USC AD Pat Haden says Lane Kiffin isn't on hot seat

LOS ANGELES — Although Lane Kiffin is grateful for Southern California athletic director Pat Haden’s video vote of confidence, his job security won’t alter Kiffin’s urgency to get the Trojans back on top.

USC released a video in which Haden strongly backed Kiffin on Thursday night, the day before Pac-12 football media day in Culver City.

“I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year,” Haden said in the video. “Here is my answer, and will be my answer whenever I’m asked: He is not.”

Haden also said he is “behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent.”

USC endured a hugely disappointing season last year, going 7-6 after starting with the preseason No. 1 ranking. Despite the presence of senior quarterback Matt Barkley and star receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the Trojans lost five of their final six games, finishing their embarrassing slide with losses to crosstown foe UCLA, perennial rival Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Yet Haden and USC President Max Nikias have never wavered in their support of their attention-attracting coach, who is 25-13 after three seasons under severe scholarship restrictions from NCAA sanctions handed down shortly after Kiffin was hired in 2010.

“Obviously, it’s a positive,” Kiffin said about Haden’s vote of confidence. “It’s not a negative to me from my standpoint as a head coach, but it wasn’t a surprise to me, because I deal with Pat on a daily basis, so I have felt Pat’s support and Max’s support the whole time we’ve been here.”

Kiffin served as an assistant coach under Pete Carroll at USC before brief stops with the Oakland Raiders and the University of Tennessee. He left the Volunteers after just 14 months to replace Carroll following the 2009 season, only to see the program buckled by sanctions a few months later.

USC was hit with a two-year bowl ban, four years of probation, 30 lost scholarships and 14 vacated victories for misdeeds involving Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.

Faced with obvious depth problems and the school’s tarnished reputation before his first game, Kiffin has recruited exceptionally well and run a largely clean program at USC, getting into only minor compliance scrapes. But his sometimes-brash personality and the Trojans’ underachievement in two of his three seasons have led to an uneasy relationship between the coach and many of the school’s most ardent fans and alumni.

Although Haden didn’t hire Kiffin, only taking over the athletic program several months after AD Mike Garrett left, the former USC quarterback has been a firm supporter of Kiffin. Haden made similar statements of confidence in Kiffin last season, repeatedly dismissing the notion he would abruptly fire his coach.

“I have felt that they have always looked at the big picture of things and taken the whole time we’ve been here into account,” Kiffin said of Haden and Nikias. “They have a better understanding of the numbers, of what happened three years ago with the sanctions, how that impacts us in a bunch of different areas I’m not going into, but I think they understand that a lot better than a fan would or the media would, because they’re right in the middle of it.”

USC was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 South by the league’s media on Friday behind UCLA and Arizona State. Kiffin hasn’t picked a successor to four-year starter Barkley, but Lee returns along with tailback Silas Redd and the usual bumper crop of elite offensive talent.

The Trojans’ defense, which was repeatedly shredded last year, will have an entirely new look under defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who replaced Kiffin’s father, Monte.

“It’s been a great transition,” USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said. “Pendergast brings that swagger that’s been great for us. They simplified this defense for us guys to go out there and just play fast and play to the best of our ability.”

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Comments » 27

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

We'll see if Pat still feels that way when USC is getting their arse handed to them by UVA in the Sun Bowl..

CoverOrange writes:

Hamilton gave Fulmer a raise the summer of 2008. Let's check back in November.

On another note, a guy that made it in the football world with a name like Clancy Pendergast has to be tough.

volforeverandever writes:

Lets see what Pat says after this season.

Caspian writes:

The first step on the way to getting fired is always the 100% positive endorsement by your boss.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say the curse now maturing into the "realisation Im a Failure omg!" phase..Witch Doctor not remember too many of these votes of Confidence working out..Witch Doctor say Bwhahahahahah
Bones never lie.

HallowedHill writes:

They never ask if you're on the hot seat if you aren't. The only exception might be Auburn, where even after an undefeated season, they might secretly be looking for your replacement.

beartn#223846 writes:

The AD has to support a current coach publicly this early in the recruiting season, even if he's building a wish list for the next coach.

pingkr62 writes:

Like we have never heard the "vote of confidence" lie before. Unless a miracle happens at USC, Lane is history! G.B.O.!!!

gohawks1 writes:

The beginning of the end...

