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Haden: Kiffin not on any coaching ‘hot seat’

Notre Dame v USC Getty Images

When it comes to offseason and even preseason fodder, one of myriad subjects that garners sizable interest is which coaches will or won’t be on the proverbial coaching hot seat entering a season.

In 2013, at or near the top of the list of coaches whose seat is seemingly feeling some heat is USC’s Lane Kiffin.

Loathed on Rocky Top specifically and the United States in general, Kiffin came under fire last year following an abysmal 2012 campaign.  Entering the season as the preseason No. 1 in many pollster’s minds, the Trojans bumbled and stumbled their way to a 7-6 season that was punctuated by an embarrassing and uninterested  performance in — and after — a Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.

The six-loss season was the Trojans’ worst since 2001, and set Kiffin on the hot seat in the minds of most.  Well, all but the one person whose opinion matters the most.

“I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year.,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a video posted online Thursday. “Here is my answer, and it will be my answer whenever I’m asked: He is not. I’m behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent. I have great confidence in him. He’s a very hard-working, detail-oriented coach. He’s a dynamic play-caller in my estimation, and he’s an exceptional recruiter. He knows USC and he knows what it takes to be successful here.”

Haden’s views on his football coach aren’t exactly new as, back in January, the AD was quoted as saying that “there’s no reason that Lane Kiffin shouldn’t be our coach” and that any problems in the program “all can be fixed” by the coach.

You can view the complete video below and judge for yourself just how hot Kiffin’s seat may or may not be, especially if 2013 is remotely close to what went down in 2012:

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21 Responses to “Haden: Kiffin not on any coaching ‘hot seat’”
  1. dcroz says: Jul 26, 2013 12:48 PM

    Of course Hayden is saying that. Do you really think he is going to go into the season with anything less than full-throated support of his head coach? He’d be a fool to do otherwise. It’s what he says on the other side of the season that matters, not what he’s saying now, so we’ll have to see how this all plays out come the end of November.

  2. quitcrying says: Jul 26, 2013 12:59 PM

    I always get a kick out of seeing a guy in a suit trying to sell something he doesn’t believe.

  3. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2013 1:09 PM

    IDK…when the AD says “there’s no reason that Lane Kiffin shouldn’t be our coach” and that any problems in the program “all can be fixed” by the coach.

    I would hardly call that a ringing endorsement of Lane Kiffin. Of course, Kiffin, being the elitist SOB that he is, has probably warranted this POV from the AD. Who knows what this tact-less coach has said to AD Hayden behind closed doors…..some of the comments he made about SEC schools while he coached Tenn was bulletin board material…..almost “THUG”-like. LOL……

  4. tbutler704 says: Jul 26, 2013 1:28 PM

    “Of course he’s in the hot seat! This is USC, one of the best jobs in football, college or pro. WTF do you think, this clown will be here after the sanctions end?!!! LOL!”

    What Pat Haden meant.

  5. kdbroom says: Jul 26, 2013 1:41 PM

    Interpretation = Kiffin is on the hot seat.

  6. bucrightoff says: Jul 26, 2013 2:02 PM

    He’s gone next year because Chip Kelly’s suspension ends and he’ll probably be getting fired from the Eagles around that time…just in time to take over USC. Almost like he planned it out…

  7. mogogo1 says: Jul 26, 2013 2:55 PM

    Look for Haden to reiterate this statement later this season…just before Kiffin actually is fired.

  8. Woody Bass says: Jul 26, 2013 3:20 PM


  9. timh1955 says: Jul 26, 2013 5:41 PM

    “If” Hayden really meant that he is a complete idiot but he was an idiot for hiring Kiffin in the first place as he has left every program he has been the HC in shambles. He’s aterrible coach and person!

  10. rusoviet says: Jul 26, 2013 7:01 PM

    Haden inherited a mess upon Garrett being sacked by incoming Pres. Nikias. It was the first thing Nikias did in 2009. Haden is an excellent choice for AD – he leaves his coaches alone.

    He also is sincere about Kiffin because he bluntly made Lane understand his father, Monte Kiffin the USC DC, needed to move on. Lane Kiffin could be overheard in the debacle against OR pleading with his ‘DC’ after a counter OR td – “Can’t you stop this?”

    Barkley is gone – good riddance and best of luck for him with the Eagles. Max Browne or Kessler will be the starter with other as a rotating back-up. Wittek is out.

    Easy schedule save for Stanford, Notre Dame and UCLA although OR St. is always a challenge.

    Look for a massive rebound and potentially an undefeated season heading into the 7th Dec. 2013 pac-12 Championship Game.

  11. timh1955 says: Jul 26, 2013 7:09 PM

    @rusoviet – That sounds like what everyone was saying this time last year about USC and we know where that ended up.

