A sizable segment of Nittany Nation probably howled with glee on Sunday morning.

That's when the news broke that Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin had been summarily fired at a Los Angeles airport after the Trojans' humbling 62-41 loss at Arizona State on Saturday night.

Kiffin, you see, is the man who talked Silas Redd into abandoning Happy Valley for Hollywood in the summer of 2012.

Redd was coming off a sensational sophomore season for the Nittany Lions in 2011, when he rushed for 1,241 yards.

It was naturally thought that Redd would be the centerpiece of the PSU offense in 2012.

Then in the summer of 2012, the NCAA slammed the Lions with unprecedented penalties in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, including severe scholarship reductions, bowl bans and a $60 million fine. The NCAA also gave all PSU players the option to immediately transfer without having to sit out a season.

It was open season on the Nittany Lions, and coaches came out of the woodwork in an effort to poach PSU's top players.

Kiffin quickly focused on Redd. The Trojans needed a top-flight tailback for 2012 and Redd was suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- available.


The USC coach went on a charm offensive on Redd. He may or may not have used rapper Snoop Dogg to give Redd a limousine ride upon his arrival in Los Angeles. That act, which would be an NCAA violation, was reported in the recent book, "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football." But both USC and the Redd family denied the accusation.

In any event, Redd was eventually won over by Kiffin. He bolted State College for L.A.

And really, who could blame him. At the time, Penn State was a program in turmoil. Many pundits (including this one) predicted that the Lions' program wouldn't recover from the NCAA sanctions for a decade -- maybe more.

USC, meanwhile, entered the 2012 season with great expectations. They were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll and many thought a national title was very possible, maybe even likely.

So Redd did what he thought was best for him and transferred to USC. In many ways, it was an easy choice.

But things didn't turn out quite the way Redd hoped.

The Trojans didn't win a national title last season. In fact, they finished unranked after staggering to a 7-6 record. And Redd had a decent season in 2012 (905 rushing yards), but he didn't match his numbers from 2011 at PSU.

The Lions, meanwhile, finished a surprising 8-4 under first-year head coach Bill O'Brien in 2012.

This season, things got even worse for Redd and USC. Redd suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in the spring and hasn't played at all in 2013, and the USC team is still having major issues. The Trojans are 3-2 overall, but 0-2 in the Pac-12, and their head coach just got canned.

In contrast, Penn State is 3-1 entering Big Ten action this fall, and the NCAA recently softened the PSU scholarship sanctions, and the bowl ban may soon get reduced as well.

If he had to do it all over again, Redd may very well have made a different choice and remained at PSU. But hindsight is always 20-20.

Given the circumstances in the summer of 2012, Redd made a logical choice. It didn't sit well with many of the Blue-and-White faithful, but it's a decision that many, if not most, college football players in Redd's shoes would've made.

Redd is not a villain in this sordid tale, and it would be wrong to take any pleasure in his difficulties.

Kiffin, however, is another story. He has now held three high-profile jobs (Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans) and failed at all of them. He has proven to be more pretty-boy, used-car salesman than college football coach.

So, if PSU fans feel the absolute need to revel in someone else's misery (a dubious endeavor at best), choose Kiffin, not Redd.

The best course of action, however, is to take the high road. Kicking a man when he's down is never a dignified thing to do. It is, sadly, human nature.

Instead, we should all use the Redd-Kiffin affair as a cautionary lesson.

The easy choice is not always the best choice, and sometimes, the hard way is the best way.

Silas Redd may realize that now.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com.