ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

USC Trojans fire football coach Clay Helton after loss to Stanford

Sep 13, 2021, 2:42 PM | Updated: 2:43 pm
Southern California head coach Clay Helton walks on the sideline during an NCAA college football ga...

Southern California head coach Clay Helton walks on the sideline during an NCAA college football game against San Jose State Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Southern California has fired football coach Clay Helton two games into his seventh season in charge.

Athletic director Mike Bohn made the move Monday, two days after an embarrassing 42-28 home loss to Stanford. USC entered the game ranked 14th in The Associated Press poll and was favored by more than two touchdowns.

“Our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory,” Bohn said in a statement. “I accept the enormous responsibility I have to our current and former players and the entire Trojan Family to live up to our incredible heritage.”

USC named associate head coach and defensive pass game coordinator Donte Williams the interim replacement.

“This season is just getting started and we have the opportunity to really do something special with this team and this program,” Bohn added in his release. “Donte is an experienced and well-respected coach who is renowned for his ability to develop relationships with student-athletes, and I appreciate his willingness to take on this challenge.

“We still have control of our own destiny in the Pac-12 Conference, a tremendously talented group of student-athletes, and complete faith in the phenomenal assistant coaches and outstanding support staff in the John McKay Center.”

Helton went 46-24 during his improbable tenure in charge of the longtime West Coast college football powerhouse. Helton twice took over as USC’s interim head coach before getting the job on a permanent basis late in the 2015 season.

Helton’s Trojans won one Pac-12 title and one Rose Bowl, but otherwise struggled to live up to the sky-high expectations at USC. He was 19-14 since the 2017 season.

USC went 5-1 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and this year is 1-1 as it looks ahead to the post-Helton era.

The Trojans play Washington State this Saturday and take on the Arizona schools on consecutive weekends on Oct. 30 (Arizona) and Nov. 6 (Arizona State).

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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