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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Lane Kiffin On ESPN College Game Day "I'm To Blame"

Former USC head coach Lane Kiffin makes his debut on ESPN's College Game Day two weeks after being let go from USC.

Former USC head coach Lane Kiffin made his first appearance since being let go from USC on ESPN's College Game Day. Kiffin took the stage early Saturday morning to do an exclusive interview with ESPN's Chris Fowler. Despite multiple signs jeering at Kiffin, he remained calmed and took the high road. 

"I have great passion for USC, those players, for those coaches and it was a difficult situation," said Kiffin. "You put so much into those kids, and to have that taken away is very hard. It's been a very hard two weeks."

Kiffin praised USC athletic director Pat Haden, and thanked him for all his support during his 28-15 run with the Trojans. He stated he understood how difficult Haden's job is. However, toward the end of his USC career Kiffin struggled. When asked to assess his performance with USC Kiffin was very honest.   

"Once we got there we were handed down what a lot of people considered to be the "death penalty", [but] we were able to manage through that and have a great year at 10-2, and then it felt apart there towards the end," said Kiffin.

During his last two years at USC, Kiffin was 10-8 and was fired shortly after the Trojans embarrassing 62-41 loss to Arizona State. USC dropped to 3-2 on the season and 0-2 in the Pac-12.

"Obviously I'm to blame being I'm the head coach, there's a lot of things I should have done better, but at the same time I'm very proud of our time be 28-15 there is some good stuff in there, and there some great kids that are still playing really hard, and to see the way they played the other night was awesome. I was so proud of those kids and that coaching staff, and for coach O to get that win like that was really cool to see."

Following Kiffin's departure, USC named Ed Orgeron as the Trojans interim head coach. Orgeron took over during the Trojans bye-week and vowed to make USC a "fun team". Kiffin was asked to describe the bittersweet moment of seeing Orgeron as head coach.

Ex-USC head coach Lane Kiffin makes his debut on ESPN's Game Day.
Ex-USC head coach Lane Kiffin makes his debut on ESPN's Game Day.

"It was like watching someone else raise your kids, because you love those kids and you go through so much work with those kids, but at the same time you know there in great hands," said Kiffin. "That is a great staff there, Ed's going to do a great job with them...they're in great hands, at a great university so that makes you happy too."

Kiffin made it clear that there were no hard feelings toward USC, and that he wishes all the best for the program and its players. 

"I would expect nothing less from those kids to support the next coach, and the next one after that."

It is unclear if Kiffin will continue coaching at the college level, join his father in the NFL or potentially look for a job in broadcasting. Whatever he chooses to do he made it clear he has learned from his past mistakes.  

"I think any experience you have there's good parts of it and bad parts, and you got to learn from the bad parts and the mistakes that  you made and I made a bunch of them," said Kiffin. "I love coaching it's what I've done my whole life. This is very unusual these last two weeks for me. I will say this there's not a lot of stress in this right here."

When Fowler asked if Kiffin had ever wondered why drama has followed him in his career, Kiffin paused a moment. 

"Different things that I've done, that I would never do again have followed me, and that's the price that you pay when you make mistakes early on."

USC 38-31 win over Arizona Thursday night gave Orgeron his first win as USC interim head coach, and the Trojans first Pac-12 win of the season. Despite his struggles Kiffin recruited talented players for USC, and came in during a difficult time for the program. When asked if he will continue rooting for the Trojans Kiffin didn't hesitate with his answer.

"Oh yeah, forever."


Thanks for the update. But really... please make sure you know the difference between "there" and "their." You mixed up those two words... twice.

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