Lane Kiffin-Kennedy Polamalu Argument Led To Dismissal

Two days before the Sun Bowl, Kennedy Polamalu and Lane Kiffin got into an argument that apparently led to his dismissal. Polamalu found out he was fired via Internet and has not spoken to Kiffin since he was dismissed.

Here’s my story on the details surrounding his controversial departure. Link here.

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  • The way things are going, SC will have 4 coaches to coach the team next year. Hey Haden, can you see what is happening to USC football through your drunken Scotch haze ?

    • Independent_George

      Fire Kiffin now and replace him with ?????

      Think about it? Do you really want an Arkansas/Bobby Petrino/John L. Smith situtation at SC?

      I am guessing Haden sees everything. Why do you think he is so silent. If he were to speak, the only question would be “When is Kiffin going to be fired?” So they send out Oregeron.

      That is only fair to the players. Not because they love Kiffin, but because they have only four years of doing this and the deserve to go into the season with as few distractions as possible. Of course Lame isn’t helping matters.

      Haden gambled in November that Kiffin would win his bowl game then keep the recruting class together. Well, that didn’t work out, nor are the staff changes.

      But look at it this way. Kiffie is making is own noose. Which is how it should be. A head coach should be allowed to hang himself.

      Kiffin will be gone next year, and the writing on the wall will be after the ND game, if not after Utah State. Maybe he will be gone mid-season. That gives Haden time to feel out Peterson, Del Rio, Gary Patterson, Pat Fitzgerald, Kirby Smart, maybe even Lovie Smith.

      • oneillwatch

        That megalomaniac turd has to go. If Haden doesn’t deal with Kiffin by this time next year, he needs to go, too. The only justifiable reason for not getting rid of Kiffin after the Polamalu firing would be that Haden is using the time to network and identify a suitable pool of replacement candidates before he is forced to take action – something Garrett never did and paid for.

        • Oh Haden works the network, ie getting advice on who to hire, while Garrett gets a 6 pack of crap because he did just that!

      • Bill

        You would be lucky to get Marty Schottenheimer! SuC On!

    • Loser!

  • If this is true, then Haden needs to go along with Kiffin.
    If not, then Wolf needs to go. And why mention the scratch on Kiffin’s head without anybody confirming that this was from a fight?

    • Independent_George

      Why should Haden be fired? An AD should not meddle with a head coaches internal staff decisions. if Haden were to meddle, then say goodbye to the Chris Peterson’s of the world. No elitle level head coach would go to a program where the AD meddles in internal staff decisions.

      • I understand what you’re saying, and I agree that you don’t want a meddling AD. However I meant that Haden should know what’s going on and should fire Kiffin because this is another example of Kiffin’s incompetence. Again, if this is true, Haden either doesn’t know what is happening, or he knows and is keeping Kiffin regardless of another example of Kiffin’s incompetence. And if this isn’t true, then Wolf should be fired.

      • Ben Factor

        I agree that it would not be appropriate to force Kiffin to work with a given assistant.

        However, as Rick observes, this explanation of KP’s firing, if roughly correct, reinforces that Kiffin doesn’t see the merit in constructive conflict. To me, that further evidences that he is a weak leader, without a good understanding of organizations, and what makes them function better. He’ learning on the job, which is BS in his job, at his compensation level.

        Haden decided to keep Kiffin, and he’s erring to give Kiffin free rein. Force a given assistant on Kiffin? No. Insist on an OC? Yes. Request and approve a very detailed plan for improvement of the program? Yes. Set detailed standards by which the coaching will be judged? Yes. Insist on approving all staff and policy changes? Yes.

        To handle Kiffin the way one might handle Saban, Peterson, Chip Kelly, or Urban Meyer is silly. Kiffin has not shown many signs that he’s in their league. Why defer to him as though he is?

