A vote of confidence for a coach doesn’t often carry much weight. There are many examples of coaches being told they were safe only to be dismissed a short time later
The latest example is Mike Brown, the Lakers’ coach who recently received a vote of confidence from owner Jim Buss. Two days later Brown was fired.
Now we have USC athletic director Pat Haden giving Trojan football coach Lane Kiffin a vote of confidence. Haden says Kiffin will again coach USC next season.
This vote of confidence seems genuine, although you never know.
My USC sources tell me Kiffin is likely to survive for another year or two at least for one important reason – he’s a marvelous recruiter.
Kiffin’s coaching ability has come under scrutiny in a season when the Trojans have lost four games, including the biggest ones on their schedule to UCLA and Notre Dame. There’s a school of thought that Kiffin is a little young to carry on the Trojans’ grand football tradition.
But even when USC was hit by NCAA sanctions Kiffin was able to bring in elite talent.
Consider that Trojan All-American receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods were coached at Serra High by Kurt Altenberg, a former Bruin. But they became Trojans at a time when USC’s ability to swoop in on potential superstar recruits seemed in jeopardy.
The thinking is that Kiffin can gather another outstanding recruiting class despite the disappointing 2012 season. And Haden doesn’t want to fool with that.
And it isn’t as if Kiffin can’t correct coaching mistakes. Most likely he’ll benefit from the experiences of this season.
Since USC has dominated UCLA in the recent past a loss to the Bruins quite naturally spooks Trojan followers.
USC then had to bounce back against an undefeated Notre Dame team and do it without injured quarterback Matt Barkley. The Trojans lost a hard-fought game last Saturday but it was far from a disgrace. Give Notre Dame credit for doing what it did all season, making a gallant goal line stand at the finish.
With a freshman quarterback starting his first college game, USC was a little off in the passing game, just enough to miss on some opportunities.
But Haden doesn’t appear to be showing any panic. For sure USC had a highly disappointing season, but firing the coach now – a young coach who might only need some time to grow in the job – would be a surprise.
So this is one time when a vote of confidence may be taken seriously.