Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An old tradition goes sour

We see this all the time. NFL assistant coaches are hired away by a college program or another NFL team in a similar position or promoted to head coach at their new job. Happens in basketball, too, at both levels. However, what USC head coach Lane Kiffin did may have crossed the line.

Kiffin and USC are being sued by the owners of the NFL's Tennessee Titans for "poaching" offensive assistant Kennedy Pola, the uncle of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive star Troy Polamalu, away from the Titans staff. Kiffin never gave the Titans, or more specifically, head coach Jeff Fisher, a courtesy call to offer Pola a deal. Given Kiffin's track record of late, that shouldn't be a surprise, but with USC knee-deep in scandals affecting their football & basketball programs, this is the last thing they needed with the 2010 season about 5-6 weeks away.

Pola & Fisher, like Kiffin, are USC alumni. Fisher had previously hired away respected offensive coordinator Norm Chow from USC, going through the proper channels to do so, something Kiffin apparently feels he didn't need to do, and you'd think his father, Monte, a defensive coordinator, would've advised him to do the right thing. It's proof again that Kiffin perhaps learned a wee bit too much about the wrong way to do business when he was with Oakland, before he started feuding with Al Davis.

One thing's for sure. Kiffin has ensured a permanent place in the sports Hall of Shame, but he shouldn't be dragging anyone else down with him.

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