USC head coach Lane Kiffin has been fired, the school announced.
Haden informed Kiffin of his termination upon the team charter’s arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning following USC’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State. The 62 points was tied for the most points ever given up by a USC team.
But the ASU result was just the last straw in a checkered tenure for the young coach. His Trojans have lost seven of their past 11 games and USC is 3-2 this year with both losses coming in Pac-12 games. His overall record in 4 years at USC is 28-15.
Haden will hold a press conference at USC on Sunday afternoon at a time and place to be announced. He will most likely name current defensive line coach Ed Orgeron as the interim head man. Orgeron has previous head coaching experience from his time at Ole Miss (2005-2007).
For the permanent hire, the Trojans are unlikely to turn to current NFL coaches with USC ties like Jeff Fisher or Jack Del Rio. Nor will they go with someone from the Pete Carroll coaching tree like Steve Sarkisian. Instead, look for USC to go tap a national name without school connections, a coach who is regarded as an innovator with a proven college resume. It could potentially be the schools’ first hire of a national coaching name without USC ties since Howard Jones was lured from Iowa in 1925.
Surprised that Haden pulled the plug on Kiffin five games into the season? Don’t be. He also got rid of Kevin O’Neill, USC’s previous men’s basketball coach, midway through his final season. The timing makes good sense. After all, Haden can now get an early start at sending out back-channel communications with potential coaches. USC’s recruiting efforts — currently frozen because of uncertainty over Kiffin’s status – can potentially be salvaged. And the current Trojan seniors, as well as the fan base, can finish out the season absent a cloud hanging overhead.
The next coach will inherit a roster loaded with talent, albeit somewhat diminished by NCAA sanctions. But that coach will only have to go through one more year of scholarship losses before the program returns to normalcy.
As for Kiffin, he’ll probably land somewhere in the NFL as a position coach.
College football won’t miss him.