Lane Kiffin Named USC Head Coach

January 12, 2009 by CFP Staff and

Lane Kiffin, the one-time USC offensive coordinator who then became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and at Tennessee, has been named the Trojans' head football coach, USC athletic director Mike Garrett announced today (January 12).

Joining Kiffin's staff as assistants will be Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin. Both were on the Tennessee staff in 2009.

Orgeron, one of college football's top recruiters and defensive line coaches, previously served 7 seasons at USC before becoming Mississippi's head coach and then an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. Monte Kiffin, Lane's father, is a longtime NFL and collegiate coach known for his defensive prowess.

"We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC," said Garrett. "I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I'm confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.

"Lane brings a lot to the table. He has a coaching background both in the pros and in the best collegiate conferences. He has a great command of the X's and O's. He is familiar with the Trojan landscape and will be a great representative of our university. He keeps the game fun. And, very importantly, he has proven to be one of the finest recruiters anywhere.

"Lane has surrounded himself with others of similar talent. I can't tell you how delighted we are to have Ed Orgeron back on staff and to have Monte Kiffin join us. They are some of the pre-eminent coaches in the game. Ed did a marvelous job during his previous time at USC and we all know that Monte is a defensive guru. I know Lane will fill out his staff with other outstanding assistants like them, ones who Trojan players and fans will really like."

Kiffin replaces Pete Carroll, who resigned on Monday (Jan. 10) after 9 seasons at USC to accept the head coaching job with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.


Kiffin, 34, spent 6 seasons (2001-2006) as an assistant at USC under Carroll. He was the tight ends coach in 2001, then handled the wide receivers the next 5 years. He added the duty of passing game coordinator in 2004, then was promoted to offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 2005 and 2006.

He coached a trio of All-American first team wide receivers at USC: Mike Williams (2003), Dwayne Jarrett (2005-06, USC's first 2-time All-American wideout) and Steve Smith (2006). Jarrett set the Pac-10 record for career touchdown catches (39) and the USC career mark for receptions (216).

While the offensive coordinator in 2005, USC's offense was in the national Top 6 in every statistical category, including tops in total offense (579.8) and second in scoring offense (49.1), and set Pac-10 records for total offense yardage, first downs, points scored, touchdowns and PATs. The Trojans scored 50 points a school-record 7 times. USC became the first school to have a 3,000-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and a 1,000-yard receiver in a season.

In 2004, Williams set USC career (30) and season (16) touchdown reception records, while fellow wide receiver Keary Colbert set the school career reception record (207). In 2002, Williams and Colbert became USC's first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in a season and wide receiver Kareem Kelly became the Trojan career reception leader (204). Williams, Jarrett, Smith and Colbert all played in the NFL.

Quarterback Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 while Kiffin was the passing game coordinator and tailback Reggie Bush was the 2005 Heisman winner with Kiffin as the offensive coordinator.

While serving as USC's recruiting coordinator, Troy's recruiting classes in 2005 and 2006 were ranked by some as No. 1 in the nation. He was named one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters by in 2005.

Kiffin was a member of USC staffs that helped the Trojans win a pair of national championships (2003-04), post a 65-12 record and appear in a bowl game each of his 6 seasons: 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 2003 Orange Bowl, 2004 Rose Bowl, 2005 Orange Bowl (BCS Championship Game), 2006 Rose Bowl (BCS Championship Game) and 2007 Rose Bowl.

After USC, Kiffin became the head coach of the NFL's Raiders for 2 years (2007-08), where at age 31 he was the youngest head coach in the NFL's modern era. He was 5-15 with the Raiders (4-12 in 2007 and 1-3 in 2008).

Kiffin then guided Tennessee to a 7-6 record in 2009 in his only season there. The Volunteers finished second in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division at 4-4 and played in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Four of Tennessee's losses were by 10 points or less, including a 2-point road loss to eventual national champion Alabama and 10 points at then-No. 1 Florida. The 2009 Vol offense jumped at least 34 places in every national statistical category over the 2008 figures, while the defense was in the nation's Top 25 in pass and total defense. He was the youngest active head coach in the NCAA FBS ranks.

Before coming to USC, Kiffin was the defensive quality control coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000 (he worked with the secondary). He began his coaching career at Fresno State, his alma mater, where for 2 seasons (1997-98) he worked with the quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs as a student assistant. He then was an assistant at Colorado State in 1999, working with the offensive line. The Rams played in the Liberty Bowl that season.

