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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 12, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Kiffin to USC — UPDATED

Word is USC wanted a “Pete Carroll” guy to replace the real Pete Carroll.
And while there have been rumblings the last few days that that could mean USC would look to pry Steve Sarkisian away from UW, good sources have indicated tonight that the ex-Carroll assistant that the Trojans will instead get is Lane Kiffin, who just finished his first year as head coach at Tennessee.
Like Sarkisian, Kiffin was an offensive coordinator under Carroll, and is reported to be making about $2 million a year with the Vols, a salary he would likely increase substantially at USC. He also has what’s reported to be a pretty small buyout of $1 million.
Sources indicate that Sarkisian was never in the running for the job, preferring to stay at UW.
However, if what we’re hearing is true, he will now have to play his good buddy Kiffin once a year. The two worked together on the USC staff for five years, Sarkisian once saying they used to sit and draw up lists of schools they regarded as good jobs.
Kiffin was an assistant at USC from 2001-2006 before leaving to become head coach of the Oakland Raiders, and then on to Tennessee.
UPDATED, 6:10 p.m. — The Kiffin hiring at USC is now official, as the Orange County Register has the official release from the school noting that his father, Monte Kiffin, and Ed Orgeron, will be coming with him. That will give the Trojans two of the most respected assistants in the country, and in Lane Kiffin and Orgeron, two of the most aggressive recruiters in the country, as well. (Here’s the actual official release from the school).
If USC wanted to head off a massive poaching of its recruits from other schools around the Pac-10 and the country, it probably couldn’t have done much better.
However, Lane Kiffin obviously brings an interesting past with him, having now been the head coach for three teams in three years, and having incited his share of controversy at Tennessee that included a couple minor NCAA violations.
A yearly matchup of UW and Tennessee and two former Carroll disciples going at it will have all kinds of national intrigue. The regional recruiting battles between the two good friends will also be entertaining to watch.
For UW fans, it means a sigh of relief that Sarkisian is staying put. Sounds as if he rebuffed any attempts to get him interested in the position and hung to his assertion that for now, UW is indeed his “dream job.”
UPDATED 7:45 — Also, additional reports tonight that Norm Chow will be joining Kiffin as offensive coordinator. So essentially, USC is reuniting the dream team of the early part of the decade, minus Sarkisian and Carroll. And the luring of Chow is a heavy blow to Rick Neuheisel at UCLA. Much was made when he was hired that UCLA had its own dream team with Chow and DeWayne Walker as defensive coordinator. Now, both Walker and Chow are gone and Neuheisel is 11-14 heading into his third season.

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