The University of Southern California announced today that it has hired Clay Helton as permanent head coach of the football team. Helton, 43, has served as the team’s interim coach twice, recently replacing Steve Sarkisian who was fired earlier this season. Helton guided the Trojans to a 5-2 record and a first place finish in the Pac-12 South Division. USC will play in its first Pac-12 Championship game after defeating cross-time rival UCLA at the LA Coliseum on Saturday, November 28, 40-21.
USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement: “After weeks of searching the collegiate and pro ranks, interviewing candidates, and speaking with head coaches, athletic directors, NFL executives, and very knowledgeable football people, and after observing Clay in action the past seven weeks, it became abundantly clear that what we were searching for in a coach was right here in front of us. Clay Helton is the right man at the right time for the USC football program.”
“Choosing a coach is an inexact science. In Clay’s case, there is exactness. We have a man with unquestioned integrity. He is a fantastic person and he is real. Clay is a leader of young men. He is a terrific communicator. He brings high character, stability, continuity, toughness, and resiliency to our program,” Haden said.
Helton has been at USC since 2010 and was retained by Sarkisian as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014. “I am extremely humbled and grateful to Max Nikias, Pat Haden, and the Trojan family for having the opportunity to be the head coach at the University of Southern California,” Helton said. “During my six years here, I have learned the standard of excellence that it takes to be a Trojan. I understand the expectations of this great university and welcome the challenge. I am so proud to have the chance to lead what I feel is the pinnacle of college football and to represent our Trojan Family.”
The Sentinel will continue to provide updates on this developing story.