Lane Kiffin Fired as USC Trojans Head Coach
Lane Kiffin has been removed from his post as head coach of USC's football team following the team's 62-41 loss to Arizona State on Saturday night.
The athletic department announced the decision on Twitter:
Breaking news: Lane Kiffin has been relieved of his duties as USC's head football coach per AD Pat Haden.— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 29, 2013
The school confirmed that Ed Orgeron is the interim head coach, via Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times:
Ed Orgeron is officially named the interim head coach for USC.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 29, 2013
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman adds that Jack Del Rio is considered a strong option to replace Kiffin:
NFL team officials are insisting Jack Del Rio among top, if not the top, candidate to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 29, 2013
Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News says that Kiffin chose to be fired instead of leaving on his own:
Lane Kiffin was given option to resign but instead chose termination, per #USC sources— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 30
Chip Patterson of CBS Sports has an update from USC athletic director Pat Haden who went on ESPN Radio and discussed the team's coaching search:
USC athletic director Pat Haden has been on the media tour since dismissing head football coach Lane Kiffin in the early hours of Sunday morning. HIs message, which is to be expected, is not to expect any developments in the near future.
"You can't forget your current team," Haden said Monday on ESPN Radio. "I don't want to be talking publicly about searches for the next three months while we have eight games to play and a senior class that deserves my support and respect and effort and energy."
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 29
From Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times:
Haden: "This has been a hard day for all of us...I believe this decision is the best for USC."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 29, 2013
Haden: "(Kiffin) is a great recruiter. He really battled me, he tried to keep his job."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 29, 2013
Haden: "I'd say the team's reaction was great."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 29, 2013
From Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com:
USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron: "I want to tell you as a coaching staff, we're here to answer the bell."— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) September 29, 2013
Pat Haden: I really don't want to talk about a coaching search now. I think it's disrespectful to our team. It's in our future, not now.— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) September 29, 2013
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 29
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee discusses who's likely to be head coach at USC after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin:
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 29
ESPN's Shelley Smith reported on SportsCenter that Kiffin was informed of his termination on the plane ride from Arizona. That was confirmed by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne:
USC's press release announcing Kiffin had been fired was issued at 4:35 am. Haden informed Kiffin when the team's charter landed back in LA.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 29, 2013
Lane Kiffin got pulled off the team bus at Los Angeles International Airport by Pat Haden when he was fired #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
I'm told Lane Kiffin told the bus to wait but then #USC administrators told it to go back to campus without him— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
Pat Haden, J.K. McKay, Steve Lopes, Mark Jackson (#USC administrators) met with Lane Kiffin at LAX parking lot to dismiss him— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
If you want specifics, Lane Kiffin was fired right outside Landmark Aviation terminal at LAX #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
I'm told the decision to fire Lane Kiffin was made during the third quarter of the loss to Arizona State #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
Here is what happened: A.D. Pat Haden and three administrators including J.K. McKay left game and huddled in small room during 3rd Q #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
Lane Kiffin's career at USC comes to an end after less than four seasons with a record of 28-15. He guided the program through a period of NCAA sanctions, but the results last season and the early portion of this season were enough for the Trojans to move in another direction.
The program was hoping for a major bounce-back effort in 2013, but the Trojans are just 3-2 through five games, including a pair of conference losses. They rank 84th in points scored and 43rd in points allowed.
Wolf reports that several players are fine with USC's decision to move on from Kiffin:
Several #USC players I've spoken to are not unhappy with firing of Lane Kiffin— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
The loss to the Sun Devils was clearly the final straw, but it was long overdue, according to many USC fans.
As the frustrating results continued, the attention quickly shifted to Kiffin. He was on the hot seat in recent weeks and wasn't able to turn things around.
Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles passed along comments from Kiffin after the loss to Arizona State, which showed his awareness of his precarious position:
Kiffin understands that the talk about his job status will ratchet up this week with USC having a bye week after its worst performance of the season.
"I'm fine with that," Kiffin said. "I have been dealing with that for 12 months. That's fine. That's the last thing I'm worried about. We have to find a way to coach better and play better and get our backups ready."
Kiffin guided the team to a 10-2 campaign in 2011. Paired with what appeared to be a strong recruiting effort, the team was ranked No. 1 in the country in the AP poll heading into the 2012 season.
It was all downhill from there.
The Trojans didn't come anywhere close to matching the hype last year, finishing with a 7-6 record after a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. The team failed to show any signs of serious progress in the early portion of the new season as well.
George Schroeder of USA Today wasn't surprised by Kiffin's exit, but the way it happened caught him off guard:
You knew it wasn't going to end well for Lane Kiffin. You didn't know it was going to end now. As in the wee hours Sunday morning.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) September 29, 2013
Chris Peak of Panther-Lair.com said it takes guts for USC to make the move at this point in the season, but he thinks it will help the search for a new coach:
It's a ballsy move to fire a coach 5 games into the season, but USC now has a huge jump start on every other coaching search.— Chris Peak (@PantherLair) September 29, 2013
Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde says Kiffin had it coming, but he was also surprised by the swiftness of athletic director Pat Haden:
Not sure Pat Haden even waited for the team plane to get back to Los Angeles to fire Kiffin. Wow. He certainly had it coming.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) September 29, 2013
Given the program's lack of success in recent years, this was a decision that needed to be made.
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