USC Morning Buzz: Coaching Trend Emerges On Hires


If you look at many of USC’s recent coaching hires in major sports, a trend emerges that does not say much for the term “nation-wide search.’’

With football, new coach Steve Sarkisian was a former USC coach . . . familiar with many inside the athletic dept. New women’s basketball coach Cynthia Cooper was a former USC player . . . familiar to those inside the athletic dept. Before baseball promoted assistant coach Dan Hubbs, it offered the job to UCLA coach John Savage, a former USC assistant . . . familiar to those inside the athletic dept.

The glaring exception to this is men’s basketball but that was the first of the big four sports to really open up and things were slogging along to the point where someone got hired that was unknown to the nation two weeks beforehand.

Whether or not these are good hires (and Cooper certainly is off to a good start), it seems like comfort zone plays a bigger role than just being a rising star in the coaching profession.

Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someonePrint this page
  • realtrojan

    Of course all those hires should be used to evaluate Haden, but realistically speaking, the hiring of Sarkisian will be THE parameter of Haden’s ability to select and hire the right coaches at USC. In all honesty, the Enfield hire is turning out to be a flop, even though it’s his first season. Even with Galen Center, they can’t seem to hire the right coach to elevate the program as was expected by many experts. I’m sure someone will eventually do it, but Enfield doesn’t appear to be the one.

    • Wayne Lusvardi

      As we see with football, it is the players not the coaches that define the team. I would play for Enfield just to be around someone who could teach me his values about entrepreneurship let alone shooting a basketball.

      Galen Center was packed by the students to help motivate the team against Arizona and they did not respond. That is not the fault of coaching. Team’s have to have internal leaders.

      The football team wouldn’t play for Kiffin and their behavior spoke louder than words. But it is almost the opposite with Enfield where the team doesn’t respond even to the student body. This team was thrown together and was not cultivated with the loyalty and identification of USC. Enfield needs to be measured only after he can bring in players he wants and who can be molded in the Trojan tradition and The Enfield Way.

      In the military they found that throwing together soldiers into combat who came from different parts of the country, did not go to basic training together, and did not become a buddy group who you would die for, failed miserably. When military officers remained in helicopters with clipboards taking body counts instead of being on the ground in a fire fight with the troops, then morale was ruined unless some First Sergeant took over the leadership role and eventually became a field commissioned officer based on leadership in combat.

      No leader(s) have emerged thus far on basketball team. The coach is in combat with the team and not a pure technician with a clipboard like Kiffen. Who knows if maybe adversity will yet mold them into a cohesive unit?. But someone has to emerge as the internal leader who challenges his fellow players not to let down the team.

      If you take Leonard Williams, Hayes Pullard, Javorius Allen, Josh Shaw, Sua Cravens, Justin Davis, and Tre Madden off the football team and substitute equally physically talented Junior College players the core leaders of the team would be lost. A couple of years ago Dion Bailey was injured in game against Stanford. He hopped off the field on one leg rather than be carried off. He was a warrior who sent a message to his team mates that he was not going to take the injured role. You can’t entirely coach that. I don’t see such a leader as yet on the basketball team.

      Enfield was one of those leaders when he was a player. He will mold a successful team given the opportunity. I will take in a game at the Galen Center this year just to see the coach in action.

      • OMG. Thanks professor.

        Consider this shorter alternate theory: trOXans SUCK.

        • steveg

          Thanks man, enjoy the encouraging input.

          • You’re right…this blog and the Dummies herein have turned me into everything that I hate. I need to take an extended leave. You trOXans don’t deserve to be treated like this. I apologize.

      • Saul Goodman

        I hope you’re right, but Enfield’s sideline demeanor reeks of guy in over his head

    • Joseph B. Lowe

      Just like f ucla FB.

    • Saul Goodman

      SC actually did hire the right bball coach. The problem is that they threw him under the NCAA bus in a very poor attempt to save the FBALL program. I don’t think that went unnoticed by all legit coaches in the country

  • Helen

    Most schools, especially the big programs, will follow the same pattern and tend to hire those with close connections. This is not unique to USC.

