Congrats to the L.A. Daily News for breaking the news that Athletic Director Mike Garrett hired Lane Kiffin to be the next head football coach of the USC Trojans. (sidenote: the Athletic Department may or may not have given the story to DN because of T.J. Simers’s current rift with Garrett.)
This is a very savvy move on the part of USC; bringing home a young, fiery, competitive coach who is VERY familiar with the system – as well as the players – having been the offensive coordinator in 2005-06, and coaching alongside Pete Carroll the previous four seasons (entire coaching career below). The benefit of retaining a coach that knows the program, the mentality and the personnel can not be overstated.
Furthermore, with Signing Day only three weeks out, the Trojans wasted no time in answering optimistic Bruin supporters who anticipated that Rick Neuheisel would finally have UCLA as the front-runner for local athletes.
Kiffin, of course, brings his baggage, most of it neatly exposed in a (literal) Powerpoint presentation, by his former employer: The history with Al Davis & the Raiders was a debacle (though it’s fair to put the blame mostly on Davis, eg the Dark Night/Darth Vader/Mr. Burns, Death Personified), but the intrigue really appears with Kiffin’s tenure at Tennessee.
In his first month at the SEC program, Kiffin managed to outright piss off every fan in the SEC, while simultaneously firing up his own fanbase.
A decent season and an apparent good recruiting class turned Kiffin into a darling in The Volunteer State, with big expectations for 2010. And as the timing was great for the Trojans, it may have a deleterious effect on the Volunteers. Three weeks left until the big day and he leaves? Wow. He’s probably taking Ed Orgeron and his dad, Monte, with him – further depleting UT at the most inopportune time.
That said, Kiffin’s cajones have belied his age, and he has a great knack at entering his new job in a PR maelstrom. The Bill Plaschke HateWagon is already out in full-force, and I’m sure many college football loyalists (even those outside the SEC) are ready to pounce on LK at the first sign of controversy or scandal.
Aside from that, there is still the Will-Reggie-Bush-Lead-the-Trojans-to-an-SMU-caliber-Death-Penalty issue hanging over the program; right now, Kiffin is calling this position his dream job – but shall the Garrett-imposed sanctions not be enough to appease the NCAA, it may end up very Pollyannish.
LANE KIFFIN COACHING EXPERIENCE (34 Years of Age, 13 years coaching experience)
|1997-98||Fresno State||Graduate assistant|
|1999||Colorado State||Graduate assistant/offensive line|
|2000||Jacksonville (NFL)||Assistant/defensive quality control|
|2004||USC||Passing game coord./wide receivers|
|2005-06||USC||Off. coord./wide receivers/recruiting|
|2007-08||Oakland (NFL)||Head coach (4-12, 1-3)|
|2009||Tennessee||Head coach (7-6)|
Thank you Los Angeles Times, for the sweet Kiffin graphic.