PASADENA, Calif. — Despite speculation that his job is in jeopardy, USC coach Lane Kiffin announced following Saturday’s 38-28 loss to crosstown rival UCLA that he will be back on the sidelines for the Trojans in 2013.
Kiffin told reporters during his post-game news conference at the Rose Bowl he had been assured by Athletic Director Pat Haden he would keep his job.
A USC spokesperson confirmed that such a conversation between Haden and Kiffin had taken place. Haden also confirmed the account via text message to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“Absolutely,” Haden responded, when asked if Kiffin would remain with the program.
Though it began the season ranked atop the Associated Press top-25 poll, USC is now unranked and is also the first preseason No. 1 team to lose at least four regular season games since 1984, when Auburn finished 9-4. Should they remain unranked, the Trojans would also carry the dubious distinction of being the first preseason AP No. 1 team to fall outside the top 25 since Ole Miss went 5-5-1 in 1964.
“Obviously, we’re extremely disappointed in this season,” Kiffin said. “We’re too talented to have this many losses. That falls on me.”
A former USC assistant coach from 2001-06, Kiffin left Tennessee after one season to replace Pete Carroll in January 2010 and is curently in the third year of a reported five-year contract.
The Trojans (7-4, 5-4) face No. 1 Notre Dame on Saturday at the Coliseum in their regular season finale, in addition to a potential bowl game.
When asked following the loss to UCLA if he was concerned about the impact the remaining stretch of games would have on his job status, Kiffin insisted he wasn’t.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said.
Under Kiffin, USC has gone 25-11 through nearly three seasons, including a 10-2 finish in 2011.