The days of Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart lighting up the scoreboard at the Coliseum are long gone. USC is no longer the top destination for premiere high school football talent, and that doesn’t sit well with an alumni base that expects to be in contention for a national championship every year.
New leadership is clearly needed in Troy, and head coach Clay Helton is out.
On Monday, USC announced that the program has parted ways with their head coach of six years and change.
“This afternoon I informed Clay Helton of my decision to make a change in the leadership of our football program,” Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said in a statement. “Clay is one of the finest human beings I have met in this industry, and he has been a tremendous role model and mentor to our young men. We appreciate his many years of service to our university and wish him nothing but the very best.”
The decision comes after a wildly disappointing loss to unranked Stanford on Saturday. The then-No. 15 ranked Trojans were never in the game against a Cardinal team that lost to Kansas State the week before. The final score was 42-28, but USC was down 42-13 in the fourth quarter before scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter.
It was the final straw for a fanbase that has been calling for Helton’s job for several years.
Helton’s final record at USC is 46-24, but the last three years have been a struggle. USC has failed to win more than eight games since 2017, never able to once again rise to national prominence. In his time running the program, Helton went 9-12 against ranked opponents and 3-6 against top-10 opponents.
Helton thanked the players and the fans for the opportunity.
“To our players, both past and present, I am forever indebted to you for what you have given me,” Helton said in a statement. “The relationships that we have built and the memories that we have made will be with us forever. I am so appreciative for all of the hard work that our current staff and student-athletes have put into preparing for this season, and while it will be hard to not be in the fight with you, I am confident that great things are ahead.”
Thank you Trojan Family. Fight On! pic.twitter.com/ejZe6Pr5rV
— Clay Helton (@USCCoachHelton) September 14, 2021
USC announced that cornerbacks coach Donte Williams will serve as interim head coach. Helton’s contract runs through 2023 and has a buyout in the area of $12 million, according to ESPN.
In Bohm’s statement, he said that they will conduct a national search for their next head coach “over the next few months.”
“I want to be exceptionally clear: our university and leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory … Over the next few months, we will conduct a national search for our new coach,” Bohm’s statement continued. “We will actively and patiently pursue a coach who will deliver on the championship aspirations and expectations we all share for our football program.”
USC will undoubtedly be looking to make a big splash with their coaching hire, but who will make a big enough splash to satisfy the fanbase is the question.
Matt Campbell has turned Iowa State into a top-25 program, but Los Angeles is not Ames, Iowa. It’s hard to imagine Campbell turning down the job if offered, but Bohm and USC may be looking for a bigger name. The biggest name would be Urban Meyer, but Meyer is in his first year coaching in the NFL and has a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence to hitch his wagon to. James Franklin, Luke Fickell, and Mario Cristobal are all names to keep an eye on.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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