Helton has seemingly been on the hot seat for the last few seasons, so this move was not made solely on the basis of last weekend’s 42-28 loss to a Cardinal team that was a double-digit underdog. However, that result served as the proverbial last straw for the USC administration.
USC athletic director Mike Bohn announced the news on Twitter moments ago, calling Helton “one of the finest human beings I have met in this industry” but indicating that expectations for the program “would not be met without a change in leadership.”
Associate head coach/cornerbacks coach Donte Williams, who joined the Trojans in 2020, has been put in charge on an interim basis.
— Mike Bohn (@USC_mikebohn) September 13, 2021
Helton came on board at USC as an assistant in 2010 and took over the reins of the program from Steve Sarkisian midway through the 2015 season. In his first two seasons as the permanent head coach, Helton went 21-6 in 2016-17, earning trips to the Rose and Cotton Bowls.
However, since then, the Trojans have gone just 19-14. After opening the 2021 campaign up with a win over San Jose State, USC climbed to No. 14 in the AP poll, but followed that up by losing to Stanford.
The USC job remains a premier one in college football, so expect to hear some high-profile names attached to this opening.