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USC Gives Kiffin the Boot

In this Sept. 28, 2013 photo, Arizona State University head coach Todd Graham, left,  shakes hands with USC head coach Lane Kiffin after ASU defeated USC 62-41 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. USC fired Kiffin early Sunday morning, not long after the team lost 62-41 at Arizona State.  (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT. NO SALES

In this Sept. 28, 2013 photo, Arizona State University head coach Todd Graham, left, shakes hands with USC head coach Lane Kiffin after ASU defeated USC 62-41 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. USC fired Kiffin early Sunday morning, not long after the team lost 62-41 at Arizona State. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT. NO SALES

Los Angeles — Lane Kiffin triumphantly flew in from Tennessee nearly four years ago as the unlikely choice to extend Southern California’s football renaissance.

When Kiffin’s Trojans trudged home to that same airport early Sunday morning after another loss, athletic director Pat Haden couldn’t wait another minute to end the divisive coach’s tumultuous tenure.

USC fired Kiffin hours after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State that dropped the Trojans to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12. The loss was the seventh in 11 games for a powerhouse program still struggling under the cumulative effect of NCAA sanctions, but unwilling to accept such a dramatic decline.

“It’s never the perfect time to do these things, but I thought it was the right time,” Haden said.

Ed Orgeron will be USC’s interim head coach for the final eight games of the season before Haden chooses a permanent successor for one of college football’s highest-profile jobs. Orgeron, Kiffin’s assistant head coach and top recruiter, is the former Mississippi head coach.

Haden broke the news to Kiffin in a 3 a.m. meeting at the Trojans’ private airport terminal, but not before a 45-minute chat in which Kiffin tried to change Haden’s mind. Haden didn’t hire Kiffin, but had been firmly behind the coach in public until Saturday, when the Trojans matched the most points allowed in school history.

WNBA Playoffs

Minnesota-Atlanta Final Set

Phoenix — Maya Moore scored 27 points, Seimone Augustus had 22, and Minnesota beat Phoenix to advance to the WNBA Finals for the third straight year with a sweep in the best-of-three Western Conference finals.

Minnesota will open the finals next Sunday at home against Atlanta, which completed its sweep of Indiana earlier Sunday, getting 27 points from Angel McCoughtry in a 67-53 sweep of Indiana.

Soccer

Schalke Drops American Jones;
Knee Surgery May Be Imminent

Berlin — German media reports say U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones has been dropped from Schalke’s squad that will face Basel in the Champions League and wants to use the opportunity to have knee surgery.

Kicker magazine reports on its website that Jones has been left out for Tuesday’s game after making a mistake that almost led to a winning goal for Hoffenheim in a 3-3 draw Saturday.

Jones was quoted as telling Sport Bild: “It’s true that the club has left me out of the squad. I’m using this chance to straighten out my meniscus.”

Sport Bild says the surgery would sideline the combative midfielder for around six weeks, ruling him out of World Cup qualifiers for the U.S. in October.

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt told Sport Bild: “We have decided that Jermaine Jones is to get time to think and will be left out of the squad for Basel.”

Neither Kicker nor Bild said which knee is hurt.