The Trojans were coming off an 8-5 season in 2010, their first under NCAA sanctions that included the loss of 30 scholarships. However, the scholarship penalty was stayed for a year because of an appeal by the school.
So in January 2011, USC brought in eight players, which counted against the previous year, and then signed 22 in February. Kiffin and his staff were stockpiling recruits for what was expected to be a long slog through the some of the most severe sanctions in college football history.
Instead, USC showed the college football world — and the NCAA — that sanctions could not stop the Trojans from operating at a level similar to that in the Pete Carroll era.
Kiffin was lauded for outstanding coaching.
And USC fans — and much of the media — saw no reason that the Trojans would not continue to hum along.
But Kiffin’s star faded last season as the Trojans spiraled from preseason No. 1 to a 7-6 record.
Meantime, USC fans grew angrier and more impatient as Athletic Director Pat Haden repeatedly backed Kiffin.
Many booed Kiffin’s play-calling during the Trojans loss to Washington State on Sept. 7 at the Coliseum. By the end of the game, some were chanting, “Fire Kiffin.”
They got their wish early Sunday morning when Haden announced he had relieved Kiffin of his duties.
It's been a while since 2011.