  • Golden Trojan

    First off, maybe the term Trojan Family has some meaning. Second, the more you know about a potential hire the better. Having worked with them in the past is the best way there is. Third, Enfield has a of of work to get some talent, he will need some time to get that program on its feet.

  • Independent_George

    The B-Ball team is dishearteningly bad, but Enfield gets a pass this year. The two alleged “stars” of the, P’Shon Howard and JT Terrell were rejects from other mediocre and terrible ACC programs. P’Shon shot 29% last year and doesn’t play defense, JT Terrell was asked to leave a team that went 1-15 in conference play where he received significant minutes. Oraby is a 7 foot reject. I mean, who allows 7 footers to transfer. Team that think that said 7 footer is a not worth a scholarship.

    Bryon Wesley is the only decent player on this team, and his celiong is really a sixth-man type for a good team.

    Since Scott doesn’t believe in analysis and is too lazy to provide context …

    We all bitch about Kiffin and how he “destroyed” the football team, but USC will play in a decent bowl game next year. USC is still competitive.

    Kevin O’Neill. Now there was a program destroyer. I don’t think anyone can overestimate how bad Kevin O’Neill was for the program. it is going to take a few years to dig out of the mess.

    • Saul Goodman

      KO’s level of cancer made Kiffin look like a mild cold. No recruits wanted to play for him, he drove away the talent that remained from the Floyd years. Floyd had SC on the cusp of being a perennial power. Now SC has never been further from being a respectable bball program because of KO

      • Joseph B. Lowe

        Both of you are correct. However, KO, like AD Pat, was the correct hire to bring the program back to following the rules. Timmy got a free ride and knows what was really going on. I’ll leave it at that. However, both posts are correct and AD Pat should be gone now as well.

        • Saul Goodman

          I’m going to check the paper to see if Palestine and Israel have settled their differences because I agree with your entire comment. However, couldn’t SC have found a less toxic personality to bring the program back in line after Floyd?

          • Joseph B. Lowe

            In the short term “no”. SC needed an a h o l e to come in and “crotch” kick the players. Too much me, me, me and looking for bennies. However, I’d have canned KO after his first round with the booze. and old lady. Also, with the condition of the program, no legit coach would have taken the job. And BTW, Timmy didn’t get any great job offers. That tells you something.

        • gotroy22

          No he wasn’t the correct hire. If anyone had bothered to look they would have realized KO caused a player mutiny at Arizona after being annointed the successor to Lute Olson.
          We would have been better served hiring Mater Dei High basketball coach Gary McKnight if you just wanted to bring the program back to following the rules.

          • Joseph B. Lowe

            Right, Mater Dei is the best example of following the rules, you know, like recruiting and scholarships for basketball players in CIF. Talk about being in over your head.

          • gotroy22

            Private high schools can recruit, you know that NOBS. McKnight would have been a great placeholder if nothing else and he couldn’t do worse that the new guy with the pretty wife. The bottom line is KO was a preventable disaster if we just had done our homework.

          • Joseph B. Lowe

            “Our”? You have a mouse in your pocket? McKnight would have been horrible. Would be like Rollie becoming the HC in FB.

    • Larry Harris

      You nailed it!

  • timtrojan

    WOW Scotty huge story! Run with this, I smell a book deal. You never see any University or Business hire people they are familiar with. Again, somebody call the Pulitzer people.

    • SUCC de trop


  • steveg

    So it isn’t all about what you know, but WHO you know at USC. Is that what you are saying Wolf?

  • David Keeling

    I like the fact Sarkisian “gets it” with all his choices for D-line-coaches. He is going with coaches who have a history in the SEC where linemen play an important part in a game.

  • B.Miller

    SO WHAT?
    Just as long as its the right fit and the right hire..
    Stop complaining all the time.. I bet you whine when you write this crap

  • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

    “Again, I want to reiterate that I will take home at least five wins for this program next year… Then, once sanctions are lifted, I will be able to bring home seven.”