The USC Trojans made it perfectly clear to new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury that he did not have their permission to interview with an NFL team. Apparently, Kingsbury ignored those warnings and decided on Monday to interview for the head coaching position with the New York Jets anyways.
On Tuesday, Fox Sports‘ Peter Schrager reported that Kingsbury is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after the franchise fired former head coach Steve Wilks following an abysmal 3-13 season.
Kingsbury accepted the Trojans offensive coordinator position a few weeks ago, but right after that, NFL teams started calling. USC athletic director Lynn Swann forbade Kingsbury from talking to these teams. However, that didn’t stop him, and now the 39-year-old football coach is heading for the National Football League.
You can’t blame USC for fighting to keep Kingsbury, but you also can’t blame him for looking into other opportunities.
Kingsbury would have been a fool not to take advantage of an opportunity like this. Clearly, USC sees the writing on the wall because Kingsbury was no longer listed on the USC football website even before the news of his NFL departure came out.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported that Kingsbury had already resigned his position as offensive coordinator as of Monday, but there was no official announcement from either side.
Stepping into the Cardinals organization starts, and ends, with the development of No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen. Kingsbury had success coaching quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield during his tenure as the former Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach, but he’s never had to do this job at the professional level.
During his time in Lubbock, Kingsbury’s TTU teams went 35-40 and only posted two winning records in six seasons of college football.
He took a chance that his talent would land him a head coaching job in the NFL, and that’s a risk he should be able to take without being threatened to lose his job. Regardless of the mess that came for it, Kliff Kingsbury has landed on his feet as the next head coach in Phoenix.
The question is, however, will USC be able to do the same?