Kiffin outlines his plan

New coach Lane Kiffin made his return to USC on Wednesday night to address the media in Heritage Hall where he promised a new era for Trojan football, but the controversy he had been associated with since he left the school in 2007 wasn’t far behind him.

Strong statement · Lane Kiffin, who has only one full season of collegiate coaching under his belt, returned to USC campus on Wednesday, promising a clean football program focused on recruiting talent. - Tim Tran | Daily Trojan

Kiffin, who announced his resignation from the top position at the University of Tennessee late Tuesday, took a flight from Knoxville, Tenn. to Los Angeles midday Wednesday to officially accept the position from Athletic Director Mike Garrett.

Kiffin left Knoxville on Tuesday night in the midst of rioting in the Tennessee area following his short announcement to the media that he was taking the job at USC, and replacing Pete Carroll, who moved on to the NFL to coach the Seattle Seahawks.

In 14 short months, Kiffin and his staff made an impact on Tennessee football — turning a 5-7 team into a 7-6 team — yet he and his staff left in the midst of what looked like a team headed in the right direction.

“The decision was one that was not easy for us, we thought a lot about it,” Kiffin said. “We’re very grateful [to Tennessee], but it became very obvious that when we had the opportunity to come back here, we were coming back home.”

Kiffin spoke directly about recruiting and developing team members in his introductory press conference, saying that if USC is able to recruit the best players, they should expect to perform at the highest levels of college football.

“We want an emphasis on developing players,” Kiffin said. “I really believe that it’s the development of the players and the developments of student athletes that this staff can accomplish.”

Kiffin also talked about his return to the program where he got his first major break as tight ends coach during the 2001 season.

Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin, who will join the Trojan staff as defensive coordinator, recognized the appeal of USC and returning to familiar territory.

“This is a unique place,” the elder Kiffin said. “[Lane] knows the lay of the land, he came up here [with Carroll].”

The new Trojan coach arrived with his entire family in tow and immediately set out goals for the program. With NCAA investigations looming over possible violations surrounding Joe McKnight and Reggie Bush, Kiffin was intent on running a spotless program.

“The first thing we’re going to do is have a dedication to running a clean program,” Kiffin said.

Just hours after the announcement of Kiffin’s decision, rumors began to swirl about the coach and his new staff.

Kiffin also took along recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to be a major player in his Trojan staff as part of his agreement to come back to USC after a three-year absence.

According to various sources, including the New York Times, Orgeron spent much of Tuesday contacting potential Tennessee recruits trying to lure them away from the Volunteers — and possibly to the Trojans along with the new coaching staff.

Orgeron and Kiffin, however, denied any wrongdoing, stating that they did not actively encourage recruits to decommit from the Volunteers.

“I always try to drive recruits in the right direction, all I did was explain options to the families that called me,” Orgeron said.

Despite the controversy, Kiffin felt that his time at Tennessee had prepared him well for what he called his “dream job” at USC.

“Being at Tennessee prepared me for what we have here; the microscope at a top-10 or -15 program is as strong,” Kiffin said.

When asked whether he sees this staff as an extension of the departing Carroll regime that was so successful in its nine seasons, Kiffin was quick to recognize the unparalleled success the Trojans have seen over the past few years.

“If we can go to seven straight BCS bowls, with a 6-1 record, then I’d love to be connected with [Carroll’s years],” Kiffin said.

12 replies
  1. PissedVol
    PissedVol says:

    Kiffin is about to be immortalized at Tennessee. There is a
    big push to have a sewage treatment plant named after him.

  2. John
    John says:

    On February 5, 2009, Kiffin accused Urban Meyer, the head coach of the Florida Gators, of violating NCAA recruiting rules at Tennessee Booster breakfast at the Knoxville Convention Center.[20]

    “ “I’m going to turn Florida in right here in front of you,” Kiffin told the crowd. “As Nu’Keese was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says, ‘Who is that?’ And he looks at the phone and says, ‘Urban Meyer.’
    “Just so you know, you can’t call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”[20]

    While Kiffin was accusing Meyer of violating NCAA rules, he was actually violating Southeastern Conference rules himself and his accusations of Meyer’s conduct being against NCAA rules was incorrect.[20] Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive issued a public reprimand to Kiffin over the comments.[21] In addition to the public reprimand by Slive, Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley issued a statement demanding an public apology from Kiffin.[22]

    Kiffin issued a public apology a day after the remarks. In a statement released by the University of Tennessee, Kiffin said, “In my enthusiasm for our recruiting class, I made some statements that were meant solely to excite those at the breakfast. If I offended anyone at the University of Florida, including Mr. Foley and Urban Meyer, I sincerely apologize. That was not my intention.”[23]

    During the same speech on February 5, Kiffin said he ordered high school recruit Nu’Keese Richardson to fax his signing papers from somewhere other than Pahokee High, because: “…somebody at the school was going to screw it up, the fax machine wouldn’t work or they would have changed the signatures. All the things that go on in Pahokee now.” [24] According to Pahokee Head Coach Blaze Thompson, Kiffin promised a public apology for these and other remarks [25], but has not delivered.

    On February 13, 2009 on a Knoxville radio show, Kiffin referred to Bryce Brown as a “great player,” which the university plans to self-report as a secondary recruiting violation [26] since NCAA rules prohibit coaches from publicly commenting on recruitable athletes.

    In late February 2009, Kiffin was accused of denigrating the Georgia Bulldogs recruiting efforts in the state of Georgia on a talk radio show with the Rivals network. The University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans responded that the program does not need to cheat to have success.[27][28]

    According to ESPN’s Chris Low “Kiffin told recruit Alshon Jeffrey that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina.”[29][30] Kiffin denies ever making that statement.[31] However the incident was corroborated by Alshon Jeffrey’s coach Walter Wilson who was listening to Kiffin’s remarks on speakerphone.[32][33][34]

  3. kumbaya
    kumbaya says:

    I am probably one of the few Trojan alums who is NOT at all impressed and happy with the hire of kiffin. This guy really gives USC a black eye reputation, and he’s already committed an infraction along with ed orgeron prior tp coming to SC. Mike garrett needs to get his head examined, and hopefully, gets fired as the AD within a few years. I just don’t like the sheep-mentality that a lot of Trojans have when someone like kiffin is hired. I really wish that we were going to get jack del rio as a headcoach. He’s more of a clean person with a good track record. He’s also not as charismatic and encouraging as pete carroll was. Honestlly, Jack Del Rio or Norm Chow would have been a better selection as a head coach for USC.

  4. Brilliant
    Brilliant says:

    To run a clean program, hire a 34-year-old guy with more NCAA violations than most 50 year old coaches… multiple of which are recruiting related. FAIL.

  5. Maxtrojan
    Maxtrojan says:

    sad SEC fans come on to a USC news letter distributed to USC students and fans in LA to parret the same bitter anger of losing their coach. The guy has every right to pursue what he wants when the opportunity is there. Get over it and move forward like adults.

    Go USC

  6. Kiffin Blows
    Kiffin Blows says:

    Congratulations on snagging a coach with an overall losing record. I give him 3 years tops with all of them being mediocre. He’s also incapable of following NCAA guidelines, so expect the NCAA violations to continue. The only thing he has going for him is daddy. Prepare to suck it, Trojan football.

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