The hidden side of politics

USC, seeking ‘change in leadership,’ fires Helton

Reported by ESPN:

Southern California football coach Clay Helton has been fired, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Monday.

The decision comes two days after the Trojans, who came into the season with conference-title aspirations, were embarrassed in a 42-28 home defeat to Stanford.

“As I committed to upon my arrival at USC, during the past two off-seasons we provided every resource necessary for our football program to compete for championships,” Bohn said in a statement announcing the dismissal. “The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team’s performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership.”

Helton was under contract through the 2023 season. His buyout is in the $12 million range, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low.

Donte Williams will serve as the interim head coach. Williams joined the USC staff in 2020 as the cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator and was elevated to associate head coach after last season.

In a tweeted statement, Helton called coaching USC “the opportunity of a lifetime,” thanking the school, players and fans.

“To our players, both past and present, I am forever indebted to you for what you have given me,” Helton said in part. “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 lie ahead.”

Helton had been with the program since 2010, when he was hired to be the quarterbacks coach on Lane Kiffin’s initial staff. He served as the offensive coordinator under both Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian before being hired as the head coach by then-AD Pat Haden in 2015.

Including two stints as the interim coach, Helton went 46-24 as the Trojans coach, including a Rose Bowl win to cap the 2016 season. USC went 1-1 under Helton this season.

“I want to be exceptionally clear: our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory,” Bohn said. “This decision represents our next step toward that goal in what has been a thoughtful and strategic process to build a comprehensive football organization equivalent to the premier programs in the modern landscape.”

A national search for Helton’s replacement will take place over the next several months, Bohn said.

Source:ESPN

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