Kiffin's approach 'disappoints' Fisher
USC has hired Tennessee Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola to serve as offensive coordinator under coach Lane Kiffin, causing Titans coach -- and USC alum -- Jeff Fisher to question the professionalism of the Trojans' head man.
"I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin's approach to this," Fisher told The Tennessean on Saturday. "Typically speaking, when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.
To call me and leave me a voicemail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.” -- Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher
"So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voicemail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism."
The Titans lose their running backs coach one week before the start of the team's training camp, and The Tennessean reported the team will promote from within to replace Pola.
Kiffin released a statement on Saturday attempting to outline the sequence of events surrounding Pola's hiring.
"We reached out to Kennedy Pola [on Friday] to gauge whether he had any possible interest in returning to USC before we moved forward with the process," Kiffin said. "Kennedy said he would think about it and get back to us today. Once Kennedy did call back earlier today, out of my great respect for Coach Fisher I immediately reached out to Coach to make him aware of the situation.
"I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events.
"We realize the timing of this isn't perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy."
This latest bit of USC family in-fighting comes on the heels of the school naming a new athletic director earlier this week after the football and basketball programs were put on probation for the improper relationships former players had with agents.
USC has gone so far as to scrub any memory of Reggie Bush from the school, planning to erase his image from a mural, remove his jersey that hangs in the school's Heritage Hall lobby and return its copy of Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy.
After former coach Pete Carroll left the Trojans for a head coaching position with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Kiffin was tasked with continuing the school's football tradition. But NCAA sanctions will keep the program out of the postseason for the next two years.
By taking the USC job, Kiffin drew the ire of many Tennessee Volunteers fans by spurning the program to take over his alma mater after last season. In one year in Knoxville, he led the Vols to a 7-6 record, including a loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Now the coach is taking heat from the state's NFL team.
Before being hired at Tennessee, Kiffin became the youngest NFL coach ever at the age of 31 when he was asked to lead the Oakland Raiders.
Kiffin lasted just one season with the Raiders, going 4-12 and left after a public dispute with longtime Raiders owner Al Davis that continued even after the two sides parted ways.