According to Sports Illustrated writer Adam Maya, the Clay Helton era at USC is over.
𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚: USC to dismiss head coach Clay Helton, per multiple sourceshttps://t.co/oDJjfQszqn
— Adam Maya (@AdamJMaya) December 1, 2019
While it’s important to recognize that there is no official word yet and Maya has been off before, the news should come as no surprise when it’s confirmed.
In four years as head coach of the Trojans, Helton has compiled a record of 40-21, culminating with a Rose Bowl victory and a Pac-12 championship. The Trojans fortunes took a turn for the worse with a 5-7 record in 2018, the first losing season for the program since 2000. By then, fans had already started overwhelmingly calling for Helton’s job, but then-Athletic Director Lynn Swann stuck by his coach. He stepped down in September.
USC hired Mike Bohn as Athletic Director in November, and he stated that he wanted to see Helton finish the season strong. He seemed to do just that, as USC bounced back to an 8-4 record with blowout wins over Cal and UCLA, but it reportedly wasn’t enough.
USC’s recruiting has suffered in recent years under Helton, the most recent and possibly devastating blow being when five-star QB Bryce Young flipped his commitment to Alabama. USC’s 2020 recruiting class ranks towards the bottom of the Pac-12.
Despite reports that Bohn was leaning towards retaining Helton, the university’s decision had reportedly been made earlier this week.
The news has yet to be confirmed, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be true.