USC hires Lane Kiffin to replace Pete Carroll

In rather surprising news, USC has tabbed former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin to fill the position vacated by Pete Carroll, who signed a contract over the weekend to coach the Seattle Seahawks.


“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” Garrett said in a statement. “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.”

He was a member of the USC coaching staff from 2001 to ’06, first as wide receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator under Carroll.

Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, and assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to Southern California with him.

The hiring is surprising, but what isn’t surprising is the way Kiffin left Tennessee after just one season. The fact of the matter is that college coaches come and go as they please. As long as there is more money and a bigger opportunity to be had, coaches will always be a threat to leave.

That said, it never ceases to amaze me that coaches can walk into a recruit’s home and talk about commitment, loyalty and family, and then leave a program at the drop of a hat. There is something incredible wrong with the process, but it has become such a norm that nobody is surprised by it anymore. As the clichéd response goes: It is what it is.

I wonder if some in Knoxville are secretly glad to see Kiffin go. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and never seemed like a great fit for UT. Considering he helped Carroll make USC’s program a success earlier this decade, it stands to reason that he will be a much better fit in Southern Cal, but we’ll see. It’ll also be exciting to see what Monte Kiffin can do with the talent he’ll have on the defensive side of the ball at SC.

This is pure conjecture on my part, but if I’m venturing a guess as to whom will replace Kiffin at Tennessee, I’d say Jon Gruden might be a great fit. He was a graduate assistant there from 1986 to 1987 and also met his wife at UT as well. If he wanted to take a crack at the collegiate level, Knoxville might just be a solid fit.

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