University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden wants the reporters gathered at the Pac-12 media days event to have one thing crystal clear: Trojan coach Lane Kiffin is not on the hot seat. You hear that? Not.
Yep, that’ll definitely quell all the questions. It’s almost like last year’s woeful 7-6 season has magically disappeared!
Haden spoke about the topic in a video released on Thursday night:
I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year. Here is my answer and will be my answer whenever I’m asked: He is not. I’m behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent. I have great confidence in him. He’s a very hard-working, detail-oriented coach. He’s a dynamic playcaller, in my estimation, and he’s an exceptional recruiter. He knows USC and he knows what it takes to be successful here.
We all know the second half of last year was disappointing but I firmly believe we will bounce back strong this season. We have a lot of good players. We have made positive additions to our coaching staff as well. I understand that many people judge a coach by the win-loss record, but as the athletic director, I must look not only at that but at a lot of other things that are important to us at USC. There are many factors, including academics, NCAA compliance, community engagement, the character of his players and off-field issues. Lane Kiffin gets very high marks in all of those areas. All of these things, including winning, are important to us (ESPN).
While USC has been marginally successful under Kiffin, fans will not soon forget the disastrous 2012 season. The Trojans became the first team since Ole Miss in 1964 to start the year atop the AP poll and then end the season unranked.
USC will open the 2013 season at Hawaii on Thursday, August 29.