Trojans assistant hired by Raiders
The 31-year-old was USC's offensive coordinator.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Raiders hired 31-year-old Lane Kiffin as their head coach Tuesday to rebuild a three-time Super Bowl champion that fell to the NFL's worst record this season.
Kiffin, the offensive coordinator at Southern California, became the youngest head coach in club history, and the NFL's youngest in several decades. Though Kiffin has just one season of experience as an NFL assistant coach, owner Al Davis didn't hesitate to put him in charge of his franchise.
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity and where I see this place going," Kiffin said at the Raiders' complex. "It's a historic franchise that has had greatness and has fallen on tough times, but we will bring it back to where it was before. We will do that through hard work. I'm prepared to roll up my sleeves and go to work."
The Raiders also will retain defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who built an above-average defense last season despite the offense's woes.
Tons of turnover
Davis has fired three coaches in the last four years while attempting to get his club back to respectability. After losing to Tampa Bay and former coach Jon Gruden in the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, Oakland has endured four straight losing seasons, including an NFL-worst 2-14 record in 2006.
As Davis reflected on what he called the "year of infamy," he realized the Raiders needed a profound change.
"As time went on, I realized that we had to go in a different direction," Davis said. "We have to move the clock back. We have to get youth in the organization, and we have to go ahead and attack, and with someone who really means that he will attack."
The Raiders have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, and now they also have Kiffin in charge of a new offensive philosophy. Oakland managed just 168 points last season despite decent offensive talent, including receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter and running back LaMont Jordan.
Davis fired Art Shell after the season and apparently became determined to hire a young offensive mind to succeed him. This strategy has worked for Davis before: John Madden was just 14 months older than Kiffin when he took over the Raiders in 1969, and the Raiders compared Kiffin's hiring to Madden's appointment in the fourth sentence of their news release Tuesday.
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