Following rumors that former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards could be headed to USC to take over for Pete Carroll, the Trojans decided to go with a different former AFC West coach: Lane Kiffin.
“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” AD Mike Garrett said in a statement. “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.”
Kiffin has been on the move of late. He was 7-6 in his one season at Tennessee and 5-15 in one-plus seasons with the Raiders before being fired in September 2008.
He was a member of the USC coaching staff from 2001 to ’06, first as wide receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator under Carroll.
Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, to Southern California with him.
Although Kiffin’s forceful personality didn’t make him a beloved figure among players or administrators, he was a key part of the Trojans’ best years under Carroll, coordinating their passing game and providing instruction to quarterbacks Matt Leinart and John David Booty.
Kiffin then became Al Davis’ unusual choice to take over the Raiders as a 31-year-old coach with almost no NFL experience. He made it through just 20 games before an ugly public firing in which Davis called Kiffin a liar who brought “disgrace” on the Raiders.
Kiffin was the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season, but he also brought an unwelcome spotlight on the Vols with several minor NCAA violations.
He returns to USC with the school facing a yearslong NCAA investigation over events during his tenure as an assistant, including Reggie Bush’s final years at the school.
Interesting choice for Southern Cal. Obviously you want to go with a young coach that has ties to your school whenever possible, but a guy that was involved in events that led to an NCAA investigation?
The best part about the hire for me is that any success he has will stick it to Al Davis. And frankly, is that ever a bad thing?