5 Worst USC football head coaching hires of all time

We count down the five worst head coaching hires in USC football history.

UCLA v USC
UCLA v USC / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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No. 4 Ted Tollner (1983-86)

The old sports saying is that you don't want to be the man who follows "the man". But in the case of Ted Tollner, he couldn't follow the man who followed "the man" and that ended one of the golden ages of USC football.

Prior to Tollner's hiring in 1983, John Robinson (his predecessor) and Joh McKay had overseen the Trojans from 1960-82. During that run, the program won five National Championships and twelve conference crowns.

Thus, Tollner was handed a golden opportunity, the chance to run a college football blue-blood that had been humming along at the top of the sport for decades. (In fairness, though, in the last three years of Robinson's tenure, USC did slip a bit failing to win more than nine games in any of those seasons and not winning the league title either.)

Still, Tollner was expected to get USC football back to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, he did the opposite. He was just 26-20-1 in four years on the job though he did win the PAC-10 championship in 1984.

One issue Tollner had was that he didn't beat USC's two primary rivals enough. He was winless against Notre Dame and just 1-3 against cross-town rival UCLA. That's a good way to be shown the door quickly at USC and that's what happened with Tollner who was fired in 1986.

His reputation isn't helped by the fact that his successor, Larry Smith, would win the PAC-10 title in each of the first three years after the Tollner era proving the USC football was still a force to be dealt with. Thus, Tollner winds up on our list of the worst coaching hires in USC history thanks to his inability to keep the program in the National Championship or even the PAC-10 Championship discussion on an annual basis as the two men before he did.