USC due to rehire Robinson

January 02, 1993|By Orange County Register

SANTA ANA, CALIF — SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Larry Smith, who resigned yesterday asSouthern Cal football coach, will be replaced by former Trojans and Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson, the Orange County Register reported.

Robinson, 57, who compiled a 67-14-2 record while coaching USC from 1976 to 1982, has agreed to a multi-year contract. The hiring is expected to be announced next week.

Mike McGee, USC's outgoing athletic director, announced Smith's departure but would not confirm Robinson will return as coach.

"I will report on the search for a new coach when one is named, so I'd like to avoid specifics," McGee said.

Robinson won three Rose Bowls and a share of the 1978 national title with the Trojans, before becoming the Rams' head coach. He resigned after the 1991-92 season and spent this season as an analyst on NFL games for CBS.

McGee said Smith was offered another position in the athletic department. Smith chose instead to resign six years to the day he was named coach after agreeing to a buyout of the three remaining years of his contract.

Smith, 53, defended his decision to resign in a tearful meeting with the media.

"I don't consider it quitting; I was given two options," he said before breaking down in sobs. "I've always preached to my players to never quit."

Smith's teams were 44-25-3 in six seasons with three Pac-10 championships and a Rose Bowl victory against Michigan in 1990.

But those three titles came in his first three seasons. USC was 3-8 in 1991 and ended a 6-5-1 season Tuesday with an embarrassing 24-7 loss to Fresno State in the Freedom Bowl at Anaheim Stadium.

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