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USC football: Special teams coach John Baxter will not be retained

John Baxter, USC’s special teams coach the last four seasons, said he was told by new Coach Steve Sarkisian that he would not be part of his Trojans staff.

Baxter said he met with Sarkisian earlier this week and was told there was not a scenario that he would remain with the staff.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done collectively and proud of the work I’ve done at USC,” Baxter said Thursday night. “I enjoyed every day working there. I’m proud of what was accomplished on the field and academically.”

Baxter, who coached for 13 seasons at Fresno State before coming to USC, was responsible for implementing an “Academic Gameplan” designed to help players stay on track toward graduation.

In a meeting with Sarkisian and Athletic Director Pat Haden before the Las Vegas Bowl, several parents of Trojans players expressed support for retaining Baxter.

USC ranked second nationally in blocked punts and fourth in blocked kicks this season.

Sarkisian is expected to complete his staff in the next few weeks.

He has hired three coaches from his former Washington staff – Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon -- and will retain offensive coordinator Clay Helton and receivers coach Tee Martin.

Nansen has coached special teams, defensive line and running backs. Sarkisian has not announced what he will be responsible for with the Trojans.

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