USC fires Kiffin; Orgeron interim coach
College football: Southern California fired Lane Kiffin early Sunday morning, ending the coach’s tumultuous tenure a few hours after the Trojans lost 62-41 at Arizona State.
Ed Orgeron was picked as USC’s interim head coach by athletic director Pat Haden later Sunday. The Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) have eight games left.
Orgeron was Kiffin’s assistant head coach and a former Mississippi head coach.
Haden fired Kiffin at the Trojans’ private airport terminal when the team plane returned from Arizona early Sunday morning, but not before a 45-minute meeting in which Kiffin tried to change Haden’s mind. The Trojans matched the most points allowed in school history in their seventh loss in 11 games.
The Trojans have a bye this week before returning Oct. 10 at the Coliseum against Arizona.
Kiffin went 28-15 in parts of four seasons in his self-described dream job, but USC is 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2001 after losses to Arizona State and Washington State.
The Trojans also were unimpressive on offense for most of their three victories, stoking discontent around a school with sky-high expectations even at the tail end of heavy NCAA sanctions.
The 52-year-old Orgeron went 10-25 in three seasons at Ole Miss, but that failed tenure did little to diminish his stature as a bulldog recruiter and defensive line coach. He coached alongside Kiffin at Tennessee before following his friend back to USC.
• Irish out of Top 25; Arizona State in: Notre Dame has dropped out of the Associated Press college football poll after losing its second game of the season, and Arizona State moved in at No. 22 after the Sun Devils’ win over USC.
Alabama remained No. 1 as the top five held their spots for the third consecutive week.
Washington moved up one spot to No. 15. Maryland moved into the poll at No. 25, and Wisconsin fell out.
McCoughtry leads Dream to finals
WNBA: Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta to its third WNBA Finals spot in four years, scoring 27 points in the Dream’s 67-53 victory over the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.
Seeking their first title, the Dream swept the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals.
Briann January (Lewis and Clark) scored four points and had five rebounds for Indiana.
Atlanta will play at Minnesota in the opener of the finals on Friday.
• Lynx sweep Mercury, advance to third straight finals: Maya Moore scored 27 points, Seimone Augustus had 22, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the host Phoenix Mercury 72-65 to advance to the WNBA Finals for the third straight year with a sweep in the best-of-three Western Conference finals.
NBA considers change for finals
NBA: The NBA Finals could return to a 2-2-1-1-1 format.
The league’s Competition Committee voted unanimously to recommend the change from the current 2-3-2 system and owners will vote on it next month at their meetings.
If approved, it hasn’t been decided if the change would begin with the 2014 finals.
• Spoelstra signs multiyear extension: Erik Spoelstra has signed a multiyear extension to remain as coach of the Miami Heat. The Heat have won the past two NBA championships and are 260-134 in Spoelstra’s first five seasons in Miami. He had one year left on his existing contract, a deal that the sides agreed to in 2011.
Pence, Giants finalize $90 million deal
Baseball: Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants have finalized a $90 million, five-year contract, a deal that keeps the outfielder off the free-agent market. Pence finished this season with a .283 average, a career-best 27 homers and 99 RBIs.
• Hill to run Marlins’ baseball operations: Miami Marlins executive Michael Hill has been promoted to the position of president of baseball operations, replacing Larry Beinfest, who was fired Friday.
Another Marlins executive, Dan Jennings, replaces Hill as general manager.
• Dad of stabbed fan makes plea for evidence: The father of a Los Angeles Dodgers fan stabbed to death after a Giants game last week is making a public plea for independent witnesses to contact authorities.
Robert Freece spoke in front of AT&T Park’s iconic Willie Mays statue Sunday and said he believes bystanders used mobile devices to record a fight that ended with the death of 24-year-old Jonathan Denver.
A 21-year-old Lodi, Calif., man suspected of fatally stabbing Freece’s son Wednesday was released from jail two days later.
San Francisco’s district attorney said police haven’t collected enough evidence to charge Michael Montgomery with murder.
Herrin wins AMA Pro SuperBike title
Miscellany: Yamaha’s Josh Herrin won the AMA Pro SuperBike season title, and teammate Josh Hayes raced to his eighth victory of the season in the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
• Rui Costa edges Rodriguez for cycling world title: Rui Costa of Portugal prevailed over a star-studded field to win a grueling road race at the cycling world championships in Florence, Italy, edging Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain in a sprint finish.
• Raonic beats Berdych to win Thailand Open: Milos Raonic upset top-seeded Tomas Berdych 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the Thailand Open tennis tournament in Bangkok to claim his fifth title.