  12. rusoviet says: Jul 26, 2013 7:10 PM

    timh1955 – Haden did not hire Kiffin – Mke Garrett did.

  13. rusoviet says: Jul 26, 2013 7:15 PM

    timh1955 – you’re right (last year) but you could see the train going off the rails right at the start against HI – the defense was awful and the warriors were in that game late into the 4th quarter because the defense let them – same against VA and UT.

    Monte Kiffin was as good a fit for USC as Bill Walsh’s two stints at Stanford – both belong(ed) in the NFL. I still believe the problem flows back to 2008 when Pete Carroll did not make Barkley compete for the starter position. They also have waded through average running backs and frankly Barkley’s own career path.

    What all always forget is the 5 scholarships denied for the past three years (including this one) – PA St., OR, Miami-FL – no penalty approaching that and I doubt there ever will again.

  14. huskerzfan says: Jul 26, 2013 10:16 PM

    That is an awfully weird message coming from the AD of the school.

    Yes, he has a football background, but I can’t remember an AD giving specific details about positions, players, sanctions, hot seat of his coach, and a number of other comments that you would typically hear about from the head coach or actual coaching staff member.

    Has a serious hint of desperation to rally the troops to be honest.

  15. tfppft says: Jul 27, 2013 12:55 AM

    The Chris Petersen to USC rumors will be flying before the end of the year.

  16. thegamecocker says: Jul 27, 2013 8:52 AM

    Re. Chris Petersen, sometimes a person can live a comfortable life-style, continue to win, make huge amounts of money and not be under a microscope. That is why I don’t see him coming to USC in the event Haden gets fired. Who needs to be under that spotlight? A larger conference with more opportunity for people to second guess every move. IMO, not worth it. Having said this, I don’t know Coach Petersen so maybe he does seek that spotlight.

  17. timh1955 says: Jul 27, 2013 10:02 AM

    Petersen isn’t going to go to any school that plays ranked teams and a real schedule. It’s easy to win when you never play ranked teams as in 2012 (they didn’t play any teams that were in the final rankings).

  18. jimtrail says: Jul 27, 2013 10:07 AM

    “Lame” Kiffin is a clown. The problem is he’s not so funny anymore.

    In the one year he was at UT Kiffin’s father Monte, who was the defensive coordinator for the Vols, stayed in a hotel room [figuring he was only going to be here for a few months I suppose].

    Monte Kiffin’s staying in a hotel room didn’t even come out until long after Kiffin bolted for USC.

    The AD that hired Kiffin at UT has been fired for incompetence. The AD that hired Kiffin at USC has been fired for incompetence.

    Pat Haden may eventually get fired – but it won’t be for retaining Lane Kiffin as head coach.

    Prognostication: Kiffin is a goner.

  19. billmead1976 says: Jul 27, 2013 4:14 PM

    There is a super-fund being created by USC alumni right now. Nick Saban to USC – $7 million per year plus a mansion in Rolling Hills.

  20. dcroz says: Jul 27, 2013 7:52 PM

    1) Alabama can and will match any offer than USC, Texas, or anyone else would make to Saban to lure him away. He has been a major part of the university being one of the hot schools in the country right now on both the athletic (national titles in football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, and softball over the last two seasons) and academic (incoming freshman class with more National Merit finalists than any other public university, more than half of the class coming from out of state) sides of the campus. Not that any offer would matter, anyway, because….

    2) It’s not about money for Saban, it’s about control. He has total control over how he runs his program in Tuscaloosa. He answers to the president directly and not the AD (though he’s pretty much the de facto AD in any case), the boosters are smart enough to know that he will not tolerate any of them meddling in the program as they usually do, and the fans love him at least as much as they ever did Bear Bryant. No other place in the country–and certainly not big-time football schools like USC, Texas, ND, or anyone else–would give him that much control to run things as he wants. He knows he has it as good as he could ever hope for, and that it would be all but impossible to create what he has now again somewhere else. Perhaps he decides he wants one more challenge before he retires by going somewhere else; then again, making history as he is now is a monumental challenge on its own.

  21. thegamecocker says: Jul 28, 2013 8:06 AM


    Absolutely agree. This situation at ‘Bama is as good as it gets. A college football coach at a big-time program has vertical and horizontal control over EVERYTHING that goes on in the program! And why not: (incoming freshman class with more National Merit finalists than any other public university, more than half of the class coming from out of state). Don’t think for one minute the President and Professors at ‘Bama aren’t seeing this and clapping wildly! The athletic side of the ledger is now ATTRACTING the creme-de-la-creme of students and many of them from out-of-state leading to diversity in thinking. Similar scenario at U. of South Carolina where Coach Spurrier has rule of the roost but certainly not on the scale/success of Coach Saban.

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