Kiffin was a quarterback at Fresno State for 3 seasons (1994-96). He earned his bachelor's degree in leisure service management from Fresno State in 1998.

He prepped at Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High, where he played football, basketball and baseball.

He was born May 9, 1975. He and his wife, Layla, have 2 daughters, Landry, 4, and Presley, 3, and a son, Monte, 1.

His brother, Chris, was a defensive lineman at Colorado State (2001-04). His father-in-law, John Reaves, was a former quarterback at Florida and in the NFL.


Orgeron was USC's defensive line coach from 1998 to 2004. He took on the added responsibility of recruiting coordinator in 2001 and then was named assistant head coach in 2003. USC's 2002, 2003 and 2004 recruiting classes were ranked among the nation's top 5 (the 2003 and 2004 groups were listed by many as No. 1). He was named the 2004 National Recruiter of the Year by The Sporting News and

He coached All-American first team defensive linemen Kenechi Udeze (2003), Shaun Cody (2004) and Mike Patterson (2004), all future NFLers. The Trojans led the nation in rushing defense in 2003 behind the highly-regarded "Wild Bunch II" defensive line and were second in 2004. USC won the 2003 and 2004 national championship and played in 5 bowls games when he was on the staff: 1998 Sun Bowl, 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 2003 Orange Bowl, 2004 Rose Bowl and 2005 Orange Bowl (BCS Championship Game).

He left USC to become the head coach at Mississippi for 3 years (2005-07), where he went 10-25.

He then was the defensive line coach with the NFL's Saints in 2008 and spent 2009 as Tennessee's assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach.

Orgeron has 25 years of coaching experience. Before coming to USC, he was Syracuse's defensive line coach for 3 seasons (1995-97) and the Orangemen played in a bowl game each year (1996 Gator, 1996 Liberty and 1997 Fiesta).

He came to Syracuse from Nicholls State, where he was the linebackers coach in 1994.

Before that, he was the defensive line coach at Miami for 4 seasons (1989-92), where he coached 8 All-Americans, including NFL first rounders Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland and Warren Sapp. In 1988, he was a graduate assistant at Miami, working with the defensive line. During his tenure, the Hurricanes won the national championship twice (1989 and 1991), finished second in the AP poll once (1988) and third twice (1990 and 1992) while appearing in 5 New Year's Day bowls (1989 Orange, 1990 Sugar, 1991 Cotton, 1992 Orange, 1993 Sugar).

Orgeron also was a graduate assistant at Northwestern (La.) State, his alma mater, in 1984 and McNeese State in 1985, working with the defensive line at both schools, then was an assistant strength coach at Arkansas for 2 years (1986-87). The Razorbacks were in the 1987 Orange Bowl and 1987 Liberty Bowl. He worked in private business in 1993.

He was a 4-year starting defensive lineman at Northwestern State, captaining the Demons as a senior. He received his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Northwestern State in 1984.

He starred in football, basketball and track at South Lafourche High in Galliano, La.

He and his wife, Kelly, have 3 sons, Tyler, 16, and 10-year-old twins Parker and Cody.


Monte Kiffin is regarded as one of the game's best defensive minds. He spent 26 seasons (1983-2008) in the NFL, including the last 13 of those with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he developed the famous Tampa Cover 2 defense. Eleven of his Buccaneer defenses ranked among the NFL's Top 10 in total defense and scoring defense. He was a member of the 2002 Super Bowl champions that led the league in total defense, scoring defense and interceptions.

His other NFL stops included the Green Bay Packers (1983), Buffalo Bills (1984-85), Minnesota Vikings (1986-89 and 1991-94), New York Jets (1990) and New Orleans Saints (1995).

Before going to the NFL, he spent 17 seasons at the college level. He was an assistant at Nebraska (1966-76) and Arkansas (1977-79) before becoming the head coach at North Carolina State for 3 seasons (1980-82). He was on the staff of Nebraska's 1970 and 1971 national champions, and he became the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator in 1973 when Tom Osborne took over for Bob Devaney. At Arkansas, he served as Lou Holtz's defensive coordinator and the Razorbacks led the nation in scoring defense in 1977. He was 16-17 at North Carolina State, with winning records his last 2 seasons.

Last season as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, the Volunteers were 12th nationally in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense and 22nd in total defense in 2009.

After being the Nebraska high school Player of the Year in 1958, he was a two-way tackle at Nebraska (1959-63), then spent 1965 as a defensive end with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

Besides sons Lane and Chris, he and his wife, Robin, have a daughter, Heidi.