Lane Kiffin Takes Over at USC
After a tumultuous week of indecision and doubt, USC has found a replacement for Pete Carroll – Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin is coming off a one-year stint in Tennessee where a prosaic season and allegations of recruiting violations forced Kiffin to face the music or abandon ship. Kiffin’s strong personality never really assimilated to the SEC as several coaches found themselves butting heads with the Volunteer head man more than once in 2009.
Kiffin’s switch is not only surprising to Tennessee fans, but also to those close to the USC organization. It was only mildly believed that the organization would extend an offer to Kiffin or that he would actually accept it.
Before the announcement, it was widely reported that the top contenders were Steve Mariucci, formerly the head coach in Detroit and San Francisco, and Chris Peterson of Boise State as well as a few other minor candidates.
Kiffin spent six years as a coach in various capacities at USC, but it was generally understood that controversies that arose there would prevent or at least deter his return. Two unsuccessful years in Oakland propelled Kiffin to Tennessee and now, after another disappointment, he finds himself back in Los Angeles.
The announcement of Kiffin landing in USC comes as more than just a shock; it’s a slap in the face to every Tennessee recruit who planned to play as a Volunteer under Kiffin. There are already new student recruits who have arrived at the school as early as last week after graduating early from high school.
Mike and Mike in the Morning discussed that Kiffin’s scouting assistant sent out emails to all Tennessee recruits imploring them that, if they planned to follow the coach to USC, to not attend classes this week as that would make it easier for them to make the transfer.
Kiffin’s offensive mind will bring a different light to the post-Carroll era at USC. It’s less likely now that the school’s verbal commitments will back out two weeks from signing day, but his brashness may be met with opposition at first now that he is the head man.
USC nation is most apprehensive that newly-anointed quarterback Matt Barkley and Lane Kiffin will eventually build a healthy player-coach relationship.
Kiffin did a decent job with Crompton in Tennessee, but the USC program holds higher regard for a team that has largely dominated the PAC-10 for a decade and expects that trend to continue.