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Another Homecoming: Pola Returns as OC

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In a week that started with the return of Pat Haden and J.K. McKay to run the athletic department and football program for which they once starred, Kennedy Pola's happy homecoming as the offensive coordinator and running backs coach is the perfect way to finish it off.

"What a great week it is for the Trojans to welcome back former greats like Pat Haden, J.K. McKay and now Kennedy Pola to help us on our quest to win another championship," said USC head football coach Lane Kiffin.

Pola, 46, coached running backs and special teams during his time as an assistant coach from 2000 to 2003.  In his final season, LenDale White set a USC freshman single season record with 13 touchdowns plus Tom Malone was the first Trojan punter to be named an All-American in the school's history.

"It's great to welcome Kennedy home," said coach Kiffin.  "This is a great opportunity and promotion for him.  He's done an outstanding job wherever he's been in college and the NFL.  The last time he was here, he helped build the foundation for the championship run of the past 9 years.  It's always great to bring another Trojan back to the family, as he's now the fifth former USC player on our staff.  He's also the seventh full-time coach on our staff with NFL coaching experience."

Since then, he's served as an assistant for three different NFL teams including a five season stint as running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, during which he oversaw the successes of Fred Taylor ('07 Pro Bowl) and Maurice Jones-Drew ('09 Pro Bowl).

Pola had been hired as the Tennessee Titans running backs coach after the '09 season, but he has chosen to sign back on with the Trojans for the 2010 campaign, which prompted a negative reaction from Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, according to the Daily Tennessean.

Coach Kiffin has spoken with coach Fisher and responded publicly about the situation.

"We reached out to Kennedy Pola yesterday to gauge whether he had any possible interest in returning to USC before we moved forward with the process," Kiffin explained.  "Kennedy said he would think about it and get back to us today.  Once Kennedy did call back earlier today, out of my great respect for Coach Fisher I immediately reached out to Coach to make him aware of the situation."

Kiffin went on to describe his recent conversation with Fisher.

"I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events," Kiffin continued.  "We realize the timing of this isn't perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy."

Pola will now return to the university, where he played as a fullback and linebacker from 1982 to 1985.  He helped power the Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State in '85.

Pola's connections do not end there. 

Two-time All-American safety Troy Polamalu is his nephew.  And, Pola is a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, which is the same school that fostered the offensive coordinator's new leader, QB Matt Barkley.

"Another three-striper to join the great coaching staff we already have! Stoked that Kennedy Pola is back at SC...   [The] Monarchs are representing," Barkley said via Twitter.
 
Here is the full release on the latest re-addition to the Trojan family.

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2 Comments

Another great coaching hire by Lane Kiffin! The coaching staff that he has assembled is extremely impressive and may very well be the best in the country (pro or college).

I also want to give thanks to our administration and trustees for making the financial commitment to our program especially under these difficult circumstances (i.e. NCAA...). USC is clearly committed to producing the best teams possible and have surrounded our athletes with nothing but the premier individuals from AD on down!

@ Sy above - very well said. They have indeed set a terrific example on and off the field.

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