USC Football: Clay Helton retained — Winners and Losers

Many expected a culture change for the USC football team after this season but it is not in the cards as Clay Helton will return as head coach.

USC Trojans Athletic Director Mike Bohn gave the answer to the ultimate question on Wednesday afternoon. Bohn announced via Twitter that Clay Helton would be retained as head coach of the USC football team.

The announcement was met with derision and outright panic by fans of the Trojans on both social media and over radio airwaves. Fans made no bones about how they felt with many threatening to let go of their season tickets while Helton was still in charge.

How much impact Bohn’s decision will have on the program won’t be known right away but there seems to be immediate fallout and there are real winners and losers with Helton being retained.


Clay Helton: There is no bigger winner in all this than Clay Helton. Despite going 13-11 in his last two seasons, a clear sign of fan apathy with dwindling attendance, and a recruiting class outside the top 65, Helton still gets to coach the team.

From all the talk about Helton, he seems to be a good guy running a good program, but the results aren’t there. Instead of being talked about as a College Football Playoff contender the Trojans are mired in mediocrity and it has just rolled off Helton’s back. He is, for now, the “Teflon” coach of college and football.

That’s it that’s the list of winners because this decision is so monumentally bad there was only one winner.


Mike Bohn/Carol Folt: USC President Carol Folt hired Mike Bohn to be the USC Athletic Director and so her time at USC could be tied to his decision making. The fact that so many people were angry when Bohn announced his decision means there could be some blowback on Folt as well.

Usually, a university president is immune to what’s going on in their Athletic Department when it comes to winning and losses but at USC alumni donations can sometimes correlate with the success of their football team. Trojan football’s continual descent into mediocrity could bring down Bohn and Folt all at once.

The Pac-12: Fans of the Pac-12 schools outside of USC may not want to admit it but the Pac-12’s national exposure is better when the USC football team is better. If Helton continues to pull down the Trojans then the prestige of the conference goes down with them.

No other school moves the needle in the conference (Yes Oregon you heard me!) like USC at a time when the Pac-12 is an afterthought on a national scale they need USC to be better, retaining Helton doesn’t help that at all.

Trojans Fans: After watching the Trojans be mediocre under Helton these last four seasons they have a very credible reason to be angry Helton is staying. Besides the 13-11 record over the last two years, the Trojans have been 13-14 against Power 5 schools with winning records, and have lost 12 games by double-digit scores during Helton’s tenure.

How can Trojans fans expect things will change for the better with Helton still at the helm. It gets no better next season for the Trojans as they face Alabama in their opener in Tuscaloosa, have road trips to Oregon and Utah and host Notre Dame.

Trojans fans have been staying away from the Coliseum any more mediocrity from Helton and they might stay away for good.