Aside from being colleagues at both the University of Southern California and the University of Tennessee, among other career parallels, both Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron own the distinction of having served as USC's head coach – and being asked to no longer do so.
So now that the Trojans' job is again open, with USC's athletics director, Mike Bohn, this week firing coach Clay Helton, Kiffin and Orgeron – now head coaches in the rugged Southeastern Conference – own unique insight into the job.
Orgeron, despite admittedly being distraught when he lost a game to UCLA as the Trojans' interim head coach and did not get the job, praised the USC post.
“Top,” Orgeron, who won the 2019 College Football Playoff at LSU but has struggled since, said of the USC job's attractiveness. “One of the top jobs in the country. Great place, great tradition. Whoever gets that job can recruit Los Angeles.
“It should be great job for someone, but I tell you what, it ain't nothing like being at the LSU Tigers.”
Asked for his thoughts Wednesday during the SEC's weekly coaches' teleconference, Kiffin didn't discuss specifics of the job but instead empathized with Helton.
“Well, I feel for Clay,” said Kiffin, whose Ole Miss squad is ranked No. 17. “Clay's a great person. I think everybody knows that I can relate to being fired early in the year from there, but just in general fired at two games, it's a long season to sit around.
“I feel for him. That's about all I got on it.”
Kiffin went 28-15 in three-plus seasons at USC, where he took over in 2010 and helped the Trojans navigate NCAA sanctions.
Orgeron, who took over the USC program after Kiffin was fired five games into the 2013 season, finished out the year 6-2, but a regular-season ending blowout-loss to rival UCLA doomed his chance's for the top post.
Helton was fired this week after he compiled a 46-24 mark in 70 games. The Trojans were blown out last Saturday at home by rival Stanford, trailing 35-13 in the eventual 42-28 loss.