Los Angeles, CA. - - The ominous tenure of Lane Kiffin continues. Once considered a football prodigy Coach Lane Kiffin now finds himself looking for a new employment.
Looking back at his legacy: Son of longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the senior Kiffin is currently the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.
He served as offensive coordinator for the University of Southern California Trojans college football team from 2005–2006. Kiffin gained notoriety as the youngest head football coach of an NFL team by coaching the Oakland Raiders from 2007 – 2008.
Then he became head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers college football team in 2009. In 2010 he returned to the USC Trojans for two complete seasons but recently he was fired by Pat Haden the athletic director at USC after losing to Arizona State.
It’s well known across the country Kiffin was unceremoniously dismissed as the head coach of USC following a 41-62 dismantling loss to Arizona Sate. So, all that being said who will replace him as the head coach at USC? The candidates are as follows:
1. Ed Orgeron
Current position: USC intern head coach
After the school fired head coach Lane Kiffin in the wee hours of Sunday morning defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Orgeron was named interim head coach. Athletic director Pat Haden held a press conference to announce the move, but he refused to discuss the coaching search or any of the candidates who could take over for Kiffin.
While Orgeron is a good stop gap measure he is not considered a viable option for the long term. He may want it and deserve it but the situation at USC dictates that an interim coach will not keep the highly coveted and high profile head coaching job. USC will conduct a national search and select a new head coach.
Thursday night there was no denying he can motivate his players as he had first head coaching experience as the intern coach as they captured a great win against the Arizona Wildcats and showed that offense is not asleep after all.
2. Jeff Fisher
Current position: Head coach, St. Louis Rams
Fisher checks all the boxes: He played defensive back at USC, his coaching credentials are excellent, and his demeanor is about as far from Kiffin's as imaginable. He was pursued by Auburn during its last coaching search. However Fisher already has a job that pays him $7 million a year and he doesn't have a history of job-hopping. USC might be able to get any coach it wants, but there would be some risk in hiring a head coach who has never recruited or coached in the college game, especially when he would be the highest-paid coach in college football by a wide margin.
3. Bobby Petrino
Current position: Head coach, Western Kentucky
Bobby Petrino is in his first season as head coach at Western Kentucky, but the former head coach at Louisville and Arkansas is obviously in the market for an upgrade. His record of success as a head coach is beyond reproach. Of course Petrino comes with baggage. He was dismissed from Arkansas for trying to cover up an affair with a woman he had hired as a student-athlete development coordinator, an affair that came to light when she was on the back of his motorcycle after a crash. Will track record trump reputation? Remains to be seen.
4. Jack Del Rio
Current position: Defensive coordinator, Denver Broncos
Jack Del Rio, a former All-American linebacker and baseball catcher at USC, will be mentioned in every Trojans job search from now until they find that special someone. He is a California native with an impeccable pedigree and a long resume in football coaching that includes nine seasons as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
USC might have offered Del Rio this job before and it might have been nearly enough to lure him from a lucrative and longstanding head coaching position in the NFL. It would not take nearly as much to get him now.
5. Pat Fitzgerald
Current position: Head coach, Northwestern
There's a reason why Pat Haden reportedly likes Fitzgerald. The former All-American linebacker has taken Northwestern to new heights since assuming the head coaching position. He is already the winningest head coach in program history, having gone 50-39 in his first seven seasons at the helm in Evanston. USC is a premier job.
Whether the Trojans could lure Fitzgerald away is the question.
6. James Franklin
Current position: Head coach, Vanderbilt
Franklin has worked small miracles at Vanderbilt. Case in point he has made Vanderbilt a solid middle-of-the-pack program in the mighty SEC. The concern with Franklin is whether his track record is sufficient for this kind of promotion. He has only two seasons as a head coach under his belt. Furthermore, aside from a one-year stint at Washington State 14 seasons ago, Franklin does not have any Pac-12 experience or ties. If Haden chases Fitzgerald and can't close the deal, Franklin is a viable second option. It's just that USC doesn't usually go for second options.
7. Tim DeRuyter
Current position: Head coach, Fresno State
DeRuyter has done a nice job since taking over for Pat Hill at Fresno State, going 9-4 in his first season and tying for a Mountain West championship. His team is off to a 3-0 start this year, including a win over Boise State. DeRuyter is a Long Beach native and has some experience coaching in the west. With that said, the step up from Mike Sherman's defensive coordinator at Texas A&M to head coach at USC in just two years could be a bit too steep, and his track record might be a bit too short, for this to work. DeRuyter likely needs a season or two at a BCS conference school before he's truly in consideration for this job.
Sleeper: Oregon State Coach Mile Riley. He would work for Pat Haden and work well. But is leading the surging Beavers an upgrade over the struggling Trojans? The prestige is there but the ability to write your own destiny, at this juncture, may trump.
Dream Coach: Jon Gruden if an only if they can somehow lure and somehow entice the Monday Night football broadcaster and Quarterback guru on ESPN to leave. Wow would that be a match made in heaven, but let's be real.
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