Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Lane Kiffin’s age as 28. He is 38.
Southern California Head Coach Lane Kiffin was fired early Sunday morning, shortly after the team lost 62-41 at Arizona State.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden named Kiffin’s assistant head coach and the former Mississippi coach Ed Orgeron will be the team’s interim head coach. Quarterbacks coach Clay Helton will remain the offensive coordinator.
Haden fired Kiffin in a 3 a.m. meeting at the Trojans’ private airport terminal, but not before a 45-minute chat in which Kiffin tried to change Haden’s mind.
“Lane was clearly dissapointed and battled me,” Haden said. “He tried to keep his job and I respect him for that.”
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 in his fourth season with the Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) and finishes with a 28-15 record. He started at USC as the Trojans were handed down heavy NCAA penalities from Pete Carroll’s tenure.
“He did a lot of things well under some very difficult circumstances here,” Haden said. “No one could have worked harder. He did a lot of the things we asked. Graduated players, never had compliance issues ... and he really worked under some very difficult NCAA sanctions, there’s no doubt about it.”
USC has eight games left this season and plays Arizona (3-1, 0-1) on Oct. 10 after a bye week.