Lane Kiffin Fired: Latest Rumors and Buzz Surrounding USC's Head Coaching Hunt
Updates from Monday, Dec. 2
Ruth Robbins of RealDawg.com is reporting that USC has hired Steve Sarkisian:
This news come following Sarkisian's denial of having interviewed for the USC job, but later two very reliable sources both in the UW and USC circles confirmed that this is where things stand as of right now.
It's been also thought that the Huskies will go the direction of keeping much of their coaching staff in place, and elevating Justin Wilcox to the position of head coach, but right now there is no confirmation of that.
The report was later confirmed by Joe Schad of ESPN:
Steve Sarkisian has accepted the USC head coaching position— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 2, 2013
Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News had more on the situation:
#USC finalizing deal to hire Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, according to sources. More coming on this— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) December 2, 2013
This explains why #USC researched fan reaction to Pete Carroll hire. Sure to be mixed reaction to Steve Sarkisian— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) December 2, 2013
#USC sent contract to Steve Sarkisian. I'm told not signed and sealed yet. More to come— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) December 2, 2013
Just a history footnote: #USC sent Jack Del Rio contract in 2010. He did not take the job— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) December 2, 2013
Updates from Sunday, Dec. 1:
Joe Schad of ESPN has a major update as the search continues:
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and Boise State coach Chris Petersen are top candidates for the USC opening and the search may be completed by the middle of this week, according to sources.
USC has made it known to interim coach Ed Orgeron that they value his contribution to the program and would like him to stay with the program in some capacity.
Updates from Thursday, Nov. 21:
Lane Kiffin came out in support of his successor, Ed Orgeron as he auditions to be the permanent head coach of USC (via Arash Markazi of ESPN):
Kiffin on next USC coach: "That's easy. That's already done. It should be Ed Orgeron. How can you argue what he's done?"— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 21, 2013
Updates from Sunday, Nov. 17:
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reports USC interviewed Jack Del Rio for the Trojans' head coaching position:
USC Pat Hayden flew to Denver two weeks ago and interviewed Jack Del Rio for their head coaching job. Interview was ironically day b4 John Fox had his incident
After the Broncos beat the Chiefs on Sunday night, Del Rio talked about the interview via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post:
Jack Del Rio says USC requested permission and flew to Denver to interview him. He calls it "an honor" to be considered.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) November 18, 2013
Scott Wolf of The Los Angeles Daily News reports that Kevin Sumlin is the Trojans' new top target:
USC hopes to hire its next football coach in December, and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has emerged as the top target, according to sources.
Sumlin, who has won 30 games the past 2 1/2 seasons at Houston and Texas A&M, is also mentioned as a possible candidate at Texas and is one of the hottest names in coaching. There could be a bidding war after the season and he might even draw interest from NFL teams.
USC’s search is still in an early stage, but the Trojans have also reached out to former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, sources said.
Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied twice in the past month that he interviewed with USC. Meanwhile, USC athletic director Pat Haden has not acknowledged interviewing any candidates for the job.
From Jay Glazer of Fox Sports:
Just heard from Lovie Smith who was taken aback by report he interviewed for USC. Says absolutely did not and has zero interest— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 3, 2013
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports previously reported the latest options USC has interest in as the search for a new head coach continues:
USC, seeking a replacement for fired coach Lane Kiffin, has already interviewed former Bears coach Lovie Smith for the position, according to a league source. It would ideally love to land former Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden, but that won't be happening.
Sources said that University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was well positioned to land that position, though a recent three-game losing streak may have cooled his star some. Gruden, if he returns to the sidelines from the broadcast booth, would most likely do so at the pro level
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 14
From Lovie Smith's agent and IMG Client Manager Matt Smith:
While USC would be an incredible opportunity, Lovie Smith did not interview for that opening. Any reports to the contrary are false.— Matt Smith (@Matt_Smith_IMG) October 14, 2013
UPDATE: Saturday, Oct. 12
NFL.com's Dan Greenspan has the latest from Pat Haden:
Orgeron has focused on bringing energy, emotion and fun back to the Trojans, which carried through their 38-31 win over Arizona on Thursday night. Athletic director Pat Haden said afterward that Orgeron would be a candidate to replace Kiffin on a full-time basis, but would not discuss any criteria by which that decision might come.
"Let's worry about next week," Haden said.
"It's only been a week. We'll all be happy until we aren't happy."
