It’s not officially official, but it appears headed in a direction that’s positive for Clay Helton. For the USC football program? That’s to be determined.
One of the biggest dominoes on the 2019-20 spinning of the coaching carousel, that at the beginning of the year had been expected to fall but was still standing, is the USC job. Shortly after USC’s win over crosstown rival UCLA, it was reported that a pair of individuals new to the university — Carol Folt, hired as president in March, and Mike Bohn, brought on as the next athletic director last month — who would help decide Helton’s fate have given the beleaguered head coach “a lot of support.”
Tuesday night, FootballScoop.com reported that Helton will be retained as the Trojans’ head football coach. Very early Saturday morning, and while not going that far, The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman tweeted that “[s]ources inside USC are optimistic that head coach Clay Helton will get retained.”
There has been no official word from the university or the football program as to Helton’s fate, although the former website reports that a formal announcement is expected Wednesday.
Helton entered the 2019 campaign squarely on the hot seat, then proceeded to crank up the temperature even further with a 3-3 start to the season. Since then, however, the Trojans have gone 5-1 — the lone loss was to a then-No. 7 Oregon squad that currently is ranked 13th in the College Football Playoff Top 25 — to take it from a near-certainty that the coach is canned to the very real possibility that he’s saved his job.
Helton is in his fourth full season with the Trojans after going 5-4 as the interim head coach in 2015. In those first three seasons, the Trojans went 10-3, 11-3 and 5-7; they’re now 8-4 thus far this season, giving Helton an overall record of 40-21, with a 31-12 mark in conference play.
Entering the postseason, the Trojans sit at No. 22 in the CFP rankings.
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