Clay Helton Retained By USC

Ryan Phillips
Clay Helton during USC's matchup with UCLA
Clay Helton during USC's matchup with UCLA / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Clay Helton has been retained by USC after a week of rumors concerning his fate, per Yahoo! Sports' Pete Thamel and The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. The Trojans have opted to bring the 47-year-old head coach back after an 8-4 season he spent squarely on the hot seat.

And here's the statement from new USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn:

Helton took over as USC's interim head coach midway through the 2015 season and led the team to a 5-4 record but was 5-2 in conference play and reached the Pac-12 title game. He was named the permanent head coach during that stretch and over the next two seasons the Trojans went 21-6 with a Rose Bowl win during the 2016 season and a Pac-12 title in 2017.

The major problems started for Helton in 2018 when USC went 5-7 and missed a bowl game. Many expected him to be fired at the end of that disappointing season, but he was brought back with the expectation that 2019 had to be a huge improvement-- or else. USC went 8-4 (7-2 in conference) and showed many of the same flaws it has for years under Helton's leadership.

Helton will, once again, enter the 2020 season on the hot seat. Recruiting has fallen incredibly far because prospects won't commit to a coaching staff that may not be around. California is being raided by other programs as top recruits are leaving the state rather than head to USC, where the coaching situation will remain as uncertain as its been over the last several years.

Bohn made a bold call to retain Helton when virtually the team's entire fan base wanted him fired. It's time for Helton to reward that faith, or we may be looking at the same situation this time next year.