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to beartn#223846:

The AD has to support a current coach publicly this early in the recruiting season, even if he's building a wish list for the next coach.

You are correct sir. I think Haden just wants Kiffin long enough to guide them thru probation which player wise he has done very very well because his recruiting has been excellent and deferred some of the lost scholarships..LeBatard interviewed him last week and Kiffin was candid and humble and made me laugh with his jokes

bigdisbig writes:

Once Kiffin loses another 5 games not only will Kiffin be on the hot seat but Hayden also.

Mboroalum writes:

Translation: I'm probably gonna fire his a** before the seasons over.

GBO

Chappy writes:

Vote of confidence = "I know it was you, Fredo."

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to Chappy:

Vote of confidence = "I know it was you, Fredo."

Yes

NashvillePreds writes:

Not a huge PTI fan, but caught Bob Ryan subbing for Kornheiser yesterday. Kiffin was a subject of the show. Wilbon's response was not memorable, but B Ryan was classic.
Regarding Kiffin, Ryan's commentary was something along the lines of:
"Are you kidding me? This guy is done. He is a complete nutjob in the industry. Everyone knows it, he's nuts. Al Davis was right. who knew? Just ask the folks at Tennessee."

Go Vols

SevenT writes:

Without a doubt the most hilarious moment in the history of the SEC was Kiffin bolting Knoxville after 1 season followed by Riots complete with burning furniture in the streets of K-Town. Absolutely classic entertainment!!!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

KNS, take a sample of 1,000 people around Knoxville and see how many positive responses you get regarding LK. In other words, we could care less what happens to him. SHAME ON YOU for printing such garbage.

GOJO writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

KNS, take a sample of 1,000 people around Knoxville and see how many positive responses you get regarding LK. In other words, we could care less what happens to him. SHAME ON YOU for printing such garbage.

KNS just can't get over its infatuation w/Kif - - - even on the GoVolsXtra site.

PHAT_VOL writes:

THANKS for keeping everyone on this site updated on Lane Kiffin. His fans on this site are many! Could you please give us all his birthday and his favorite color. We know its not Orange.
Go Vols!!!

budd#207344 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

KNS, take a sample of 1,000 people around Knoxville and see how many positive responses you get regarding LK. In other words, we could care less what happens to him. SHAME ON YOU for printing such garbage.

And yet here you are commenting and reading the article. Learn from the experience. If you don't like something don't read, eat, use it. Then it will go away. But when a story gets 20 comments in an hour it is going to keep coming back. DUH

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

And yet here you are commenting and reading the article. Learn from the experience. If you don't like something don't read, eat, use it. Then it will go away. But when a story gets 20 comments in an hour it is going to keep coming back. DUH

For your information, I DID NOT READ the article. I didn't have to read it to know it was a piece of phooey much like your inaccurate post and you can bet I won't respond to anymore of your posts.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say the curse now maturing into the "realisation Im a Failure omg!" phase..Witch Doctor not remember too many of these votes of Confidence working out..Witch Doctor say Bwhahahahahah
Bones never lie.

You know it's over as soon as the dreaded "vote of confidence" is forthcoming. Another 7-6 should do it.

elbtenn#502977 writes:

in response to Caspian:

The first step on the way to getting fired is always the 100% positive endorsement by your boss.

Roger that!

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to SevenT:

Without a doubt the most hilarious moment in the history of the SEC was Kiffin bolting Knoxville after 1 season followed by Riots complete with burning furniture in the streets of K-Town. Absolutely classic entertainment!!!

Almost as funny as when you realized not even your parents think you deserve to breath our oxygen.

Go Vols

crutch1966 writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

THANKS for keeping everyone on this site updated on Lane Kiffin. His fans on this site are many! Could you please give us all his birthday and his favorite color. We know its not Orange.
Go Vols!!!

i agree. quit with the kiffin poop. #butchplease

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Chappy:

Vote of confidence = "I know it was you, Fredo."

Fredo Kiffin. That fits. Good job. G.B.O.!!!

ETownVol writes:

"They simplified this defense for us guys to go out there and just play fast and play to the best of our ability.”

AKA we don't have enough brains or talent to run a defense with the slightest inkling of complexity.

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