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As Bruins Nation has been saying all along, Norm Chow will not be leaving UCLA to join Lane Kiffin’s new staff at USC.From a statement issued by Chow through UCLA this afternoon:
"I appreciate the interest from USC and Lane Kiffin, but I feel we are building something special here at UCLA and I am excited about our future."
Norm Chow said this while speaking on a chair made of solid platinum that just happened to pop up in front of him the minute the rumors of him going to USC surfaced. You know, a chair as coincidental as the raise he’s surely getting out of this deal. I love those kind of coincidences.
WOO! Just like that one!
Via Will Brinson at Buster Sports, we now have video to accompany our quotes from Lane Kiffin’s press conference at USC Wednesday night. Here’s the first of the three-part series of videos. Head to Buster Sports to watch the other two — this first one has a real cliffhanger! (Not really.)
Southern California introduced Lane Kiffin as their new head coach Wednesday night. Kiffin naturally called USC a "perfect fit." The entire press conference had an odd feel to it ... delusional? Slimy? Disingenuous? I'm not sure what the correct adjective is, but whatever it is, it isn't positive.
He arrived late to his first news conference after being stuck in traffic.
Kiffin worked as an assistant under Pete Carroll, the coach he replaces at USC, working his way up to offensive coordinator in 2005. [...]
Kiffin says his first priority is to run a clean and disciplined program.
At one point, T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times began grilling Kiffin, prompting this response from the new SC head coach: "I don't know that you don't know that we know what we know now to be inaccurate."
Eventually, USC AD Mike Garrett was forced to interrupt the questioning, "and told USC SID Tim Tessalone to move the press conference along."
Expect plenty more reaction at SB Nation's Conquest Chronicles.
Seems that like their current counterparts, former Tennessee players aren't too fond of this "Lane Kiffin" fellow! The Knoxville paper caught up with a few Vol alums who were only too happy to share their thoughts on the imbroglio:
"I think it was low," White said. "I think it was betrayal because there were a lot of things he promised. He promised (the players) a lot of different things and promised the fans a lot of things he couldn't hold up to. . . . I think it was even lower because you leave during the recruiting period. You leave with three weeks left in recruiting. You leave when you've got (mid-year enrollees) in transit to Knoxville. I think that's the lowest way to do it."
It gets worse (of course it does). Read on.
The search is on for Tennessee’s next football coach. According to SB Nation’s Rocky Top Talk, who covered Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton’s press conference today, that search could be over by the end of the week. Hamilton reportedly said the university hopes to have a coach in place by Friday or Saturday, which would help them prevent Kiffin and departed assistant Ed Orgeron from getting more of Tennessee’s recruits to follow them out west.
Assistant coach Kippy Brown will serve as the team's interim head coach, and will reportedly also receive consideration to stay on in that position permanently.
For more on the Vols, head over to SB Nation’s Rocky Top Talk
USC fans, largely positive on the Kiffin hire, do receive the requisite words of caution from Conquest Chronicles on the morning after:
USC is attempting to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time by hiring this all-star cast…understand that there is no guarantee of success. Many of these guys’ egos are much bigger now then when they first came to USC. This will be difficult to manage.
It’s also trying to do that without the key ingredient of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow, who as of 1:00 pm. EST isn’t a done deal to be a part of the staff.
Team Speed Kills says Kiffin's statement that he's leaving the program in better shape than he found it is another example of his only real accomplishment at Tennessee: Spin.
All of which prompted Kiffin to boldly declare as he left Tennessee under cover of darkness Tuesday: "I know ... that we're leaving here fourteen months later a lot better team than we were fourteen months ago." Exactly how so, Boy Wonder? Fourteen months ago, Tennessee was an average football team that had gone almost .500 the previous season, just lost its head coach and faced an unsettled situtation at quarterback. Now, Tennessee is an average football team that went slightly better than .500 this past season, has just lost its head coach and faces an unsettled situation at quarterback.
While Lane Kiffin spoke (briefly) to gathered media after it became official he was leaving for USC, the real story was happening outside. Upon learning their coach -- the same guy who once said, "I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year, it will be a blast" -- was departing for Southern Cal, after just one year at UT, the students, well ... they weren't too pleased. And like true college students from generations before them, they reacted by TAKING IT TO THE STREETS, MAN!
All images via SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk.
Wait, wha—- Yes, to recap: Lane Kiffin is no longer the head coach at Tennessee. He did not leave this position to walk the earth, attend law school, or pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a forest ranger. He’s leaving for another job.
And that job isn’t with the Forest Service? Unless the Forest Service just beat Boston College in the Emerald Bowl, no. He’s going to USC, the school whose head coaching job was recently vacated by Pete Carroll in favor of the Seattle Seahawks’ head job.
