LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apparently even people who don’t work for Southern California are trying to hire the Trojans’ next football coach.
USC athletic director Pat Haden said Monday that two people pretending to be representatives of his school have contacted two coaches and attempted to discuss the Trojans’ coaching vacancy with them.
USC has identified the posers and is taking “appropriate action,” the school said in a blog post on its official website.
The Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) fired Lane Kiffin on Sept. 29 and installed Ed Orgeron as their interim coach while Haden looks for a new leader for one of the nation’s highest-profile programs.
Haden said somebody pretending to be a USC official repeatedly tried to speak to an unnamed member of the Denver Broncos’ coaching staff about the opening. Jack Del Rio, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator and the former Jacksonville head coach, is a former USC linebacker who has been linked to the job before Kiffin was hired and after he was fired.
Another phony school representative contacted Tony Dungy, the former Tampa Bay and Indianapolis coach. Dungy talked about his apparent contact with USC on a national radio show Monday, saying he turned down the representative and outlining what the Trojans need in a new coach.
Dungy later tweeted that he had been misled by “someone acting on their own.” He apologized to Haden for the mix-up.
“Tony’s discussion on the radio today of being contacted by USC was a complete surprise to us,” Haden said. “So were the calls made to the Broncos. I can assure you no authorized representative of USC or our athletic department made these calls.”
Haden has said Orgeron will coach the Trojans for the rest of the season, but his early firing of Kiffin freed USC to spend plenty of time planning its next move. Haden indicated USC is unlikely to do extensive formal interviews for the next two months.
USC’s next game is Thursday night at the Coliseum against Arizona.
“As I said last week, we will not comment on every name that comes out,” Haden said. “It would be a disservice to our players and coaches, who are devoting everything they have into the remainder of our season. We have a head coach right now in Ed Orgeron. We have not offered the job to anyone.”