USC athletic director Pat Haden held a press conference Sunday to discuss the school's firing of Lane Kiffin and introduce Ed Orgeron as the interim head coach.
"It's never the perfect time, but I thought it was the right time," Haden said about the decision to part ways with Kiffin. "We weren't making the progress I thought we should be making. I personally have a great deal of respect for Lane. He did a lot of things well under some very difficult circumstances here."
Kiffin was fired Sunday morning shortly after the Trojans' 62-41 loss to Arizona State, and was reportedly pulled off the team's bus and told of the decision at LAX, with the bus leaving for campus without him. Haden confirmed the report that Kiffin was given the news at the airport, and said he met with Kiffin for about 45 minutes, beginning at 3 a.m. local time.
Haden added that he thought the players handled the news "particularly well," calling their reaction "great." (Read into that what you will.) Haden then introduced Orgeron, and said later that Orgeron "will be evaluated like any other candidate." Haden deflected the inevitable questions about the job search and potential candidates.
Haden said all of us here in this room are head coaching candidates for #USC.— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) September 29, 2013
Pat Haden says he doesn't want to to talk about the coaching search now. "It's not fair to our team." #USC— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) September 29, 2013
Haden said he heard no complaints from players or coaches about Kiffin. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) September 29, 2013
Orgeron said the offense would not look dramatically different. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) September 29, 2013
Common theme: Haden, Orgeron and the players not throwing Kiffin under the bus. Only saying good things about him. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) September 29, 2013
The loss to ASU sank Kiffin's career record at USC to 28-15, with a conference record of 17-12. The Trojans lost seven of their last 11 games under Kiffin, including five of their last six Pac-12 contests.