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A History Of USC Coach Lane Kiffin's Golden Touch (UPDATE: Make That *Former* USC Coach)

Or: A Proud Football Program Shoots Itself In The Groin.

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Another way of putting it is that his personal connections and self-promotion skills have allowed him to remain prominently employed despite increasingly extensive evidence that he is about as good at coaching as Cleveland is at being a city.


In 2001, at age 26, he began working for USC, eventually rising to become offensive coordinator.

Collegiate Images / Getty

(This period was probably the ACTUAL highlight of his career. Those offenses were pretty good.)


In 2007, Al Davis hired him to become the head coach of the Oakland Raiders when he was only 31. He went 5-15 before being fired midseason as Davis accused him of being a liar.

Jamie Squire / Getty

To be fair, everyone who coaches the Raiders does poorly, gets fired quickly, and is accused of a horrible crime. The Raiders' first coach was actually Roman Polanski.

Kiffin immediately landed on his feet as coach of Tennessee. In his first year, 2009, the team went 7-6. At one point in the year Kiffin committed an NCAA recruiting violation by publicly accusing Florida coach Urban Meyer of a recruiting violation.


A single 7-6 season in which he'd consistently been a public embarrassment was all USC's athletic department needed to see! "We gotta get this guy, he's solid gold!" said USC's athletic department.

Steve Dykes / Getty

His shirt looks like a lab coat. For a lab that studies the science of losing.


Kiffin's public relations game remains as shrewd as ever. In 2012 he told reporters he'd never vote USC #1 in the USA Today coaches' poll. USA Today immediately revealed that he had in fact JUST voted USC #1 in their coaches' poll.

The worst has come this year. Kiffin's 2010 recruiting class was the best in the country, and those players have now had four years in Kiffin's system...and a few weeks ago they lost 10-7 to Washington State. At home.

Instead of facing questions from actual reporters in the week after the loss, Kiffin staged a FAKE PRESS CONFERENCE, taking questions from an athletic department staffer, and released it on YouTube.

View this video on YouTube


Lane Kiffin is as good at public relations as New Jersey is at being a state.

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