Sept. 29, 2013
Pat Haden's Opening Statement
This has been a hard day for all of us inside USC Athletics. This is not the most fun part of the job. My job is to do what's best for USC and this decision is best for USC. I first want to thank Lane Kiffin. He did a lot of things well. He worked under some difficult NCAA sanctions. He never complained about it and did the best he could.
I told Lane I wanted to see him after he arrived back in LA. We met around 3 a.m. for about 45 minutes in a private room in the airport. Lane was clearly disappointed and battled me. He tried to keep his job and I respect him for that. At the end of the day I think it was the right decision. Within 30 minutes, we sent a text to our football team saying that there have been some changes and there would be a team meeting at 11 a.m. Ed Orgeron and I had a meeting this morning and he is going to be the interim head coach. Then I met with our football staff. We had a good meeting. They are going to give it their absolute best effort to make this season the best it can possibly be. The team's reaction was great when we met with them this morning. They handled it particularly well. It's never a perfect time to make a change but I thought this was the right time. It's easy to ask why not after last year after a 7-6 season. The rational was that Lane had won 10 games the year before and we thought he could rebound. At the end of the day it became a gut feeling. It's never the perfect time to do these things but I thought it was the right time. Coach O brings an incredible passion and we think he can do a great job under these circumstances.
On when he started thinking about this
On whether last night's game was the turning point
We support our coaches 100% until they are no longer our coaches. It was this gut feeling of not improving the way we had envisioned improving.
Yes but this has been brewing for a while. I have been thinking about it since the Hawaii game. We didn't feel consistency there. We realize that our history has been great and we need it to be great again.
On what he is looking for in a permanent head coach
We are going to try to find the best coach that we can possibly find for USC. It's not fair to our team to start talking about the search now.
On whether having a bye next week affected timing
It made it a little bit easier since we have a bye week. We can take a break and exhale. The extra time helped that decision.
Explaining what interim head coach means
We have a lot of big games ahead of us. We have a lot to play for this season. The season is not over. Ed will bring the fun and joy back into the game.
On the fan reaction affecting Lane's termination
Fans love you for 30 seconds at a time. It wasn't the nexus of the decision at all. It was a combination of things over the past couple of years.
Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron's Opening Statement
I want to tell everyone how much I appreciate Lane Kiffin. He worked his tail off and loved USC. It's unfortunate that he had to get let go. I want to thank Pat Haden for trusting me. We had a team meeting and came out of it with a positive vibe. We made a commitment to give it all we've got. We have already spoken to our recruits about what is going on and we expect to have a great recruiting class. (Quarterbacks Coach) Clay Helton will be the offensive coordinator and the play caller.
On whether the offense will look dramatically different moving forward
Not really. (Clay and I) talked about some of the things we did well and some of the things we can improve on.
On whether he is concerned about team attitude
I want our guys to believe and have a little fun. One of the things we can do as a staff is get really close to our players, circle the wagons, have fun, and let the chips fall where they may.
Senior OLB and Co-Captain Devon Kennard
His reaction to the news
I woke up in the middle of the night to some texts so I was definitely surprised. I want to thank Coach Kiffin but we are excited to move on to new opportunities and new games.
On reports about Kiffin losing control of the locker room
We supported Coach Kiffin 100% and we were behind him.
On not living up to expectations
This season, we have been fighting and have fallen short twice. I think we are going to put a better product on the field next game.
Senior Center and Co-Captain Marcus Martin
His reaction to the news
I was surprised this morning when I woke up. We are trying to move forward and focus on the next eight games.
On the players' attitude toward Kiffin
We were very happy with what Kiffin was doing and no one was complaining. We were just focused on each other. We never focused on what the media had to say about Kiffin.
On whether he noticed a difference in Kiffin's demeanor after last night's lost in comparison to other losses
Coach Kiffin always kept his morale up after games. As a Trojan family, we just have to respond. It's about how you respond.