USC fires Lane Kiffin
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Southern California head football coach Lane Kiffin was fired Sunday morning, just hours after the Trojans lost to Arizona State.
The Trojans fell to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play with a 62-41 loss in Tempe on Saturday night.
USC athletic director Pat Haden informed Kiffin of his dismissal upon the team's arrival in Los Angeles early Sunday morning.
"Lane was clearly disappointed and battled me," said Haden at a press conference Sunday afternoon. "He tried to keep his job and I respect him for that. At the end of the day I think it was the right decision. It's never a perfect time to make a change, but I thought this was the right time."
Kiffin, who was in his fourth season at USC, posted a record of 28-15 with the Trojans. USC has lost seven of its last 11 games.
Ed Orgeron was named interim coach. He was previously a head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07.
"I want to thank Pat Haden for trusting me," said Orgeron. "We had a team meeting and came out of it with a positive vibe. We made a commitment to give it all we've got."
Kiffin took over at USC in January 2010 after Pete Carroll left for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. NCAA sanctions, stemming from the Reggie Bush scandal, soon followed.
USC was given a two-year bowl ban and a loss of 30 scholarships over three years.
Despite the issues, the Trojans were 10-2 in Kiffin's second season of 2011. They began 2012 as the top-ranked team in the country, but stumbled to a record of 7-6, which put Kiffin squarely on the hot seat entering this season.
An 0-2 conference start for the first time since 2001 apparently forced the hand of Haden, who inherited Kiffin when he took the AD's job from Mike Garrett in July 2010.
"The season is not over," Haden added. "We have a lot of big games ahead of us. We have a lot to play for this season."
Kiffin was previously a member of Carroll's staff at USC from 2001-06, serving as offensive coordinator for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He also assumed the role of recruiting coordinator for those years.
His first head coaching job came when Al Davis lured him to the NFL. Kiffin, though, lasted less than two seasons with Oakland, compiling a 5-15 record before leaving in a bitter war of words with the Raiders' owner.
Tennessee then came calling after Phillip Fulmer announced he would not return for an 18th season in 2009, and Kiffin guided the Volunteers to a 7-6 record and an appearance in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Kiffin's time in Tennessee was short but noteworthy. He was reprimanded on at least two occasions by the SEC, one for comments alleging that Florida violated recruiting rules and another for public comments he made about game officials in a loss to Alabama.
There was a bit of controversy for this year's USC team as well. The Trojans started the season ranked 24th in the country, but fell out of the rankings following a 10-7 home loss to Washington State in Week 2.
The players, according to star wide receiver Marqise Lee, held a meeting without their coach just a day after the loss to the Cougars. Kiffin denied such a meeting took place.
09/29 09:50:52 ET