USC announced the firing of Lane Kiffin early Sunday morning, following the Trojans' 62-41 loss at Arizona State. The embattled Kiffin was 4-7 in his last 11 games, including 3-2 this year. Kiffin exits with a four-year record of 28-15.
A USC news release said athletic director Pat Haden informed Kiffin of his termination upon the team's arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning.
"My job is to do what is best for USC," Haden said during a press conference on Sunday. "I personally have a great deal of respect for Lane. ... He did the absolute best he can. Lane was clearly disappointed. He really, really tried to keep his job."
|Lane Kiffin's college record|
Haden also confirmed CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman's report that assistant head coach Ed Orgeron will be named the interim coach. Orgeron, who also serves as the team's recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach, has been an assistant since his three season stint as the head coach at Ole Miss. He was fired after the 2007 season, leaving Oxford with a 10-25 record. The news was first reported by ESPN.
The Trojans have an open date next week before returning to the field for a Thursday night home game against Arizona Oct. 10.
Kiffin, the one-time Trojans offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll, arrived at USC in 2010 following Carroll's departure to the NFL. Kiffin was immediately confronted with the fallout from a wide-ranging NCAA investigation into impropriety during Carroll's tenure, including the loss of 30 scholarships over three years and a two-year bowl ban.
The Trojans finished 8-5 in Kiffin's first year, but improved to 10-2 in 2011 and started 2012 -- the bowl ban having been lifted -- with a No. 1 AP ranking and perceived as a serious national title contender. But a Week 3 loss to Stanford quickly knocked the Trojans off that perch, and clouds began to circle around Kiffin when the team lost five of its final six and limped to a 7-6 finish.
The 2013 campaign started little better, as the Trojans followed a season-opening win against Hawaii with a shocking 10-7 home loss to Washington State on Sept. 7. Immediately following that loss, the home crowd chanted "Fire Kiffin" as the team left the field. This past Saturday -- one week after outlasting Utah State, 17-14 -- USC allowed 42 points in the second half to hand ASU a 62-41 victory.
The USC defense, which entered the ASU game ranked 4th in NCAA defense, allowed 602 yards to the Sun Devils. The loss dropped the Trojans to 0-2 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2001, Carroll's first season on the job.