LOS ANGELES — USC has fired Lane Kiffin, making the announcement in early Sunday morning not long after the team lost 62-41 at Arizona State.
The Trojans posted a short news released to the school’s athletic department web site early Sunday morning, saying that athletic director Pat Haden informed Kiffin of the decision “upon the team charter’s arrival back in Los Angeles” after the loss, USC’s seventh in its past 11 games.
USC spokesman Tim Tessalone confirmed the decision when contacted by The Associated Press Sunday morning.
Kiffin went 28-15 at USC in parts of four seasons, but his team is 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2001. And this stay — like many of his other jobs — comes with a quick, tumult-laden exit.
He was an NFL head coach at 31, a head coach in the Southeastern Conference at 33 and became USC’s head coach at 34. If there was a consistent trend to those stops with the Oakland Raiders, then Tennessee and finally the Trojans, it was turmoil.
With Oakland, he lasted only 20 games and his departure became a messy, public feud between he and Al Davis, the former Raiders owner who died in 2011. His arrival in Tennessee was not warmly received by all Vols fans, given the loyalties many had to the former coach there, Phillip Fulmer.
And then came the USC era. The Trojans were hit with severe NCAA sanctions a few months after Kiffin arrived — he had nothing to do with the wrongdoing that wound up costing the school 30 scholarships over three years and the right to go to the postseason twice — but it set the tone for another bumpy ride.
Between the ongoing issue with the sanctions and injuries, the Trojans played at Arizona State on Saturday night with 56 recruited scholarship players. The lack of depth was evident at times in that game, and in the end, Kiffin was held ultimately responsible.
USC says Haden will hold a news conference later Sunday. The move to fire Kiffin comes less than five months after Haden said that the team’s now-former coach has, given the sanctions and other issues, “been as good as he can be.”
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