KNOXVILLE – Approximately three and a half years after his shocking exit from Tennessee, coach Lane Kiffin has been fired by Southern California.
USC athletic director Pat Haden confirmed the news after the Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac 12) fell 62-41 at Arizona State on Saturday night.
Kiffin, who also had a 20-game tenure as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, finished his career at USC with a 28-15 record as he attempted to guide the Trojans through NCAA sanctions that included a two-year postseason ban and reduced scholarships. Those sanctions were put in place for actions that occurred at USC in the mid 2000s, a time when Kiffin was an assistant coach for the Trojans.
The son of legendary NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Lane Kiffin took over for former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer in late 2008. He briefly invigorated the Vols with his recruiting prowess and his brash and sometimes rule-bending style.
He was 7-6 in his one season (2009) in Knoxville, helping the Vols post their best record in the last five years. But his hasty departure, paired with his regular run-ins with the NCAA rulebook, made him a vilified character in East Tennessee.
He was hired at USC on Jan. 13, 2010, the night before the spring semester was set to begin at UT that year. His departure left early-enrollee recruits, in addition to the rest of his highly-acclaimed class of 2010, in limbo going forward.
Derek Dooley, Kiffin’s successor at UT, was able to salvage some of the 2010 class, but the damage Kiffin did and the instability his departure caused have harmed UT all the way up to the present day.
I'll leave you with this fantastic survey taken by ESPN in 2010 (zoom in on browser to better read the results):
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.