On Thursday, it became official: Kiffin will resign his position at USC, effective after the bowl game.
“I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches. 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,” Kiffin said.
According to comments made by the younger Kiffin, the 72-year-old Monte is leaving to pursue opportunities in the NFL.
Monte Kiffin was a storied defensive coordinator in the NFL, but his legendary Tampa 2 defense did not translate as well to the college game. Since the Kiffins were hired by USC in 2010, the Trojans defense has struggled; this season, it had some of its worst defensive games in school history.
USC fans felt Monte Kiffin was a relic, and a liability to the program. Many fans wanted both coaches out after USC’s disappointing 7-5 campaign, but athletic director Pat Haden has given his support to his head coach, and said Lane would have the final say in the make-up of his coaching staff.
Whether the younger Kiffin gave his father the option to resign, or if Monte made that decision unprompted, the official announcement ends some speculation but raises other questions, like who the replacement will be, and what impact it may have on key USC recruits.
“I wanted to make this announcement now so that our players who are preparing for the bowl game and our recruits who will be visiting campus are aware,” Monte Kiffin said.
While Ed Orgeron officially holds the title of defensive coordinator, ESPNLA’s Pedro Moura tweeted Thursday night that it was more of a title/payroll designation. Monte Kiffin led the defensive meetings, and was also key in recruiting in Tampa and North Florida.
Orgeron could see additional opportunities to run more of the defense, but the Trojans are planning to bring in some new blood to hopefully shore up the defense, especially against trendy spread offenses.
Trojans’ head coach Lane Kiffin said: “The timing of this allows us to move forward now in the hiring of a new coach.”
USC fans have already created a Facebook group lobbying the Trojans to hire Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, while others are partial to Clancy Pendergast, the defensive coordinator at Cal who won a Super Bowl in 2008 with the Arizona Cardinals.
USC shouldn’t have too many problems luring the coach of their choice. As a private university, the Trojans do not have to release salary information, but Monte Kiffin was rumored to be one of the highest-paid assistant football coaches in the nation, making a reported $1.5 million per year.