Apparently Pat Haden has at long last listened to the USC fans, alumni, and boosters – who have long had a reputation of being very influential – because just two months after the athletic director released a video say that he supported his football coach, Haden has relieved Lane Kiffin of his duties.
Recruiting Coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who has head coaching experience as he was once the head man at Mississippi, takes over on an interim basis.
According to ESPN’s Sports Center, Haden made the decision to fire Kiffin during the third quarter of the Trojans’ 62-41 blowout loss at the hands of Arizona State in Tempe Saturday night.
The way Kiffin was let go was a bit harsh, as he was pulled off the team bus after the Trojans arrived back at Los Angeles International Airport after their butchering by the Sun Devils and informed that he was no longer the USC head coach; Haden should have at least let Kiffin ride back with the team and talk to the players about his fate upon arrival back on campus.
Pundits are not surprised that this went down, though I’m a bit surprised that Haden decided to pull the plug now, as ‘SC has lost seven of its last 11 games under Kiffin, which has included losses to both UCLA and Notre Dame in the same year for the first time since 1995, as well as losing to a 6-7 Georgia Tech team in the Sun Bowl last New Year’s Eve.
The fact that Kiffin’s offense, which was expected to be a strength, has for the most part been a weakness, was another big factor in his demise as the Trojans rank last in the Pac-12 in points per game and third down conversions, but the Arizona State debacle was, evidently, the last straw.
For the record, Kiffin, who was hired by former USC athletic director Mike Garrett after Pete Carroll left the Trojans for the Seattle Seahawks, leaves with a record of 28-15 in three and a half seasons, which includes one ten-win season in 2010 and the Sun Bowl appearance.
He had a difficult job in light of the sanctions USC received, particularly the loss of 30 scholarships and the two-year bowl ban, but the Trojans’ lack of success and speculation that Kiffin lost his team and the media as he didn’t really get along with them proved to be his undoing.
Personally, I thought that Kiffin would be allowed to coach the team until the sanctions expired after the 2014 season, but apparently the powers at ‘SC got fed up with him and wanted to make a change now.
Though Orgeron takes over for the time being, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will ultimately given the keys to the Trojan kingdom.
A list of possible successors will appear on this site soon.