It’s 3 a.m. and an exhausted and dejected Lane Kiffin steps into a small office at a Los Angeles airport, where the team bus has made its second to last stop.
As the team bus takes the rest of the team back to campus, USC athletic director Pat Haden lets Kiffin know that his career at USC is over. While some may have a soft spot for this young coach, Haden deserves a ton of credit.
He had the awareness to see that Kiffin was an ill fit to the team and would never be able to fill Pete Carroll’s shoes. Haden was able to do what Notre Dame couldn’t with Charlie Weis.
Instead of holding on to a toxic coach, Haden pulled the plug on Kiffin quietly and without controversy. The concise and truthful manner in which Haden let go of Kiffin needs to be recognized and praised.
Historically, NFL coaches don’t do well when they take on a college football team. College is an entirely different beast, and the skill set that NFL coaches have in managing teams just does not translate into the world of college football. And it’s not exactly like Kiffin thrived in the NFL. He ended his career with the Raiders with a 4-12 record.
Give credit where credit is due: Haden was bold and unwavering in his decision to fire Kiffin. And at the end of the day, Haden really has no other choice but to look forward.
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