Whether or not you agree with this hire was handled it is hard not to be excited about it.
Kennedy Pola is a tremendous addition to the coaching staff. He will change the dynamics in the running game and he will be a tremendous addition on the recruiting trail.
Before people go overboard in worrying about the PR aspect of this move please keep in mind one thing....Pola didn't have to take the call and he didn't have to say yes to Kiffin. It is pretty clear to me that there are other factors that went into Pola deciding to leave when he did. Something changed between now and when Kiffin reportedly reached out to Pola when he was putting his staff together earlier this year.
Pola really didn't want to leave USC but he became a victim of Pete Carroll wanting to bring in his own guys when he came on so he moved on.
There are some things out there that might have given Pola pause to really think about taking the job when Kiffin approached him a second time about the position. One, is the impending labor dispute in the NFL. How that effects position coaches is unclear but it would not surprise me if salaries are cut or suspended while there is a lock-out. The other issue is more personal, Pola has two young sons and one of those will be high school age this year or next. It would not surprise me if Pola wants his sons to attend Mater Dei.
I am not going to debate whether or not Lane Kiffin handled this correctly.
Why bother, it doesn't matter what Kiffin does...any amount of controversy associated with Kiffin will be blown out of proportion anyway so to me it all just background noise. We really don't know what really happened here. We hear Fisher's side of the story which the media is only too happy push forward to make USC and Kiffin look like the bad guys, but like I said above Pola didn't have to take the call...it is clear that something changed so he took a second look.
Why Fisher decided to play this out in public is beyond me. Coaches leave for different jobs all the time...though I will admit in this instance it appears to be a little too close for comfort with regards to the time of year to make such a move. I don't seem to recall Pete Carroll pissing and moaning publicly over coaches leaving when the NFL or other colleges raided his staff (he only does that when his star QB leaves). Heck, when Sarkisian took everything but the kitchen sink to UW there was barley a peep out of Carroll. What about when Carl Smith bailed on'SC at the last second to go to Cleveland...that was to be the QB coach, a step down from being the OC at USC.
'SC fans bashed Smith for his decision to bail at the last second but not the Cleveland head coach who made the offer. If Titans fans want to hammer Pola that is well within their right...but a head coach hammering another head coach publicly is petty in my eyes. Especially when everyone with half a brain knew that Pola was Kiffin's #1 target to fill the job vacated by McNair. Turn about is fair play, the NFL never thinks twice about taking college coaches for their staffs...this time it is the other way around.
Pola left his position as RB coach in Tennessee to be the OC at USC...a step up. Kiffin may still call the plays but I would not be surprised if Kiffin let Pola make up the game plans. That is big step up for Pola and a nice bullet point on his resume.
These sorts of moves happen every day in the business world. Guys get better deals or better opportunities...sometimes they act on them sometimes they don't. There is no easy way to depart one employer for another I have been through this myself. Sometimes the timing works but most of the time it doesn't...feelings are hurt and resentment takes over.
I am not going to get into what is the proper way to handle it. Some will say Kiffin should have asked for permission as a common courtesy while others will say that Pola has a right to confidentiality when it comes to personal decisions on his career. I am ambivalent...business is business and it isn't always pretty.
Did UT fans wag their fingers in disapproval when Dooley took over for Kififn? What about Titans fans? Did they do the same when Fisher hired Pola away from Del Rio? This is big boy business and sometimes it isn't pretty...
'SC is in a bit of a bunker mentality mode right now because they are literally under siege from all of this. Kiffin did exactly what he thinks USC needed to make them competitive and I have no problem with it.