The Lane Kiffin era is officially over at USC.
The USC Trojans’ official athletics website released the following statement on September 29:
“Lane Kiffin has been relieved of his duties as USC’s head football coach, Trojan athletic director Pat Haden announced early today (Sept. 29).
“Haden informed Kiffin of his termination upon the team’s charter’s arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning following USC’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State.
“Kiffin’s Trojans have lost 7 of their past 11 games, USC is 3-2 this year and has lost both of its 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.”
Haden appointed Ed Orgeron as the Trojans’ interim head football coach, per ESPN Los Angeles. Orgeron expressed confidence he and the team will be able to step up.
“I want to tell you we’re here as a staff to answer the bell. We’re all accountable for what happened as a staff and as players. Us Trojans know how to do it.”
For his part, Haden felt the Trojans haven’t lived up to the greatness they were known for in years past.
“I haven’t felt particularly good even from the Hawaii game. I just felt like we haven’t been the consistent team that we need to be at USC. We’ve played 125 years of some pretty dog-gone good football here at USC. We’re just all a piece of the continuum.
“We’re going to be playing football 125 years from now. I was just a tiny piece of it, Lane was, Pete Carroll was, and we all add up to this continuum of USC football, and we just realized that our history has been great, and we need to be great again.”
The ESPN LA report adds Haden consulted with his advisers when the Arizona State Sun Devils scored 28 unanswered points in the third quarter on Saturday. That was when Haden decided to fire Kiffin.
According to Gary Kline of the Los Angeles Times, Kiffin “has been under fire” since the end of the 2012 season, when the Trojans lost their No. 1 ranking and plummeted to a 7-6 overall record.
Kiffin’s tenure with USC saw the university being slapped with several severe penalties months after he took the job. Kline reports these penalties, which include two bowl bans and the cancellation of 30 scholarships covering a three-year period, are tied to former running back Reggie Bush.
In Kline’s words,”The timing (of Kiffin’s firing) also has recruiting ramifications because some top prospects in Southern California reportedly voiced concern about Kiffin’s status.”
The 38-year old Kiffin coached the NFL’s Oakland Raiders from 2007-08 before returning to the collegiate ranks to be the mentor of the Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. He then began his head football coaching tenure in 2010 at USC, earning an estimated $2.6 million in 2011, the “most recent year for which salary figures are available,” according to Klein.