Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
It has been a trying season for USC. They had to deal with the pre-season drunken speech of Steve Sarkisian and then his mid-season firing. They also dealt with some unexpected losses this season and speculation as to who their future head coach would be. But a bright spot has been interim head coach Clay Helton who has been with the program since 2010 and is extremely popular with the players. On Monday USC Athletic Director announced that Helton would have the interim tag removed and would be named the full-time coach. Haden announced the move during a team meeting and the reaction from the USC players is priceless.
If you only looked at the reaction of the players, you would think that the team just won the Pac-12 Championship or the Rose Bowl. That celebration was on par with Ohio State after defeating Michigan and Virginia Tech after winning Frank Beamer’s final game. But I was a little disappointed (and surprised) that there was no dabbin’ in the video. That’s become akin to college sports celebrations as champagne is to pro sports celebrations.
But of course any moment of jubilation still has some dark clouds hanging over it and these came courtesy of Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. Right after the move was announced, Feldman reported that some former USC alums weren’t too happy with the move:
You have to give credit to Pat Haden for making a risky move by going with a good coach instead of just a sexy name. Chip Kelly, Jack Del Rio, and Jeff Fisher were all names thrown out there by the media as possible replacements but Haden listened to the players and stuck by his guy. Helton already has the backing of his boss, the players, and the recruits; now he just has to restore the winning tradition back at USC and he will surely get the support of the alums as well.