LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California assistant head coach Monte Kiffin will resign from his son's coaching staff after a miserable season for the Trojans' defense.
Monte Kiffin announced in a news release Thursday night that he will leave USC after the Trojans' bowl game next month to pursue a return to 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," Monte Kiffin said in a statement. "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. Although things didn't always go as well as we would have liked this year from a defensive and win-loss standpoint ... I see great things ahead for the USC football program."
The 72-year-old Monte Kiffin is considered one of the most influential defensive coaches in recent football history, most notably constructing the famed Tampa 2 defense during his tenure as the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator.
After 13 years at Tampa Bay, Monte Kiffin teamed up with his son at the University of Tennessee during the 2009 season, and then went along when Lane Kiffin abruptly left the Volunteers to return to USC three years ago.
But Monte Kiffin received withering criticism for USC's defensive performance this season. USC yielded 178 points while losing four of its final five games this season, plummeting out of the Top 25 after beginning the year at No. 1.
"I respect my father's decision and his desire to return to the NFL," Lane Kiffin said. "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."