Orange County Thoughts- Kiffin FIRED- out as USC football coach
by Tony Leocadio
on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 12:35pm.
Lane Kiffin has been fired as USC’s football coach following Saturday night’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State, the university announced Sunday morning.
According to a USC news release, Athletic Director Pat Haden told Kiffin about his termination upon the team charter’s arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning.
Coach Lane Kiffin, shown here reacting to a play from Saturday night's 62-41 loss to Arizona State, learned early Sunday morning that he has been fired by USC athletic director Pat Haden.
CHRISTIAN PETERSEN, GETTY IMAGES
Haden announced Sunday morning that he will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. at the John McKay Center.
There is no immediate word on who will serve as the interim replacement for Kiffin for the final eight games of the regular season. Assistant head coach Ed Orgeron would have to be considered a strong option, given that he previously coached at Mississippi (2005-07).
Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is also an experienced coach but has no head-coaching experience.
Haden and USC president Max Nikias attended the Arizona State game and were talking privately on the USC sideline at the end of the game, one in which USC allowed 28 consecutive third-quarter points.
It's a stunning fall for Kiffin, a former USC assistant coach who returned as head coach in Jan. 2010. Hired in the middle of NCAA sanctions, Kiffin had a record of 28-15 but, at least publicly, had Haden's heavy support.
Exactly two months ago, Haden, in a video message to USC fans, declared that Kiffin was not on the ''hot seat'' after USC's 7-6 record last season. In a five-minute video statement released by USC, Haden gave a lengthy, spirited defense of Kiffin.
On Sept. 11, just four days after a loss to Washington State, Haden spoke to a USC journalism class and compared Kiffin's situation to that of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
''Don’t give up on this team and don’t give up on this season,'' Haden said. ''You’ve just got to stay positive. Don Mattingly was nearly run out of town two months ago. He really was. Then they had an incredible hot streak.''
That hot streak never arrived for Kiffin. The Trojans have lost seven of their last 11 games. USC is 3-2 this year and has lost both of its Pac-12 games.
Haden faced significant pressure, from a segment of fans and boosters, to fire Kiffin after last season, but the coach survived and made some changes to his coaching staff.
Kiffin retained offensive play-calling studies, a sticking point for many who believed that he should have hired a true offensive coordinator, but did make a major change on defense.
Kiffin's father, Monte, quit after last's Sun Bowl loss and was replaced by Pendergast, Cal's former defensive coordinator, who installed a new defense that had early success.
USC allowed a total of only 44 points in its first four games but then allowed 62 against Arizona State, which tied the USC ''record'' for most points scored by an opponent in a single game. Oregon scored 62 points against USC last season.
USC said Haden will hold a press conference on campus on Sunday afternoon at a time and place to be announced.