Would Jack Del Rio leave the Broncos to take USC’s coaching job?
Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC’s vacant head coaching position two weeks ago, FOX’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday. According to Glazer, USC athletic director Pat Hayden flew to Denver to interview Del Rio one day before Del Rio took over as the Broncos’ interim head coach.
Del Rio still holds that position, with Denver head coach John Fox requiring aortic valve replacement surgery. Fox has said that he is hopeful he will be able to return before the end of the season.
The notion of a Del Rio move to USC surfaced almost immediately after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin in late September. In fact, University of Houston tennis coach Patrick Sullivan even tweeted that he saw Del Rio at the Los Angeles airport just days after Kiffin’s removal. Fox shot that down, stating that he was with Del Rio in Denver at the time.
Del Rio has never coached at the college level, but he did play for USC before starting his NFL career. He later spent nine seasons as the Jaguars’ head coach, compiling a 68-71 record with a pair of playoff appearances.
Whether or not the USC job will even still be available at the end of this NFL season is up in the air. Current USC interim coach Ed Orgeron has gone 5-1 since taking over for Kiffin, including a thrilling upset victory over No. 4 Stanford on Saturday.
It’s nearly impossible to see Del Rio leaving before the Broncos’ year concludes, especially given Fox’s health status. So for USC to hire its former player, Haden would need to wait until at least mid-January and possibly as long as early February, if the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl. That’s an extra month the Trojans would be without a head coach. And National Signing Day falls on Feb. 5, 2014, just three days after the Super Bowl — meaning that Del Rio would not have any time to retain or add recruits, if he stayed with the Broncos through that game.
USC could offer him the job and allow him to finish out the season in Denver, but that scenario may create unwanted distractions for the Broncos. Already, Fox’s absence has placed a hurdle in front of the team, though it won its first game with Del Rio standing in, 28-20 over San Diego.
Del Rio has served as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, ever since losing his gig in Jacksonville. Prior to that, he spent time in the Saints, Ravens and Panthers’ organizations.