USC head coach Clay Helton: 'This place was founded on toughness'

After leading the Trojans to a 5-2 record while interim head coach, Clay Helton was officially named the new USC head coach on Monday morning.

"After weeks of searching...it became abundantly clear that what we are searching for in a coach was right here in front of us," Athletic Director Pat Haden said at a press conference on campus announcing the hire.

Helton has been with USC since 2010, both as an assistant and two-time interim head coach. The deal is for three years guaranteed, with a two-year option should Helton reach specific goals according to ESPN.

[Related video: USC players joyfully maul Helton after being named head coach]

Helton acknowledged Monday that he's not a "glitzy" hire. But when he reflects on the Trojan greats who came before him, he sees a blue-collar tradition that belies the school's locale.

"I saw the coliseum and I saw USC right there, and it made me think about the past players and coaches that have been here that have established a blue-collar, tough, gritty mentality," Helton said.

"I think about John McKay and John Robinson and Marv Goux and Pete Carroll. I think about the class acts of toughness like Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, Keyshawn Johnson, Willie McGinest, and so many more. You realize that this place was founded on a blue-collar toughness, a toughness that I hope to emulate with my time here."

[Related: Get your tickets to see USC-Stanford in the 2015 Pac-12 Football Championship Game]

The new head coach will face a challenge right away, as the Trojans head to Santa Clara, Calif. to square off against Stanford in Saturday's Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Helton hopes that it's just the first of many championships for the Trojans.

"I apologize for not being glitzy, but then I believe that mentality – that blue-collar, toughness mentality – is what wins championships. And it has been proven here over a long period of time, way before me."

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