So, what does this mean for Tennessee? Rioting, or at least a mild variation of it outside the UT Athletic offices. Tennessee player Renaldo Woodridge documented some of the mayhem on his Twitter feed, including some light tear-gassing of a crowd alternating chants of “F—- You Kiffin” and the coach’s address.
This is not an exaggeration. Real live rioting, albeit pretty festive-looking rioting:
(HT: From The Rumble Seat)
So the news didn’t exactly go over well with the natives.
It also means wide receivers coach Kippy Brown is the interim head coach at Tennessee for the moment. He will have to hang on to not only his recruiting class waiting at high schools across the nation, but even those in early enrollment at UT, as Rocky Top Talk is reporting that Ed Orgeron was offering early enrollees USC scholarships despite them being on campus at Tennessee.
Sounds weird? Oh, in The Great Kiffin-ing, there is no bottom to the weirdness. Only more pit without end:
(HT: The Wiz.) That’s correct: Ed Orgeron offering recruits USC bids in the room while their coach is telling them he’s leaving. Many players might have missed the calls as they walked out of the meeting, which according to reports many players did before Kiffin finished.
Is Kiffin getting the band back together? The band, referring to the glory days team of USC that won titles in the early 2000s and made USC the lion of the PAC-10? It seems it, with some new wrinkles. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will follow his son. So will recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, a USC stalwart largely credited for building USC’s golden recruiting pipeline.
One missing link in this is former USC offensive coordinator and coaching demigod Norm Chow, the current play-caller at UCLA. Some say he’s staying, and some say he’s going, and we’re all just confused and waiting on the cash to stop flying around.
So…who’s coming to Tennessee? With the seat still warm, it’s really not couth to discuss this on a night of mourning. We kid! Decorum went out the window around 8:00 p.m., so let’s speculate away.
Tony Barnhart says it’s Will Muschamp, Duke coach and former Tennessee OC David Cutcliffe, and wait for it…Phil Fulmer. The hilarity of Tennessee groveling back to the man they fired for Kiffin aside, Muschamp would be a hot young hire, albeit one promised as head-coach-in-waiting at Texas.
Other possibilities we’re just firing straight from the hip: Gary Patterson of TCU, Mike Leach of Texas Tech, and Kevin Sumlin of Houston. Jon Gruden, a former Tennessee assistant, is also out there, but he’s paid a lot of money to talk about football once a week on ABC. You can also put any other coach not nailed down with unmovable money here, because Tennessee’s got the cash and the motivation to use it (because, due to unforeseeable circumstances, they have to use it fast.)
Toss in Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino because they are Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino.
Again: wait for the moneystorm to settle down before putting your head out the window, because a hundred dollar bill makes a helluva paper cut.
Is this all as insane as it seems? For once, yes. This may wax even stranger before the whole thing settles down. For someone with a 12-21 record as a head coach Kiffin possesses an incredible buoyancy, failing up with short but losing tenures at Oakland and Tennessee. I assume his buttocks are made of pure helium and his shoe soles of lead to keep him from floating to the ceiling of every room he enters.
A better question: why is USC choosing Kiffin? USC’s offenses declined in their effectiveness under his watch. The program is clouded over with the pall of possible NCAA sanctions, but has opted to hire a coach who committed a slew of secondary violations in only a year at Tennessee, and who helped preside over many of the alleged oversights in oversight at USC.
According to Bruce Feldman on ESPN News, Kiffin’s entry into picture was late and swift, indicating that the hiring itself was a pell-mell sprint from the start. USC had already been turned down by several major candidates. If Kiffin somehow succeeds at USC, this will look like an epic caper pulled off by Mike Garrett and a coach who smelled more opportunity on the Left Coast. However, failure or even mere “goodness” will make this look like the panic hire you might suspect if of being. And thus far, Lane Kiffin hasn’t even been good as a head coach at any level.
Who wins in all this? Jimmy Sexton, superagent to coaches in the SEC and beyond. Daddy's getting a new vacation home with the cut from all the raises he's getting coaches off this business. If you need him, he'll be out back on his cellphone staying warm next to a firepit burning on a fast-burning blend of Euros and greenbacks.
Not so fast on all that Norm Chow to USC talk.
ESPN's Shelley Smith went on ESPNews earlier Tuesday night and said that Chow was joining Lane Kiffin in USC as the team's offensive coordinator. However, the guys over at our UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, who are absolutely all over this, by the way, are reporting that Chow is still under contract through "next season at least." That obviously would make things more difficult (but not impossible; see: Kiffin, Lane).
Their most recent update is an e-mail from UCLA's Sports Information Director, who reportedly said, "As far as we know, it is an incorrect report."
The LA Times reports that the two sides are talking, but so far, "no deal has been reached." Apparently it would take "NFL-type money" to get him to return to USC, which I guess is more than the $690,000 he was set to make at UCLA next season, including a $250,000 bonus if he was their offensive coordinator on April 1.
