USC-You Later: Head Coach Clay Helton Out as USC Falls to Unranked Stanford


As bizarrely as it began, Head Coach Clay Helton’s time with USC Football has ended.

After winning a Rose Bowl and Pac-12 title early into his tenure at the helm, Trojan fans have never been in love with the idea of Clay steering the wheel of the ship. The straw that seemingly broke the camel’s back was the embarrassing defeat to Stanford as USC fell 42-28 at home. The defeat pushed USC out of the AP top 25.

Athletic Director Mike Bohn made the move two days after the team’s loss, and “[Thinks] that in the end, it’s just a sense of ensuring that long-term, [they] have the ability to build.” With the team’s sights set on national championships, Bohn felt that “a change was needed.”

Donte Williams, Trojans’ cornerbacks coach and associate head coach, will be taking over for the remainder of the season alongside offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Notably, Williams becomes the first Black head coach in USC football history.

Having finished 22 games over .500 during what was the seventh-longest tenure coaching for one of the best College Football teams on the West Coast, Helton brought stability to what was, at the time, an unstable football culture, and ran a clean program. Unfortunately, he just didn’t win enough for an organization that, well, likes to win.

Past Head Coach Pete Carroll, now coaching for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, feels for Helton and for the organization – players included. “It’s not just one guy [that gets affected]…it’s a very difficult decision to make, and they’re making the decision for what they feel is the right reasons.


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