With the College of Southern California’s protection being gashed, its offense stagnant and its self-discipline missing — the kicker was once ejected at the opening kickoff — lovers on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum showered the staff with boos right through a 42-28 thumping by the hands of Stanford, which entered Saturday’s sport as a 17-point underdog.
In a while, Clay Helton, the seventh-year trainer, pleaded for calm.
“On the finish of the season, see the place we’re at,” he advised journalists.
Anywhere the Trojans are on the finish of the season, Helton gained’t be round to look it. He was once fired Monday amid expanding fury from the college’s alumni and previous gamers for whom Saturday wasn’t only a unhealthy sport, however some other affirmation that the soccer program would by no means transform a contender for a countrywide name beneath Helton.
In reality, Athletic Director Mike Bohn, in pronouncing a countrywide seek for a brand new trainer, mentioned in a observation that the Trojans can be at an advantage for the rest of the season with Donte Williams, a 39-year-old cornerbacks trainer who hasn’t ever even served as a coordinator, because the period in-between head trainer.
Bohn, who changed Lynn Swann because the athletic director two years in the past, mentioned that in spite of including assets for the soccer program since he arrived, it was once transparent even after two video games — a win over San Jose State and the loss to Stanford — that U.S.C. was once nowhere close to changing into a countrywide championship contender. “It’s already obtrusive that, in spite of the improvements, the ones expectancies would no longer be met and not using a alternate in management,” he mentioned.
If Helton’s firing was once a surprise this early within the season, it’s de rigueur for the Trojans, who’ve rather the historical past of bloodletting with soccer coaches.
Lane Kiffin was once fired on the airport after being summoned from the staff bus upon returning to Los Angeles following a defeat at Arizona State. Steve Sarkisian checked into rehab upon getting fired in the midst of the season after again and again appearing up inebriated. And years in the past, John Robinson returned house from Christmas buying groceries to discover a message on his answering system that he have been axed.
This resolution, even though, may had been made a ways previous however for the whopping six-year contract extension Helton was once awarded by means of Swann earlier than the 2018 season — one this is anticipated to have paid him with reference to $five million this season and runs for 2 extra years.
The Trojans, who had been carried to the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl by means of quarterback Sam Darnold in Helton’s first two complete seasons, have long gone 19-14 since Helton signed the brand new contract. In closing yr’s pandemic-shortened season, the Trojans gained their 5 convention video games, however their hopes of sneaking into the Faculty Soccer Playoff vanished once they had been disappointed on their house box by means of Oregon within the Percent-12 championship sport.
Helton by no means won a foothold with U.S.C. lovers, who had been befuddled that the previous athletic director Pat Haden — who like his successor Swann have been a celebrity soccer participant on the faculty — promoted Helton to period in-between trainer after firing Sarkisian, after which gave him the everlasting task. Haden had prior to now handed on some other period in-between trainer, opting for not to retain Ed Orgeron, who two years in the past coached Louisiana State to a countrywide championship.
Helton’s training workforce was once a revolving door, and each and every August he appeared to promise a extra disciplined staff. However even a rousing comeback victory over the convention rival U.C.L.A. closing yr was once marred by means of Trojans taunting their competitors when the sport ended — Helton falling to the turf seeking to pull his gamers away.
The scene was once an image of a trainer who didn’t have keep an eye on of his staff.
The price of firing Helton can be substantial, probably in the community of $15 million (the phrases of his contract don’t seem to be public as a result of U.S.C. is a personal faculty). However with a $315 million renovation of the Coliseum to be paid for partly thru price ticket gross sales, a substantial monetary hit from the pandemic and declining attendance, there was once additionally a value to doing not anything.
On Monday, U.S.C. determined it was once an excessive amount of to endure.