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January 17, 2013
Just days after Monte Kiffin was hired as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator last week, Lane Kiffin decided on his father's successor.
According to multiple sources and confirmed by Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, Clancy Pendergast, former Cal defensive coordinator under Jeff Tedford, will be announced as the man to try to get the Trojans' defense squared away after three frustrating seasons trying to make Monte Kiffin's NFL schemes work.
Feldman reported that the official Pendergast announcement will come on Friday.
While Pendergast might not be quite the home run hire USC fans thought Michigan State's Pat Narduzzi or Oregon State's Mark Banker would be, the 45-year-old Pendergast is not without some serious accomplishments in both the college and NFL ranks.
He brings an aggressive, multiple-front scheme and attacking style with a resume that shows six years as an NFL defensive coordinator (one year at Kansas City and five at Arizona). His 2008 Cardinals team made it to the Super Bowl.
Pendergast fits Kiffin's stated desire to hire a coach familiar with the Pac-12, not to mention someone successful with holding down Oregon's spread, at least the first time he faced it. He has not, however, seemed to have as much success against USC's pro-style offense, however, dropping all three games and giving up 101 points the last three years.
In his three seasons at Cal, from 2010 to 2012, Pendergast's first two teams led the Pac-12 in total defense and pass defense with both three- and four-man fronts while producing nine NFL players. His young 2012 defense, after losing six starters including Pac-12 2011 defensive player of the year Mychal Kendricks, was unable to live up to those high standards.
But there were some highlight moments in a season that saw the Bears finish 10th in total defense in the Pac-12, allowing 441.25 yards a game (5.67 yards per play), No. 93 out of the 120 FBS teams. USC meanwhile, finished 60th, giving up 394.0 yards a game (5.30 per play).
Maybe the best moment came in the Bears' win over Pac-12 South champion UCLA when they held the Bruins to 17 points.
Pendergast has a career split between the college and NFL ranks with grad assistant slots at Mississippi State, USC (in 1992) and Oklahoma to start for the 1990 Arizona graduate. NFL stints followed for the next 15 seasons with stops, all but one on the defensive side, at the Houston Oilers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.
His specialty coaching areas have been the secondary and linebackers.
Pro Bowlers coached by Pendergast include Bertrand Berry, Darnell Dockett, Antrel Rolle and Adrian Wilson at Arizona and Roy Williams and Darren Woodson at Dallas. At Cal, he had first-round draft pick Cameron Jordan in 2011 and Kendricks, a second-rounder in 2012.
Just to take one example from Pendergast's Cal years as to how he likes to bring pressure from a number of places in schemes often described as "creative," when the Bears recorded 34.0 sacks in 2011, good for 19th in the nation, those sacks came from a total of 16 different players.
CLANCY PENDERGAST BIO
Birthdate: November 29, 1967
Hometown: Glendale, AZ
High School: Tolleson HS
College: Arizona 1990 (Bachelor's in Agriculture)
2010-12 Cal: Defensive Coordinator
2009 Kansas City Chiefs: Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2004-08 Arizona Cardinals: Defensive Coordinator
2003 Cleveland Browns: Linebackers
1996-2002 Dallas Cowboys: Defensive Backs (2001-02)
Def. Nickel Package (2000)
Def. Asst./Qual. Control (1996-99)
1995 Houston Oilers: Def; Asst./Quality Control
1993-94 Oklahoma: Grad. Assistant/Tight Ends
1992 USC: Defensive Assistant
1991 Mississippi State: Graduate Assistant
2008 Super Bowl XLII Arizona
NFL Playoff Games
2008 Arizona (4 Games)
1999 Dallas (1 Game)
1998 Dallas (1 Game)
1996 Dallas (2 Games)
2011 Holiday Cal
1994 Copper Oklahoma
1993 John Hancock Oklahoma