University of Southern California’s head football coach, Lane Kiffin, was fired early Sunday morning at around 3 AM. It happened just hours after a devastating loss to Arizona State University where the final score was 62-41. Athletic Director, Pat Haden provided a timeline of the events during a press conference that Sunday afternoon. According to Haden, the USC football team and staff boarded a charter plane that would take them back to Los Angeles around 1 AM. Toward the beginning of the flight Pat Haden requested a private meeting with Lane Kiffin at LAX.
The private meeting began approximately at three in the morning when Haden had to inform Kiffin that he was going to be let go. During this 45 minute meeting, Kiffin valiantly fought to keep his job. Yet, in the end, it was finalized that he would no longer be the head coach for the USC Trojans.
It was also announced that current coaching staff member, Ed Orgeron, was named USC’s interim head coach. Orgeron has been in and out of the USC football coaching staff for 11 seasons. He has been proven to be, “a man of character,” as stated by Pat Haden.
Haden also commented on this decision, “My job is to do what is best for USC, and the decision I’ve made is what I think is best… It’s never the perfect time to make a change.. But I thought this was the right time.”
Currently, in the 2013 season, USC has a Pac-12 record of 0-2. Since Lane Kiffin became head coach, the program has compiled a record of 28-15 and fell from being ranked No. 1 to currently no ranking in regards to the nation at all.
In 2010, just months after Kiffin took on the position, NCAA hit USC with harsh sanctions due to a former USC player and current NFL athlete, Reggie Bush. The reasons for the penalties were announced that members of his immediate family were accepting gifts from agents of professional teams or sponsors, which is against NCAA rules. Those penalties included the loss of 30 scholarship opportunities spread out over three years as well as two years of being ban from bowl games that come at the end of each season.
Lane Kiffin entered the Trojan family at a rough time and due to the loss of available scholarships, they had lost their edge in recruiting. Former key players such as Matt Barkley and current receiver Marqise Lee keep the team afloat. Even with all the penalties from NCAA, USC proved themselves in the 2011 season when they finished with a record of 10-2 in the Pac-12. That record would have allowed them to participate in a bowl game but due to the sanctions they were dismissed.
USC is currently celebrating 125 years of collegiate athletics. They are known for their excellence and championships throughout all of their NCAA programs. This time of transition for the football program will bring about the greatness that the University alumni, fans, students, and current athletes expect.
Now the question that has the entire collegiate football world buzzing is who will be taking over?
Pac-12 Network reporter, and former UCLA Head Coach, Rick Neuheisel had this to say about the new opening position, “This is going to be a marque job… Everybody in the United States that loves football and understands the collegiate game, knows that it is a cherry of a job.”
USC’s Pat Haden stated that he is looking for someone that not only is a major figure in the football world but one that will be a leader for the school. He is searching for a figure that will enjoy representing the program and its history, and become immersed in the unique culture and pride that is USC.