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Ed Orgeron Still in Running for USC Job


Even after posting a 5-1 record – including a huge upset win against then No. 4 Stanford – under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, the USC Trojans shocked many by looking elsewhere for someone to fill the position on a permanent basis. The university has expressed interest in several big-name candidates recently and even interviewed former USC All-American and current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio earlier this week.

However, on Wednesday, USC athletic director Pat Haden said that he hasn’t overlooked Orgeron, who is still very much in the running for the coveted job.

“What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable,” Haden said Tuesday night on KFWB-AM, via ESPN.com. “He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It’s not just the fans. We’re sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has, and he’s a known quantity.”

Orgeron’s popularity with the players, along with his success and respect from the coaching community, has garnered him plenty of support, which is obviously having an influence on Haden’s decision.

“I had 136 pro-Coach O emails today,” Haden said. “Those were just emails. That doesn’t count the tweets, letters and phone calls.”

Many of Orgeron’s coaching brethren – including Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and even the man he replaced at USC, Lane Kiffin – have also reached out to congratulate him recently and offer their recommendation that Orgeron take over the job full time.

“That’s easy. That’s already done. It should be Ed Orgeron,” Kiffin said during an appearance on ESPNLA 710 radio on Thursday. “How can you argue what he’s done? You have someone right there who has been at SC in some great times, he’s won national championships there, he understands the Trojan way, the players love him and the assistant coaches love him. How could you even possibly consider bringing in someone from the outside who isn’t really going to know USC, even if he played there 30 years ago.”

Kiffin’s argument in favor of Orgeron certainly makes sense and the results do speak for themselves. Since Kiffin’s dismissal, the team has made an incredible turnaround and pulled off arguably its biggest win in a few years last week. However, Haden – though he realizes what Orgeron brings to the table – said he still has to think what’s best for the program long term.

“My job is to find the best coach of USC, not just for this year, for five or six or eight games or next year, but hopefully for five, 10 or 15 years,” Haden said. “The good news is we had a lot of time to think about this thing and to really open the universe to potential opportunities because this is a really good job. We’re going to go through this process we have and, at the end of the day, I think we’ll have a rational decision.”

Basically, Haden doesn’t want to make the same mistake he did with Kiffin, but Orgeron seems like the right choice – that is, if USC wants to remain competitive in the Pac-12 in the coming years.


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