University of Southern California defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin announced Thursday that he will resign from the Trojans staff after the team’s upcoming bowl game “in order to pursue opportunities in the NFL.”
“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,” the 72-year-old told reporters.
Prior to his three-year coaching stint at USC, Monte Kiffin spent 25 years as an NFL assistant and won a Super Bowl as the Tampa Bay Bucs’ defensive coordinator in 2003.
He left the Bucs in 2008 to join his son, Lane Kiffin, who at the time was the Tennessee Volunteers’ head coach, and headed to USC with him in 2010, as well.
However, in the last season, Monte — widely considered one of the most influential defensive coaches in recent football history — received withering criticism for USC’s inability to stop opposing teams’ from scoring.
Fox Sports reports in USC’s final 5 games the team yielded 178 points and plummeted out of the Top 25 after beginning the year at No. 1.
“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.
When asked about his dad’s resignation, Lane said:
“I respect my father’s decision and his desire to return to the NFL. We are very appreciative of the hard work and effort that he put in at USC these past three years. He has a tremendous passion for coaching young men and he is a phenomenal recruiter.
“The timing of this allows us to move forward now in the hiring of a new coach.”
The LA Times reports the Trojans, who ranked 63rd in the country in total defense this season, are expected to be invited to participate in the Sun Bowl, which is on New Year’s Eve in El Paso, Texas.