The University of Southern California has decided to keep Clay Helton as its football coach, ignoring his 5-7 record this year, including a loss to arch-rival UCLA.
Helton presided over the Trojans’ first losing season since 2000, but USC athletic director Lynn Swann said today he will be back. He may have been swayed by USC’s superior effort in a narrow loss to undefeated Notre Dame.
Many boosters and fans were clamoring for a coaching change, but Helton owns a contract extension through 2023, granted just nine months ago. Overall, Helton is 32-17 at USC, his first head coaching job.
The Trojans won the Rose Bowl two seasons ago and topped the Pac-12 last season. This year it lost five of its final six games.
“I am a strong advocate of consistency within a program, sticking by a leader, supporting them and helping them and their team improve,” Swann said in a statement. “One season does not define a coach. We acknowledge and understand our deficiencies in areas that include culture, discipline, schemes, personnel and staff. We agree that changes need to be made, and they will. We will improve and get better in all areas. Coach Helton has a plan in place to get USC back to the top.”