Lane Kiffin’s last game as USC coach was a loss to Arizona State on Saturday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin was on the thinnest of ice as USC’s coach, with his firing considered a foregone conclusion.

The timing of it, though, was a surprise. The location an even bigger one. Kiffin was fired in the middle of the season, in the middle of the night. According to multiple reports, he was pulled from the USC bus at the airport after the Trojans arrived home following a 62-41 loss to Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. The loss dropped USC to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12 Conference.

The end was sudden and nearly as ugly as Saturday night’s loss.



As he prepared for the ASU game, Kiffin professed that he wasn’t concerned about job security. “That’s the last thing I’m worried about,” Kiffin told the Los Angeles Times. “We have to find a way to coach better, to play better.” After Saturday night’s game, he said the same thing. “We have to find a way to coach better.”


Support for Kiffin, who replaced Pete Carroll as coach in 2010, has eroded steadily since last fall, when the Trojans finished 7-6 after being ranked No. 1 nationally at the start of the season. The loss to Arizona State was USC’s seventh in its last 11 games. Kiffin, 38, was 28-15 at USC and started his tenure just as the Trojans were hit with severe penalties by the NCAA. Given those penalties, Haden had said before the season that Kiffin had been “as good as he can be.”

Sometime in the early-morning hours Sunday, that thinking changed and the timing for a change was right for Haden. USC doesn’t play again until Oct. 10 and Los Angeles area high school recruits will no longer wonder whether Kiffin, who was looking increasingly overwhelmed in the job, would be around next fall. Ed Orgeron, the defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator will be the interim coach, ESPN reports.

More importantly, USC can start looking for its next head coach now. “USC may be the most coveted job available this year. With the right head coach, it will be back – soon,” Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel writes. “Perhaps only Texas, should it part with Mack Brown, would be better, and that’s probably a matter of geographic roots.

“Right now, USC has the leg up.”

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