Ed Orgeron

USC assistant coach Ed Orgeron is shown just before the start of the Trojans' game against Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in 2009. (Kent Nishimura / Getty Images / September 2, 2009)

Longtime USC assistant coach Ed Orgeron has been chosen to be the Trojans' interim football coach, Athletic Director Pat Haden announced at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

Orgeron replaces Lane Kiffin, who was fired after Saturday night's 62-41 loss at Arizona State. Kiffin was 28-15 in three-plus years at USC.

Orgeron has head coaching experience; he led Mississippi to a 10-25 record from 2005 to 2007.

"Ed is a good man who knows USC,"  Haden said.

Haden said Orgeron would be USC's interim coach for at least the remaining eight games. Haden would not speculate on a possible successor to Kiffin.

"It's not fair to our team," Haden said. "This is not the right time."

Haden did joke that all his candidates are "alive" and "you are all candidates in this room."

Haden said he made the decision to fire Kiffin shortly after Saturday night's loss. He met with Kiffin for 45 minutes after the team arrived in Los Angeles.

"He's a recruiter," Haden said. "He battled me. He really, really tried to keep his job."

Haden said the decision came down to a gut feeling.

Orgeron thanked Kiffin for his service and said he would try to bring some energy to the situation. Orgeron said offensive coordinator Clay Helton would take over play-calling duties from Kiffin.

"I want to tell you that we're here as a staff to answer the bell," Orgeron said. "We're all accountable for what happened."

Orgeron, having coached in the SEC, said he is ready to take on the pressures of coaching at USC.

He said he knows "how to play LSU and Alabama, at LSU and at Alabama."

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