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College football: USC Coach Lane Kiffin tries to raid UCLA staff

February 15, 2012 | 10:20 am

Lane Kiffin

The tug of war between UCLA and USC reached a new flash point this month when Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin tried to lure Bruins assistant Eric Yarber across town.

Yarber, hired as UCLA’s receivers coach in January, declined.

“I think it is flattering to Eric, and to UCLA,” Bruins Coach Jim Mora said. “It’s a signal that, so far, we have done a good job of hiring assistants.”

Yarber was an assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last two seasons. He previously coached with Arizona State, Washington, UNLV and Idaho, and with the San Francisco 49ers.

What makes Yarber even more attractive is that he grew up in Los Angeles, playing at Crenshaw High School, and is plugged in to the recruiting scene.

“We talked,” Kiffin said. “Eric has been a successful college and NFL coach. In the end, it didn’t work out.”

Kiffin also said that he had talked with Mora before approaching Yarber.

Attempted “coach poaching” is nothing new in the rivalry.

USC made a play for UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow when Kiffin was hired two years ago. Rick Neuheisel, in his first season as UCLA’s coach, wooed USC assistant Ken Norton.


Lane Kiffin hires two assistant coaches

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Lane Kiffin. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times