        To me, IF that is what is happening, that’s poor management by Haden. He’s a bright, honorable guy, but maybe he’s doesn’t belong in management, and rather belongs in some other field. Not every bright person is suited to run an organization.

  • Say what you want about Garrett, but this would not have happened if he were still here.

  • dtksr1

    It is obvious Kiffin has drawn a line in the sand. His attutide seems to be, if I’m going down with this ship, I’m going down my way and that includes who I want on my staff. He & everyone else knows what is at stake this coming season. It is very sad Pola was let go and if Scott’s article is accurate, it was part of his own fault in confronting Kiffin. He would know Kiffin’s backbone as much as anyone and he might have figured I can’t take this bullshit anymore and I will have my say and whatever happens, so be it. I can see Kennedy thinking this… And I damn well salute him for it. Maybe in some good way, it has shaken Kiffin up.
    Reports of Kiffin realizing the O-line needs new coaching is the one positive in this article. I hope it happens as the running game the past 2-seasons has been very poor halfway in and with a new QB on the field, Kiffin is going to need a good running game or the losses are going to come very quickley! This area will be as important as the DC change, I think…

    • Independent_George

      You know, if he did get into an argument with Kiffie, Pola deserves to be fired, even if Pola was “150%” on the right side. Assistants can’t disrepsect the head coach. Anything else is effectively ruining the chain of command, and that is really about the most of what a head coach can offer. A vision and way to communicate it so that the players buy in. That is how programs win year after year. And the way you get players to buy in is through your staff. So an strong chain of command with assistants who believe in your vision is necessary. If an assistant is vehemently arguing with a head coach, how does that help communicating your vision? Why should a player buy in if an assistant coach, the staff member with whom he spends most of his time, doesn’t? So how does that help the team?

      it doesn’t, instead it does damage.

      What will is a clear chain of command with coaches who believe and will coach players up.

      The question with Kiffin is, and always has been, does he have a “vision” for the program and can he achieve it? The evidence, pretty much from the Syracuse game through is KP’s firing, is no, but it really hasn’t past the “beyond reasonable doubt” phase, because just last year USC ended the season as the #5 team in the country and perhaps playing the best football in America.

      Look, I think Kiffin is neglient beyond a reasonable doubt and should no longer be in a position of authority within the Unversity. He should have been fired Sunday Morning after the Notre Dame game. But, based on last year, I also don’t think it is unreasonable for Haden to give Kiffin the benefit of the doubt. And I think it communicates to a potential replacements that Haden has your back, which is important, because fans sure don’t (me especially).

      Haden will be faulted if the team has a meally-mouthed 8-6, 7-7 campaign next season and Haden is meally-mouthed in his support, but Kiffie hangs on for one more year.

      So far, I hope and believe that Haden is playing it the only way he can. It’s Lame’s to lose.

      • I agree with much that you say. However, even if SC wins enough for Kiffin to keep his job, many SC alumni and fans will never embrace this guy. Do you really want this guy to continue being the SC coach just based on record? As a lifelong fan and alum, this has put myself, and many others, in an unenviable position of wanting SC to lose enough to get rid of this coach. It’s a no-win position of either putting up with another underachieving season, or the team winning enough to keep this embarrassment of a coach.

        • Rick, are you in Scholarship Club? Or Section 13?

          • Must be Tunnel 15. Knew it.

          • Cheap seats

            West end zone/non donor section?

          • You got it

          • Cheap seats

            What section do you prefer? I’ve sat in both and I don’t like the late arrival/non cheering donor sections. I don’t like getting asked to sit down.

            I’m up for renewal and want a more lively section. Any suggestions?

      • Ben Factor

        If you read Peter Drucker and the like, they believe in 360 degree constructive criticism. Contention needs to be built into an organization, not banned. Your hierarchical view of organizations is not in sync with current thinking on best methods. The hard thing for an effective leader is to avoid being surrounded by yes men, not to insist on it.

