The Top 25 Most Important People in Sports in LA Today

The Top 25 Most Important People in Sports in LA Today

Top 25 in LA–#19 Lane Kiffin


The Top 25 Most Important People in Sports in LA Today


-Lane Kiffin-

Lane Kiffin is beginning his 9th year on the sideline for USC, and his 3rd as the head coach. He is not the face of the Trojan team in 2012, but over the last decade he’s been the most consistent figure in USC football not named Tommy Trojan. He’s also been on sidelines in Fresno, Oakland and Knoxville, and as of the start of this season, Kiffin’s calling card is high profile head coaching jobs with only moderate amounts of success. Regardless, its not a bad resume that he walks onto the sideline against Hawaii on September 1st with, and today he is the 19th most important person in LA sports.

Go back to #20, on our list. . .

  • Lane Kiffin is 18-7 as the head coach over 2 season in LA
  • In conference play Kiffin is 12-6
  • He is 0-1 in bowl games overall, but none with USC due to the postseason ban

In 2001 Kiffin began his tenure as part of the USC coaching staff, and after serving as the wide receivers coach he rose to the offensive coordinator position in 2005. Kiffin was the offensive coordinator for the USC teams stockpiled with talent in ’05 and ’06, and recruited in addition to develop the likes of pros Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith, and Fred Davis. Then he left for Oakland in 2007.

But back to the present. With the amount of money in college football and interest in football around the country it is certainly curious why he isn’t closer to the top spot in our ranks.

It is his job to recruit and retain the best talent across the country so that USC can compete with ESPN ,. . .I mean the SEC, for the national championship year after year. USC has a responsibility to Los Angeles and furthermore to the nation to compete at the top of college football. Kiffin’s predecessor and one of his mentors understood this, and put USC back on the map and top of college football (not to mention on the top of the NCAA investigators priorities).

Kiffin despite his limited success seems to still gain popularity and fame. A lot of this has to do with his personality, and his ablity to recruit. It has been said you take one look at the young Lane Kiffin’s wife, and you know the man can recruit.

Kiffin’s best quality though is his ability to put a good staff around him. It was like a homecoming when Kiffin got hired. With his return he brought back Ed Orgeron from Ole Miss as the Defensive and recruiting Coordinator, and of course was fortunate enough to bring the man with the highest pedigree among them, his father Monte Kiffin.

In a lot of ways Lane Kiffin is football in LA, today. His presence on the sideline and in the homes of the players being recruited by USC is (probably) longer than the players’ 3-5 year commitment, which makes him in many ways more of an important figure to the team than the players. Prior to this year this could be called the Joe Paterno effect, where a coach is much more important for the team than any player who comes through the ranks. Given Kiffin’s track record of moving around and LA fans’ unwillingness to support mediocrity, he’ll never boast that sort of tenure though. But he obviously has more influence on the team than the administration. And you don’t have to tell UCLA, its well documented that USC Football is LA football. Tim Leiwike might have something to say about that soon enough though. And Americans love football. If  Los Angelinos are at all like the rest of the nation, then Kiffin has the top head coaching job in the city.

If not earlier, when Magic became a Laker, or at the very least since pro football left 20 years ago, LA has been a Lakers town. Whether USC is a national champion (or LA gets an NFL team) that is not changing soon.

Kiffin’s reputation is on the line this season. As a head coach, he has been at the helm of miserable or mediocre teams, or had NCAA sanctions, and thus featured mediocre results. In 2012 Kiffin faces expectations and not just fanfare. They might be the most talented team on the west coast again (we’ll find out on Nov. 3rd), and are slated to make a run at the national championship. If Kiffin can replicate the successes of Pete Carroll without the NCAA sanctions, moving higher on this list would be an ancillary benefit to the accolades and pay day the $4 million per year coach would receive.