The USC Trojan head coach speculation has come to an end with the announcement that Lane Kiffin has come to an agreement with the college on Tuesday.
Kiffin was an assistant coach under Carroll from 2001-2006 before leading the Tennessee Vols to a 7-5 season in his first try as a head coach.
He also served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders for one season before he was fired. Prior to this announcement other NFL coaches including Steve Mariucci had been named for the top spot.
During a briefing on Tuesday night Kiffin said:
“This was not an easy decision,” adding “This is something that happens very quick. We’ve been here 14 months, and the support has been unbelievable here. I really believe the only place I would have left here to go was … Southern California.”
With Carroll jumping ship, many verbal commitments from top names have threatened to back out of those commitments for other options with more experienced coaches, leaving the 34 year old Kiffin with quite the mess to clean up over the next three weeks before signings begin.
In any case, USC is excited to have the young coach on board, the schools athletic director Mike Garrett released this statement:
“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” while stating “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.”
Kiffin will also bring over his father and longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the same position he served on the Tennessee team and recruiter Ed Orgeron, who is expected to be named as the teams defensive coordinator. While Norm Chow is expected to be offered the offensive coordinator job he held at the school from 2001-04 before jumping over to UCLA, a big rival school for USC.
USC will buyout Kiffin’s contract fro $800,000 with payments setup over 36 months, a steal for an experienced USC coach who understands the schools program. It should be interesting to see who Tennessee now chooses as their replacement head coach.