Titans, USC settle over Kiffin’s hiring of coach

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NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans have settled their lawsuit with the University of Southern California over Trojans coach Lane Kiffin hiring away an assistant coach just before training camp last July.

The Titans and USC announced Wednesday in a joint statement that settlement terms are private but called it an “amicable” resolution. The lawsuit is expected to be dismissed in a few weeks.

The team sued July 26, a couple days after Kiffin poached running backs coach Kennedy Pola off the Titans‘ coaching staff a week before Tennessee opened camp.

Then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher, a USC alumnus, had fired Earnest Byner to hire Pola last offseason and said Kiffin didn’t make the customary courtesy call to alert the team of his intentions.

The Titans‘ lawsuit accused USC and Kiffin of using “improper means” to induce Pola to breach his contract with the NFL team. But USC and Kiffin offered Pola better job security than the Titans because his NFL contract ran to Feb. 14, 2011, though the team later extended their assistants’ deals through 2012.

Tennessee charged that Pola needed written permission from the team president and general counsel because verbal consent wasn’t adequate, which both Southern California and Kiffin knew about through Pola. Fisher also criticized Kiffin’s professionalism to a newspaper reporter.

Losing Pola forced Fisher to swap up his staff, but the Titans couldn’t fill the spot before the 2010 season. Tennessee went 6-10, and Fisher left the team in late January.

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