at Tennessee, by putting the coach's name on the most appropriate building he could think of:
Knoxville attorney Drew McElroy has filed paperwork with the Knoxville City Council's Public Properties and Facilities Naming Committee to rename a waste water treatment plant the "Lane Kiffin Sewage Center."
McElroy said after driving down Neyland Drive and seeing all the history, it hit him. Renaming the Kuwahee Wastewater Treatment Plant would be the best way to let Kiffin know he understands why the coach left.
"It dawned on me--Lane Kiffin told us that he hoped the fans would understand. I thought 'Well, naming the wastewater plant for him would let him know, I think very clearly, we do understand,'" McElroy, an off-and-on season ticket holder, said. "We want to memorialize his stay here, and I think this would be doing it appropriately."
McElroy ponied up the $262 filing fee himself, but any changes to the treatment plant's name may take a while: The relevant committee only meets a few times a year. Given the widespread sentiment in Knoxville over the last seven days, though, I suspect the Kiffin hate can wait as long as it needs to for its day in city hall.
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Hat tip: Larry Brown Sports, via The Wiz.