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USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn Announces Change In Leadership Of The Football Program

Sep 13, 2021

LOS ANGELES – USC Director of Athletics Mike Bohn today announced that the university is making a change in leadership of the football program and parting ways with head coach Clay Helton.

Bohn and Helton addressed the program together during the regularly scheduled team meeting this afternoon. Bohn made it clear that USC's leadership believes in the highly talented group of student-athletes on the team and is committed to building a program that consistently competes at the highest level.

The move ends Helton's tenure as USC's head football coach, where he led the Trojans to a 46-24 overall record. Helton, who also twice served as interim head coach, guided USC to its only two New Year's Six bowl games in the past decade. Under his direction, the football program won the 2017 Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 conference title in 2017, three Pac-12 South division titles, and earned a visit to the Cotton Bowl in 2017. He also secured three top-seven recruiting classes.

"Clay is one of the finest human beings I have met in this industry, and he has been a tremendous role model and mentor to our young men," Bohn said. "We appreciate his many years of service to our university and wish him nothing but the very best. Consistent with our values as an institution, he deserves the utmost respect from the Trojan Family during this transition."

Over the last two off-seasons, the athletics department has added significant resources to help the football program contend for championships. "The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team's performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership," Bohn said.

USC first fielded a football team in 1888, and over the decades the Trojans have won 11 national titles, 34 bowl games and 39 conference championships and produced 169 All-American first teamers, six Heisman Trophy winners and 520 NFL players.

"Our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory," Bohn said. "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."

Associate Head Coach Donte Williams will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. With ten games still remaining in the regular season, Bohn expressed full confidence in Williams' leadership and excitement about the meaningful opportunities for the team moving forward.

"This season is just getting started and we have the opportunity to really do something special with this team and this program," Bohn said. "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."

Bohn also announced that USC will quickly launch a national search for the next head coach.

"We will actively and patiently pursue a coach who will deliver on the championship aspirations and expectations we all share for our football program. With our storied history, our talented roster, and the major investments we've made in the infrastructure of our football organization, I'm optimistic that we are better positioned right now than we have been at any other time in the past decade to recruit the best and right leader for USC."

Bohn asked the USC community to "step up its support of our players, unify as the Trojan Family, and help show every potential coaching candidate and recruit that this is the greatest program in the country. Let's do what we do best and Fight On!"

Full Statement From Director of Athletics Mike Bohn

This afternoon I informed Clay Helton of my decision to make a change in the leadership of our football program. Clay is one of the finest human beings I have met in this industry, and he has been a tremendous role model and mentor to our young men. We appreciate his many years of service to our university and wish him nothing but the very best. Consistent with our values as an institution, he deserves the utmost respect from the Trojan Family during this transition.

As I committed to upon my arrival at USC, during the past two off-seasons we provided every resource necessary for our football program to compete for championships. The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team's performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership.

This season is just getting started, and we have the opportunity to really do something special with this team and this program. I'm confident that as our interim head coach Donte Williams gives us a higher probability for success the remainder of the season. 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. With ten games left, 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.

I want to be exceptionally clear: our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory. This decision represents our next step toward that goal in what has been a thoughtful and strategic process to build a comprehensive football organization equivalent to the premier programs in the modern landscape. 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.

Over the next few months, we will conduct a national search for our new head coach. We will actively and patiently pursue a coach who will deliver on the championship aspirations and expectations we all share for our football program. With our storied history, our talented young roster, and the major investments we've made in the infrastructure of our football organization, I'm optimistic that we are better positioned right now than we have been at any other time in the past decade to recruit the best and right leader for us.

I'm counting on the USC community to step up its support of our players, unify as a family, and help show every potential coaching candidate and recruit that this is the greatest program in the country. Let's do what we do best and Fight On!