The ‘Nine Lives’ Coach Finally Runs Out Of Luck
In the “what took so long” category, USC has finally fired Clay Helton.
The “nine lives” coach, who seemingly was like a cat being dropped from a balcony who always landed on his feet – could not overcome getting blown out by Stanford. The 42-28 loss to a team that was inept the previous week led to boos at halftime and disgruntled alumni not sticking around until the bitter end.
Heck, only half of them bothered to show up at the Coliseum in the first place.
And when you start losing fan interest – and, eventually, alumni donations – not even the most resilient of coaches can survive.
And Helton certainly was resilient. Even as the Trojans had to make late comebacks to barely beat inferior opponents and were sloppy and unmotivated in other games he managed to remain as the head coach.
He was lucky because USC was going through changes at president and AD and the pandemic bought him another year on the job.
Athletic Director Mike Bohn, just two years at USC, finally had seen enough of the team’s sloppy and uninspired play. The players, many highly recruited out of high school, were not getting any better under Helton.
Even what seemed like good seasons (in his first full season USC won a thrilling Rose Bowl over Penn State and finished 10-3) were just a mirage. The team opened the next season by getting steamrolled 53-6 by Alabama and over the next several years struggled to beat even the lamest of opponents.
He record was enhanced only due to the lack of competition in a very weak Pac-12 conference and with out-of-conference opponents like San Jose State. The truth of the matter is the Trojans were no match for good teams.
So he’s out and who’s in for the Trojans? How about Steve Sarkisian?