        Contrast that with other hypothetical possibilities. KP was generally a malcontent who didn’t respect the healthy process put in place to speak one’s mind. Or, Kiffin and KP were aggressively debating some issue, and KP punched Kiffin out of the blue. Is that what happened?

        Let’s review what we’ve heard. They argued. Kiffin waited until NSD. He never spoke to KP again. The department (the secretary?) told KP not to attend the dinner, and KP found out on the internet that he had been fired. IF that’s true, who is the jerk in the situation?

        Long before the KP situation, Haden’s only strong reason to keep Kiffin was the sanctions. Kiffin’s too inexperienced as a leader, and doesn’t have the instincts for it.

        Now, if I were to hear that Haden had an excellent candidate lined up and still kept Kiffin, I would think a lot less of Haden. But I doubt that Haden was in that situation. It’s not easy to put a coach in place who ends up working out. It really isn’t. There’s a lot of luck to it in the best of circumstances. USC took a chance on John McKay, and next, put John Robinson’s first regime in place. There was some real good fortune there, and it may have deceived fans into thinking that the perfect coach, who is guaranteed to succeed, is a phone call away. Not so. What happened after John Robinson I?

        Pete Carroll wasn’t the first choice and wasn’t at all a sure thing. Did you foresee what would happen when Stanford hired Jim Harbaugh? The hindsight portfolio always outperforms. The real life portfolio is another matter.

        I think Haden foresaw extra hiring problems because of the sanctions. Add to that Kiffin’s late success in 2011, and the challenge of the sanctions to Kiffin’s efforts, and Haden chose to postpone rolling the dice. It was a judgment call, and I’m not convinced that he erred.

        However, to repeat, I don’t think Haden should be hands-off this year. Adult supervision is required at this point.

        • Who is going to supervise Haden? He is just as much to blame.

  • QueenKiff

    Amazing that Kiffin is doing everything to test Haden’s all-too kind promise of a coaching gig through 2014. The worst thing about this is that Kiffin is laying the seeds to truly set back SCs program once he’s fired. Just look at Tennessee still trying to recover from only one season of Kiff. No current coach fit the mold of a true Trojan coach than Pola.

  • TrojanFan

    Insubordination is grounds for termination!…..

    • Ben Factor

      From “The Savvy Manager”: ”

      “Insubordination is classically defined as an employee’s willful
      disregard for a manager’s direct orders. Inappropriate language can also
      constitute insubordination in certain cases. In today’s white-collar
      world, despite several generations of performance and learning
      development tools formally embedded in work cultures, insubordination
      remains a managerial challenge.

      “There are times when the incident can be nipped in the bud with a
      brief word or corrective coaching. It is simply a lapse of judgment, or
      with less seasoned workers, a quick pit stop on the learning curve. But
      when faced with repeated instances of inappropriate behavior, managers must enforce formal discipline programs.”

      We have yet to hear specific facts. But based on what is alleged here, Kiffin’s handling of the matter was faulty. He was dealing with the only former USC player on the staff, a coach who was very popular with current and former players and highly regarded by them FOR HIS COACHING, and who was named one of the top 25 recruiters in 2012. Kiffin had the department uninvite KP from the NSD dinner. KP learned over the internet that he had been fired. Kiffin never again spoke to KP.

      The Trojan Way? What would Marcus Allen or Ronnie Lott say about that?

  • TrojanFan

    “He would go crazy during games waiting for Kiffin to send in the defensive signals,” a source said.”

    ^^^^That Kiffin left the building, so what does that statement have to do with Lane?

  • Cheap seats

    This offseason has a very close resemblance to Kiffin’s final year in Oakland.

    Only during that offseason, Kiffin told Rob Ryan he was fired only to have Al Davis overrule him.

    The rest is history as Kiffin attempted at 75 yard field goal and was fired 4 games into the season.

    I don’t see Kiffin starting 1-3 this year, but don’t be surprised if he gets the hook mid-season. Look at what happened to O’Neil and the baseball coach.

