USC has finally made the decision to fire Clay Helton. What was his record as the head coach of the Trojans?
Following a frustrating and shocking loss to the Stanford Cardinal, the USC Trojans have made the move to fire Clay Helton.
Helton, who has served as USC’s head coach for the better part of a decade now, was initially hired as part of Lane Kiffin’s staff. When Kiffin was relieved of his job in 2013, Helton was retained once Steve Sarkisian was hired. But after Sarkisian departed Los Angeles, the Trojans handed things over to Helton, in 2015.
He’s been the head coach ever since, but Helton has underachieved despite having an abundance of resources.
This is a program that once competed for conference and national championships. The Trojans haven’t done the former consistently over Helton’s tenure and they haven’t done the latter at all under his watch.
USC football: What was Clay Helton’s record as head coach of the Trojans?
In Pac-12 play, the Trojans managed to go 36-13 with Helton as their head coach. In total, Helton compiled a 46-24 overall win-loss record as the head coach of the USC Trojans. One of those wins came during the 2013 season as he served as the interim coach for USC’s bowl game.
Throughout his tenure, Helton only won 10 or more games twice, in 2016 when USC went 10-3 and then in 2017 when the Trojans went 11-3. USC followed that up by going a disappointing 5-7 in 2018. The Trojans never bounced back enough under Helton after that, going 14-7 with him at the helm from 2019 onward.
The Trojans only managed to win the Pac-12 once under Helton’s leadership with that conference title happening in 2017. They won the Pac-12 South once in 2020 and then earned a share of it back in 2015, Helton’s first season leading things.
All in all, a 46-24 record is respectable and would be more than enough success for most schools. However, USC has higher expectations and aspirations and that record, combined with the lack of success in competing for Pac-12 titles, just wasn’t enough to save Helton’s job.