UPDATE: SB Nation's Bruins Nation reports that Chow is staying at UCLA ... LA Times is still saying there's no deal ... and the LA Daily News is backtracking on their original report, and now saying that "USC is throwing piles of money at him." Fin.
Lane Kiffin gave a (very) brief statement tonight, where he spoke for about a minute, and did not take any questions.
Here is the video, via WVLT in Knoxville:
"This was not an easy decision," he said in a brief press conference on Tennessee's campus. "I really believe this is the only place I would have left here to go."
It's early still, and seemingly came out of nowhere (don't the parties involved know America is trying to watch "American Idol" tonight?!), but SB Nation's USC blog, Conquest Chronicles, offers their insta-reaction on Lane Kiffin becoming their team's new head coach.
Sounds like the players are on board...Just heard Mark Tyler on ESPN News sounding really happy about it. Remember Kiffin recruited many of the upperclassmen so they know him.
If it is true that Coach O is back that saves much if not all of the recruiting class.
Bringing Monte Kiffin will give us the same Tampa II defense but hopefully he has some new twists.
Kiffin had some issues with secondary violations with the NCAA. That's a concern with the NCC getting ready to meet in February. He will need to be on his best behavior.
This hire is going to draw a lot of scrutiny. There will be many that will not like it, and USC will get hammered for it if fails.
They're getting the band back together. Norm Chow, after two seasons as the offensive coordinator at UCLA, will be joining Lane Kiffin in the same role as the reunion tour pulls into USC. The news was first reported by ESPN's Shelley Smith on ESPNews.
Chow served as the Trojans' OC from 2001-2004, and spent the past two seasons with the crosstown rival Bruins.
Update: Chow to USC is not a done deal just yet ...
From SB Nation's USC blog, Conquest Chronicles (where they are obviously a bit stunned just like the rest of us), comes the official release from Southern California.
Lane Kiffin, the one-time USC offensive coordinator who then became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and at Tennessee, has been named the Trojans' head football coach, USC athletic director Mike Garrett announced today.
Joining Kiffin's staff as assistants will be Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin. Both were on the Tennessee staff in 2009 with Kiffin.
Orgeron, one of college football's top recruiters and defensive line coaches, previously served seven seasons at USC before becoming Mississippi's head coach and then an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. Monte Kiffin, Lane's father, is a longtime NFL and collegiate coach known for his defensive prowess.
And now what ESPN reported is also confirmed: Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin and heading to Troy, too.
The full releases can be read here, with statements from USC AD Mike Garrett.
Via the hilariously unreliable Knoxville paper (see headline), Lane Kiffin's buyout at Tennessee is a "mere" $800,000. The cost to the Vols themselves will be far greater: With Kiffin, it's very safe to assume, will go his father and DC Monte Kiffin, recruiting coordinator/wildebeest Ed Orgeron, and any number of crackerjack recruiters (and recruits). One coach staying put is newly hired Kippy Brown, who has been named interim head coach.
Via the actually reliable Wes Rucker, news emerges that some sort of press event will take place at 9:30 tonight at UT.
Lane Kiffin is going going, back back, to Cali, Cali. According to sources, Kiffin has agreed to become the new head coach at Southern California.
ESPN's Joe Schad tweeted the same thing: "USC has hired Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, sources say."
Kiffin served as a positions coach and offensive coordinator at USC from 2001-2006 before leaving to become the head coach of the Raiders in 2007. He was fired after Week 4 of the 2008 season, and finished with a record of 5-15 in Oakland. Kiffin was the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers for the 2009 season, and went 7-6.
WJXT news in Jacksonville caught up with Jack Del Rio outside of the Jaguars’ facility Tuesday morning and asked him about the report that USC has sent him a contract to be the team’s next head coach. His response, in part:
"All of those things are manufactured," Del Rio said early Tuesday. "The only thing I can tell you is I’ve been busy working on the Jaguars for 2010. We’re busy at work, trying to build this thing strong."
Here’s video of Del Rio addressing the issue with the Channel 4 News Team:
Current Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has been sent a contract by USC that -- if signed -- will make him the next head coach of the Trojans, according to LA's Daily News' Scott Wolf.
Del Rio has extremely strong ties to the university -- he was an All-American linebacker at USC in the 80's and was the Rose Bowl MVP with the Trojans in 1985. He also played catcher on the same USC baseball team as Mark McGwire, which isn't necessarily pertinent information here, but I found interesting nevertheless.
If Del Rio accepts the job at USC, he will forfeit over $15 million in remaining salary from Jacksonville.
For more on USC, including some parting thoughts on Pete Carroll, head to SB Nation's Conquest Chronicles.
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