  • Charlie Bouquet

    thanks for the sweeet scoops wolfman!!

  • gillyking

    Little if any of this chaos would be happening were Haden to have fired CLK along with his dad. This should have been done after the ND disaster, and have thus not been allowed to fester through the end of the season.
    I hope that at very least, that they give one of those unused scholarships back to Markowitz, so that we at least will have a C with a little experience along our pathetically soft OL.
    I think that the program with remember the disaster of losing Kennedy P for years. Actually I think that the program will remember the disaster of keeping Lane Kiffin for years! This kid has flat out not proven that he is anywhere near being a qualified head football coach at this NCAA level. To entrust him with the keys to the USC Football machine is a joke. If the discussion tries to counter with the success of the 2011 season, it was done in spite of CLK!

  • Bill

    Fire Lame Kitten and replace him with Chris Kitten! Coaches don’t want to come to SuC! You lucked out with Sneaky Pete, but he was a fourth or fifth very unpopular choice and then you got Lame Kitten to replace him! It would be interesting to see how many early enrollees would have signed (except for Cravens) if they had to wait for Signing Day!

  • steveg

    Wow, look at all this and no jucla trolls.

  • Ben Factor

    I want to apologize to all for my inconsistency regarding Kiffin. I wanted to let my criticisms go, since changes were happening. I hoped that maybe Kiffin could climb the learning curve faster.

    Then, I read this account of the KP discharge. It’s discouraging. It speaks of a small, insecure person, who hasn’t learned much at all.

    The question now is: will there be no second voice on the offensive staff? That doesn’t seem smart. Kiffin was too large a factor in last year’s offensive failures.

  • Never could have imagined Pat Haden would have allowed ANYone – much less a coach he didn’t hire – to destroy the USC brand to the extent that Lane Kiffin has. I’d sure as heck would try to steer my kid to a different school…

  • WingsHD

    Best reading I’ve had on this site in a long time. The only thing I want to interject is that a lot of good coaches in the NFL or ex-NFL coaches could still be brought in at this time. Names like Pat Hill, Jack Del Rio etc. Don’t go off on those names I’m just bringing up that coaches are out there that could be hired now. Waiting for Lame to succeed or just because you may have a shot at Peterson may not be wise when he says no. That means we all suffered another season and still looking for a coach that will take over this circus and come in way behind the recruiting eight ball.

  • well it’s about time you Dummies start giving the wolfman props for great reportage!!

    awesome investigative scooops!!!

    how queeeer that all those Southern Cal head coaches and asst coaches fired and my man Kiff still standing!!!

  • realtrojan

    A punk will ALWAYS be a punk. Need I say more???

  • realtrojan


  • TroyFan52

    I think these thirty comments show the frustration we all feel. And we shouldn’t be surprised that Kiff was a punk and didn’t tell Kennedy in person that he was getting fired…..what a mess. Kiff continually outdoes himself and Haden didn’t see the additional problems since he committed in November to him. And how can you be pushing march 1st and need coaches? It’s simple: NO ONE WANTS TO BE ON YOUR STAFF LANE!!!!!! Call Pat Fitzgerald……..start negotiating a contract……

  • TroyFan52

    I think these thirty comments show the frustration we all feel. And we shouldn’t be surprised that Kiff was a punk and didn’t tell Kennedy in person that he was getting fired…..what a mess. Kiff continually outdoes himself and Haden didn’t see the additional problems since he committed in November to him. And how can you be pushing march 1st and need coaches? It’s simple: NO ONE WANTS TO BE ON YOUR STAFF LANE!!!!!! Call Pat Fitzgerald……..start negotiating a contract……

  • Cheap seats

    Weird that Scott or any other poster hasn’t mentioned USC’s response to this article.

    I thought Scott would brag that he stirred the pot up and even got USC to post a press release to refute this.