USC athletic director Pat Haden fired Lane Kiffin on the plane ride home from a 62-41 loss to Arizona State on Saturday night, and now needs to find an interim head coach for the Trojans.
The most likely suitor? Ed Orgeron.
Orgeron, 52, is the only coach on staff with head coaching experience, and is the most tenured, having now been at USC for parts of 11 seasons, under three different head coaches.
Orgeron first got to USC in 1998, when Paul Hackett hired him to coach the defensive line, after holding the same position at Syracuse. He stayed at USC until 2005, when he got the chance to be the head coach at Ole Miss.
While at Ole Miss, Orgeron struggled on the field, finishing with just 10 wins in three years, but his stint was the most memorable in terms of recruiting. Orgeron landed Michael Oher, of the The Blindside fame, and famously lost out on Joe McKnight, which was highlighted in Bruce Feldman’s book Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting.
Pat Haden will most likely make the announcement on an interim this afternoon, when he formally announces the sacking of Lane Kiffin. Here’s other in-houseoptions:
- Clancy Pendergast: As the defensive coordinator, Pendergast could be the second option behind Orgeron, though if he’s given the interim tag, he would probably be the first defensive coordinator in history to give up 62 points and get promoted six hours later.
- Tee Martin: The former Tennessee QB’s destiny is to be an offensive coordinator and/or head coach someday. Perhaps this would be an interesting time to get his feet wet in a low-pressure, nothing-to-lose situation.
- Clay Helton Just like Pendergast on the defensive side of things, Helton’s offensive coordinator position makes him next in line to get promoted. But is that worthy of it? Not sure.
- Mike Summers: Of all of the coaches on USC’s staff, Summer has the most experience, having got his start at Kentucky as a grad asssitant back in 1980. Experience could play a factor, though he’s a longshot.
Haden could go way outside of the box and name an interim head coach from outside of the program, but those candidates would be way too hard to predict a shortlist on.