A popular school of thought heading into the 2011 season was that Lane Kiffin could very well be on the hot seat by year’s end, either because of on-field performance or off-field “issues” from a previous coaching stop.
With nine wins in 2011 — including a huge road upset of then-No. 4 Oregon — and a realistic shot at the Trojans’ first 10-win season since 2008, all of the hot-seat talk as it pertains to Kiffin has suddenly morphed into speculation that the second-year coach could be on the receiving end of an extension and raise at season’s end.
The speculation on that front is, of course, coming from outside the school’s athletic department. The head of that department told the Los Angeles Daily News that while they’re pleased with what Kiffin has accomplished this season, a contract tweak is not a subject that’s been broached. Yet.
“I don’t have a philosophy (on when to offer extensions),” athletic director Pat Haden said. “I’ll talk to some folks here. We’re thrilled with Lane.”
Considering the sanctions with which Kiffin and the football program had to deal — and will continue to deal with next season as they will again be limited to 75 scholarship players — the coach that everybody loves to hate has done an outstanding job and has more than earned the security an extension would bring. And, yes, I can’t believe that I of all people just typed that.