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1st & 10:
First Take… After Steve Sarkisian’s firing was made official by USC on Monday afternoon, the narrative quickly shifted, as it had been since Sunday’s leave of absence announcement, towards Pat Haden’s role in the hiring process.
Most of those takes focused on Haden’s ability to make the right choice when it comes to picking the next Trojan head coach, considering his failure on two hires already in his tenure.
The better question is whether or not any of the top head coaches in the nation think USC is an attractive job in the first place.
Part of that is on Haden. Though he has done great things to bolster the stability of the athletics department in terms of academics and enforcement, the program has become as unstable as the fault lines which sit below the Los Angeles basin.
Two gambled hires which did not pay off have not helped that situation.
But it also goes beyond Haden. There have been controversies outside of his control like the Josh Shaw situation or the deflated footballs or swapped jerseys which have made USC look like a circus for years now.
The Trojans are glue for controversy. Everything sticks.
The problem for USC is not necessarily that Haden hired Lane Kiffin or Sarkisian, it’s that there was no better home run candidate who seemed interested enough in the job to prevent those hires.
From the outside, it would be perfectly reasonable for a head coach with a stable position at another university to look beyond the palm trees and great weather and wonder if moving to literal and figurative earthquake country might not be worth the trouble.
In the past it might have been sanctions giving coaches second thoughts. Now it may very well be the circus around the program.
That is the big hurdle the Trojans must clear as the coaching search begins. Parting ways with, or shifting the role of, Haden is a start towards making a public effort to show that the athletic department is serious about getting things back on track. While Haden’s place at USC is being called into question, he can’t possibly look a potential candidate in the eye and promise them stability.
USC must first stabilize the program, then it can get to work on finding a new head coach.
And Ten USC Football News Links…
- Reign Of Troy: Who will be hired as the next head coach at USC? We submit ten candidates for the job, from an up-and-comer like Justin Fuente to an established winner like Gary Patterson.
- Reign Of Troy: Dominic Davis sent out prayers for Sarkisian while several other Trojans posted rallying cries on Twitter after the firing.
- LA Times: Todd Marinovich revealed how he tried to stop Sarkisian from going on stage at Salute to Troy and discusses how he understands what Sarkisian is going through.
- OC Register: Michael Lev reviewed the “30 for 30” documentary “Trojan War,” noting that the film had a segment on NCAA corruption that had to be cut due to time constraints. All in all, Lev’s thoughts are positive about the film.
- ESPN: Ted Miller calls for Pat Haden to give up his role as athletic director to refocus on getting the Coliseum renovations off the ground.
- Seattle Times: Pete Carroll gave his thoughts on the Sarkisian situation, saying the trouble his former assistant finds himself in now, “breaks [his] heart.”
- Bleacher Report: Just days after de-committing from USC, Daelin Hayes will be on hand when the Trojans face Notre Dame in South Bend.
- Bleacher Report: Jonathan Snowden profiles former Trojan Gerald Washington’s rise as a boxer. Washington will fight on Fox Sports 1 tonight.
- Fox Sports: Matt Leinart went on Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel’s The Audible podcast to talk Sark, calling for USC to look outside of the Trojan family for the next hire.
- Reign of Troy: There was one piece of non-Sarkisian news that broke on Monday, as FOX set the kickoff for USC vs. Utah at 4:30 p.m.
Stat of the Day:
USC has had four head coaches in the past 25 months.
Tweets of the Day:
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers