Twenty years ago, when USC needed to add a second soccer practice field, the school knew who to call. Brian Kennedy, who had attended the Trojan football games since 1949, had made a career building things quickly.
Kennedy’s company, Regency Outdoor Advertising, based in West Hollywood, hangs giant billboards across the city, from the Sunset Strip to the Los Angeles International Airport. He finished the field of practice in about four months, and Kennedy felt truly appreciated in 1999 when one of the USC assistant coaches, Ed Orgeron, stopped to introduce himself and thank him.
“I will compensate you,” Orgeron told Kennedy.
What Orgeron meant, to Kennedy, was that the USC defensive line coach was going to work hard to awaken the beloved reinforcement soccer program since the latency of the 1990s.
Orgeron and Kennedy became friends quickly and have remained united. On Monday night, when the Louisiana State Tigers of Orgeron faced Clemson in the national college football championship game, Kennedy watched from a suite at the New Orleans Superdome alongside Orgeron’s mother, Coco.
Kennedy is proud of Orgeron, happy for him, but he can’t shake off the feeling that he should have been trained by USC by the fiery Cajun on the greatest stage of the sport.
“We could have had Ed,” Kennedy said. “It would have been absolutely the best. He was the one who brought all the players over the past 20 years. “
On Saturday morning in New Orleans, when Kennedy attended the reception for Orgeron to win the Eddie Robinson Prize for the coach of the year, Kennedy was furious about the state of the Trojans in recent years, but the businessman who helps Others to convey their messages and slogans to the world had chosen to remain silent.
That morning, however, he finally let his frustration out publicly, creating a stir on social media by referring to the USC soccer program as “dog …”
After two days to reflect on the comments, Kennedy said: “It was not appropriate. But believe me, everyone I’ve talked to has come and said the same thing, not in many words, that this is the worst thing they’ve seen in the USC.
“In a way it was a mistake, but you know what, I knew I had to [say something] once and for all, if USC was going to be relevant. I don’t think it can be now, not with the administration we have. I used to hold a season ticket for about 50 years, and guess what. I haven’t been in a game in three years. They have thrown me quite well.
Kennedy, whose name adorns the driving range he donated and built, said former USC athletic director Pat Haden promised to seriously consider Orgeron to replace Lane Kiffin if Kiffin were fired. When that happened during the 2013 season, Orgeron was appointed interim coach, which led the USC to a 6-2 record. But the losses went to Notre Dame and UCLA.
Kennedy does not believe that Orgeron was seriously considered, as Steve Sarkisian was hired outside of Washington.
“They betrayed him and betrayed me,” Kennedy said. “That was a big mistake.”
Kennedy’s relationship with the athletic department began to deteriorate from there. He said he also advised Haden to hire Orgeron after Sarkisian was fired in 2015, but he was ignored.
Haden did not respond to a request for comment through a USC spokesperson.
When Lynn Swann took over Haden, Kennedy felt completely eliminated. He said he has not heard from Mike Bohn, who replaced Swann.
On Monday, Kennedy felt fortunate that Orgeron planned to take him on his magical journey with LSU, which is 14-0 and has six wins over the top 10 teams.
Kennedy even got on the team bus to the Superdome.
“If they had treated him better, we could have had Ed Orgeron as our head coach for life,” Kennedy said. “It’s sad that it didn’t work that way.”