Last September, Lane Kiffin was coaching the No. 1 football team in America. This September? He’s out of a job. And as we’ve pointed out on numerous previous occasions, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy …
University of Southern California athletics director Pat Haden reportedly decided to fire Kiffin during the third quarter of the Trojans’ 62-41 loss to Arizona State. Kiffin was informed of the decision shortly after the team’s plane landed at Los Angeles International Airport. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, he was “pulled off a team bus and dismissed” by Haden.
Other reports claim Kiffin was fired on the plane.
Kiffin posted a 28-15 record in three-and-a-half seasons at Southern Cal. Prior to that he spent one year as head coach at Tennessee and a year-and-half as head coach of the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. His all-time head coaching record is 40-35.
University of South Carolina fans will recall Kiffin’s unsuccessful attempt to lure St. Matthews, S.C. wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to Tennessee four years ago.
According to Jeffery, Kiffin told him he would wind up “pumping gas for the rest of his life” if he attended the University of South Carolina (Jeffery, of course, is playing wide receiver for the Chicago Bears after rewriting the USC receiving record book).
Southern Cal defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron – who originated the “Wild Boys” fad during his brief stay with Kiffin at Tennessee – is expected to take over as interim head coach for the Trojans (3-2, 0-2 PAC 12). That’s curious considering it was Orgeron’s unit which gave up 62 points (and 612 yards) against Arizona State.
Oh well …
Southern Cal is reportedly considering Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio – who was an All-American linebacker at USC during the 1980s – as Kiffin’s replacement on a permanent basis. Del Rio posted a 68-71 record (including a 1-2 playoff mark) during his nine-year stint as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Trojans may also be looking at former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher – who starred at USC in the late 1970s under legendary head coach John Robinson (and was a member of the 1978 national championship squad).