UPDATE: Friday, Oct. 11
From ESPN Radio's Brock Huard:
Paul Finebaum just told us on our radio show that target number one according to his sources for USC.......Steve Sarkisian— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) October 11, 2013
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 7
Jordan Moore of USCTrojans.com has a huge update about the status of the school's search for a new head coach:
USC has been alerted that individuals posing as USC representatives made overtures to two coaches regarding the Trojans' head coaching position.
In one instance, a person falsely identifying himself as a high-ranking member of the USC athletic department attempted to make contact several times with the Denver Broncos' coaching staff to discuss the Trojan job. That person has been identified by USC and appropriate action is being taken.
In another, someone claiming to represent USC reached out to a contact of former NFL head coach and current NBC broadcaster Tony Dungy, who said on today's Dan Patrick Show that he had no interest in the Trojan job. That person, again not a representative of USC, also has been identified and USC is in the process of contacting that individual.
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 3
Jack Del Rio refused to speak about the USC job at Broncos practice on Thursday, according to the Associated Press:
Asked if he'd been contacted by USC, the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator said, "No. No. No, there's nothing to speak on that subject. I'm really here to talk about the Cowboys and our preparation in getting ready for them."
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 3
Mike Garofolo of Fox Sports is reporting that after firing Lane Kiffin last weekend, USC reached out to former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford about joining the coaching staff:
USC wanted the former University of California coach to help out Clay Helton, who is in his first year as offensive coordinator and is now in sole control of the offense.
The offer to Tedford came with a suggestion he would be considered a candidate during the head-coaching search that's expected to commence in the coming weeks. The source said Tedford, who is focused on finding his next full-time position, declined the school's offer, but would still be interested in replacing Kiffin on a permanent basis.
UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 30
Mike Klis of The Denver Post cleared the air regarding the report that Jack Del Rio was seen at LAX after the Broncos' Week 4 win against the Eagles:
John Fox on report last night Jack Del Rio was spotted at LAX: "He was not in LAX. He was actually at Del Frisco's when that came out.''— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) September 30, 2013
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 29
The Denver Broncos played the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sunday. Yet for some reason, Patrick Sullivan, the University of Houston's tennis coach, saw defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio at the LAX airport:
Just spotted Jack Del Rio in LAX #USC— Patrick Sullivan (@coachPSully) September 30, 2013
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 29
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee dishes on who USC could hire to be head coach after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin:
B/R's own insider, Mike Freeman, reports that Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is among the top candidates, if not the No. 1 choice, to replace Kiffin at the helm:
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 corroborates Freeman's intel, but lists out several other enticing options, including St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, longtime Boise State coach Chris Petersen. Vanderbilt's James Franklin is the apparent No. 1 choice, though:
Current #USC coaching candidates: 1. James Franklin (Vandy), 2. Jeff Fisher (Rams), 3. Jack Del Rio, 4. Chris Petersen (Boise)— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 29, 2013
Franklin is an offensive-minded coach like Kiffin and has kept the Commodores competitive since arriving in 2011, taking the team to two bowl games in his first two seasons.
The Rams had reasonably high expectations entering this season, but a 1-3 start and two ugly losses has Fisher in an interesting position where he might consider the USC job if things don't turn around in St. Louis.
Del Rio played for the Trojans as a linebacker and would give the program more of a hard-nosed identity, which is what might also attract the administration to a coach like Fisher.
NFL.com's Gil Brandt seems to believe that Del Rio will indeed be the next man up to run the Trojans. However, NBCSports.com's Chris Huston is speaking against the current sentiment that seems to imply USC favoring Del Rio:
Don't be surprised if Jack del Rio is next #USC coach. Said that months ago, sticking to it.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 29, 2013
Jack Del Rio may want to be USC's head coach, but USC doesn't want Del Rio. Trojans are not going to hire an NFL guy or guy with USC ties.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) September 29, 2013
Joan Niesen of The Denver Post reports that Del Rio would not leave the Broncos during this season:
A team source told The Denver Post Sunday morning that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will not leave the team during the 2013 season. Del Rio’s name has come up as a possible target for USC in its search for a new head football coach; the team fired Lane Kiffin after its Saturday loss to Arizona State.
Del Rio’s contract with Denver is up in February, and whether he stays with the Broncos or pursues a job elsewhere remains to be seen.
Petersen seems like a bit of a long shot, so it makes sense that he's fourth on Wolf's list. Having remained at Boise since 2011, it would be quite a surprise if he fled the Broncos now.
USC dropped to 0-2 in the Pac-12 with a 62-41 loss to Arizona State in what turned out to be Kiffin's final game.
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