Thirty-four-year-old Lane Kiffin came back to Los Angeles on Wednesday to become the new head football coach of the USC Trojans.
First, Kiffin talked about how tough it was to leave the University of Tennessee. Fans there called him a traitor, and worse, for bolting after just one season. Kiffin tried to reassure present and future Trojan players that his USC tenure would last longer.
"I’m at the best place in America, and there’s nowhere for me to go" Kiffin told reporters at his first news conference on the USC campus.
Kiffin worked six years as an assistant coach to former Trojan head Pete Carroll. Carroll has gone off to coach the NFL Seattle Seahawks after a glorious tenure that included 7 consecutive PAC-10 titles. Kiffin isn’t daunted by a fan base that’s come to expect at least an annual trip to the Rose Bowl.
"We’re not going to hire coaches that would be happy with anything less," he said. "We’re not going to recruit players that would be happy with having average seasons."
Recruiting players could be a little tougher. The NCAA is investigating USC’s football and basketball programs for violations.