Athletic Director Mike Bohn stated, in a statement released on his Twitter Monday, that
Clay Helton fired as USC’s Head Soccer Coach.
“We gave all the resources required for the competition in the championships to our football team over the last two offseasons as I dedicated myself to USC,” Bohn said. “The additional resources have substantially raised our team’s performance expectations,
and it is already clear that these expectations are not fulfilled, despite improvements, until leadership changes.”
Following the catastrophic USC defeat to Stanford on Saturday,
the athletic administration was exposed to pressure to replace its head coach. The Trojans had been favored by 17.5 points, but had never been properly trained and unprepared.
But it would be dishonest to tell us that Week 2 was the first time Helton had been burned out in recent years. In the first year after the departure of Sam Darnold and his first losing season since 2000, USC was between 5 and 7 in 2018. The next year, the Trojans played 8-4 in the regular season, failed in the championship game of the Pac-12, and outclassed in the Holiday Bowl by Iowa. Last year, the Trojans went 5-0 regularly in the six-game season, short owing to the pandemic –
but three of the wins had unlikely late comings. In the Pac-12 chamber game they subsequently lost to Oregon, again another example of Trojan horsepower being short on the big stage, a recurring critique of Helton’s squad.
“I want to be very clear: our institution and its leaders dedicated to winning national titles and restoring glory to USC soccer,” said Bohn. “This choice is our next step in the process of building a complete soccer organization which is equal to the first programs of contemporary landscapes,
in which we are thinking and strategic. I embrace the huge responsibility I have to live up to our great history,
from our present and past players to the whole Trojan family. “
Bohn stated that the athletic administration would be searching for the next USC head coach worldwide.
Donte Williams will serve as interim head coach and cornerbacks coach while the search conducted. The top contender for the Pac-12 was Williams,
who came to USC from Oregon in early 2020, partly owing to his reputation as one of the finest recruiters in the Pac-12. In USC history, Williams was the first black head coach.
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“This season has only begun, and with this squad and this program, we have a chance to truly accomplish something spectacular,” Bohn wrote. “I am sure that Donte Williams, our interim head coach,
offers us a better chance of success for the rest of the season.
The defeat to Stanford on Saturday was not only a dismal upheaval, but to many,
it was a sign that it would not be different this season from the past several. This year’s schedule was a surprisingly easy one, and many Trojan supporters anticipated nothing less than a Pac-12. But this objective may be at stake,
and the possibility of the Trojans taking part in a college football playoff this season is already gone.
When the student department emptied in the third quarter,
the team gave the boos and the “Fire Helton” songs of some of the remaining fans. The athletics department realized that a substantial change was necessary,
not only to return to football but also to appease the Trojan family that had constantly felt abandoned during Helton’s tenure.
As USC’s head coach, Helton has amassed a record of 46–24 in seven seasons. He was on his contract for two years.
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