In what has to be one of the strangest turn of events in the world of college football Former Tennessee Football head coach Lane Kiffin left Knoxville to return to USC.
Friday afternoon we were shocked to hear that Pete Carroll was seriously looking to leave USC to become the Seattle Sea Hawks next head coach. That became a reality yesterday with Carroll resigning from USC to take that job today.
USC then went through its list of potential candidates being turned down at every turn.
Our friends at TrojanWire reported that Mike Garrett was being kept out of the hiring process and that Jack Del Rio was going to be the head coach with Norm Chow and Kennedy Pola coming to USC with him. This obviously fizzled with Del Rio staying in Jacksonville. From there the search became sketchy.
There were rumors on the message boards that some members of the board of trustees were heading the search. There were indications of a superstar hire with a very dynamic staff coming to USC...that apparently was not the case as the Kiffin hire caught everyone completely off guard.
Kiffin is apparently putting together a top notch staff to include...Ed Orgeron, Tim Davis and Monte Kiffin.
It was reported by Shelley Smith from ESPN early on in the developments that Norm Chow was coming back to USC as well but as of this writing it appears that at this time Chow is reportedly in negotiations with nothing finalized. Chow coming to back to USC would cap off these stunning developments but it would appear there is a way to go with Chow.
Even if Chow didn't come back USC still has a crack coaching staff and will probably lock up another solid recruiting class.
Kiffin is being excoriated everywhere between the USC and Tennessee message boards. The rest of the internet is piling on as well. Kiffin brings some familiarity to the USC football program. He knows the landscape, he knows the tradition and he can recruit. What remains to be seen is if he can coach. Tennessee looked better towards the end of the season but they still had their issues.
Kiffin also brings some baggage. He has some swagger and is seen a loudmouth. He is universally disliked by most other coaches in the SEC where he did twist a lot of people the wrong way right out of the gate. But he went into Knoxville looking to change a culture and fire up a fan base. Kiffin brings some NCAA baggage as well a number of secondary violations and an alleged "wide-ranging investigation" into some of the moves he made.
This is an intriguing hire for USC for a number of reasons that I mentioned above, but with signing day three weeks away, with the NCAA getting ready to hold infraction hearings and with USC running out of candidates this was the person they chose. How it works out is anyone's guess. At this time, I am more impressed with the assistants than I am with head coach.
Make no mistake, for now, Kiffin will have my unwavering support until he does something stupid and that is a very possible scenario. He tweaked Spurrier, Meyer, and Saban so I can see no reason why he wouldn't do it in the Pac-10. It is an interesting hire to say the least.
Joey will be on this for the rest of the evening.