There's probably no manual out there that explains how to fire your father. At very least, it would make future family functions a little weird.
USC coach Lane Kiffin doesn't have to worry about it. He had a problem many coaches face: He had a defensive coordinator who wasn't working out very well. The real issue was the defensive coordinator was his father Monte.
Monte Kiffin is a great, legendary football coach. His "Tampa 2" defense had a huge impact in the NFL. Monte Kiffin probably had more to do with the Buccaneers' Super Bowl championship than famous head coach Jon Gruden did. But USC's defense was becoming a real problem.
The Trojans lost four of their last five games, and in those four losses USC allowed 161 points. Someone needed to take the fall for USC's tremendously disappointing season. Monte Kiffin made his son's life a little easier. He resigned.
"I wanted to make this announcement now so that our players who are preparing for the bowl game and our recruits who will be visiting campus are aware," said Kiffin. "I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches. The chance to work for my son, Lane, was unique and memorable, but we always treated each other professionally on a coach-to-coach basis.
"Although things didn't always go as well as we would have liked this year from a defensive and win-loss standpoint, I will leave USC with the utmost respect for the University, the Trojan Family and, most importantly, the players I had the good fortune to coach. I see great things ahead for the USC football program."
The reason was passable enough. Monte Kiffin said he wanted to pursue other opportunities in the NFL. Monte Kiffin is 72 years old and coached in the NFL from 1983-2008. He'll probably get another job if he really wants one, but it's pretty clear he didn't leave because he longed for a chance in the NFL.
He saved his son from being in an impossible position. Firing the defensive coordinator would have meant firing his dad. Sticking up for the defensive coordinator who was also his dad might have caused some problems at USC.
Quietly stepping aside after a bad season at USC might have been the right thing to do for Monte Kiffin, the defensive coordinator. More importantly, it was definitely the right thing to do for Monte Kiffin, the father.
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