Monte Kiffin will leave his son’s USC team after its December bowl game, Kiffin announced Thursday.
“I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches,” Kiffin said, the assistant head coach who called in-game schemes and led defensive meetings, said in a statement on the school’s website Thursday night. “The chance to work for my son, Lane, was unique and memorable, but we always treated each other professionally on a coach-to-coach basis.”
USC’s season began with great promise after a No. 1 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll. But the Trojans (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) stumbled and fell from the rankings after three losses, for which Monte Kiffin’s defense took much of the blame, in November. Although the Trojans scored 87 points against Arizona and Oregon, they lost both games. Against Oregon, USC gave up 62 points and 730 yards and, afterward, a manager was fired for underinflating footballs.
“I respect my father’s decision and his desire to return to the NFL,” Lane Kiffin said in a statement. “We are very appreciative of the hard work and effort that he put in at USC these past three years. He has a tremendous passion for coaching young men and he is a phenomenal recruiter. The timing of this allows us to move forward now in the hiring of a new coach.”
Monte Kiffin, 72, has coached for 47 years, including 26 in the NFL. He was a member of Jon Gruden’s staff when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2003. He was making $1.5 million at USC, more than some head coaches. Ed Orgeron, USC’s defensive coordinator, is a candidate to replace Kiffin.