Letters: USC keeps Clay Helton and readers keep fighting on

Jim Thompson illustrates the season UCLA football had.
(Jim Thompson / For the Times)
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So if Mike Bohn is served a poorly prepared, half-baked dinner at a restaurant, does he compliment the chef and make another reservation for the following week?

Michelle Money

Manhattan Beach


Seems to me with his decision to keep Coach Helton, Mike Bohn proved that mediocre USC athletic directors are not always past Trojan football greats! Doing the same thing and expecting different results does not define a winning coach ... or a strong athletic director, for that matter!

Judy Thomsen



How dare USC retain a head football coach with integrity, when someone of Urban Meyer’s ability is out there, just waiting to win games at all cost?


USC fans once again prove they are the worst.

Mike McNiff

Costa Mesa


The one positive about Mike Bohn’s disastrous decision to bring back Clay Helton is that there are going to be about 20,000-30,000 more people attending their kids’ AYSO games next fall.

Jim Patton

Manhattan Beach


I never used to be a USC fan, being as I am a graduate of that football factory down the road at San Diego State.

But in the face of all the nonstop negativity, all the bitching and moaning regarding the retention of a decent man like Coach Helton, put me down as a supporter of Helton.

Jim B. Parsons



As a 1965 graduate of USC, I have endured almost 54 years of teasing about USC being a football factory where academics take a back seat.

Meanwhile, USC has evolved into a highly respected academic institution, but the aura remains. Athletic director Bohn and President Folt have made exactly the right decision. Hopefully, the point will be made that academics come first and football is a fun, but secondary, feature of college life. And that loyal, upstanding and hard-working employees will be retained.

Noel Park

Rancho Palos Verdes


Memo to Mike Bohn: In keeping Helton, USC did something great Trojans teams would never voluntarily do: We punted.


Gary B. Ross

Beverly Hills


After learning of Mike Bohn’s incompetent decision to retain Clay Helton, I now know what Mary Ann, Ginger and the Professor felt like trying to get off that island every week. Fight On, Gilligan!

Mark Gallucci

Garden City, N.Y.


P.T. Barnum was right. There is a sucker born every minute. USC season-ticket holders have spent thousands of dollars in renovation fees for the Coliseum. In return, the university thumbs its nose at us by retaining Clay Helton. The “S” on the shirt of USC season ticket holders definitely stands for “suckers.”

Dick Bank

Los Angeles


I’m not sure whether the photo of Clay Helton on page one of the sports section on Thursday was prescient or metaphoric, seemingly portraying the coach as leading a parade ... without a baton! Is the parade going the other way? Or is it his team that’s going the other way?

Steve Arvin

Loso Angeles


LA’s Sports Czar (Bill Plaschke) needs to get a grip. USC is trying to fix so many issues of integrity and honor and football is just one. I mean let’s not go back to the Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush era. USC does not need to be a great football school and good university. It needs to be a great university with a good football team. The USC administration seems to be moving to restore what has been lost. Give them a chance.

Paul Atkinson



It is not at all important, Arash Markazi, for the USC president or the AD to have their finger on the pulse of the fan base. In truth, it would be a mistake.

After all of the problems that the university has been through recently they need to keep their finger on the pulse of the ethics of their school. The president is in charge of the whole school and the AD of some two dozen programs, many of which have won national championships. The football team’s fans ought to be the least of their worries.


Kevin Minihan

Los Angeles


The way I see it, the issue is less about USC wanting Clay Helton back in 2020 — unfathomably — or even the reasons why he was retained, but rather, who becomes the Trojans’ interim head coach after the opening game loss to Alabama when the cacophony of negative noise reaches unprecedented decibels?

Steve Ross

Beverly Hills


I was surprised USC decided to continue the mediocrity of the football program with the retention of Clay Helton. I anticipate huge buyer’s remorse when Alabama blows our doors off in the opener next year. Maybe Bohn will then realize the disparity in programs.

Looking forward to more Who Cares Bowls.

Steve Owen

Kelseyville, Calif.


To all high school, college and professional team leaders in all sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, rugby, and whatever is left), if you ever need a head coach that knows it all, hire Bill Plaschke. He knows it all. Just ask him.

Russell Morgan


We haven’t forgotten UCLA

Hmm ... 38,000 people at the Rose Bowl for the UCLA-Cal game. Put another way: 54,000 empty seats. Just a thought, with the Chargers moving to SoFi Stadium next season, Dignity Health Stadium will be available. The Bruins could fill those 27,000 seats for every game ... and it’s right down the 405. Imagine the “8 clap” excitement at that cozy stadium. Carson, the football home of the Mighty Bruins!

Jeff Corliss

Rancho Mirage


Chip Kelly’s says he’s excited? If I am Chip Kelly and my second consecutive losing season is over and I am getting $23.3 million over five years with additional perks, and my job is safe for now, and my defensive co-ordinator will likely take the heat for this past season’s dreadful performance and I can’t coach yet another embarrassing loss for at least another nine months and I am preparing to welcome another batch of so-called talented recruits, I’d be excited too!

Lawrence M. Kates

Los Angeles


Chip Kelly says he isn’t worried about the perception of his team, just reality. True perception comes through the senses: I see a disorganized team on the field; I hear catcalls from the stands; I smell grilled ribeye from maturing tailgaters; I feel my butt getting numb in the seat; and I taste bile when I think of two more years of this chutzpah machine.


Mario Valvo



Yes fewer people will attend a UCLA game at the Rose Bowl because UCLA’s team is below par, and yes the UCLA-Cal game was played without a meaningful outcome, but attendance at many college football games will be low so long as television dictates the day and the time of the games.

In the old days, when college football was a spectator sport rather than a television show, games were played on a Saturday afternoon at 1 or 2 p.m. I used to attend those UCLA games at the Coliseum and later at the Rose Bowl and win or lose, I enjoyed them all. Get me to drive to Pasadena late Saturday night, let alone on a Friday night, to head for home at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. — not a chance.

Martin A. Brower

Corona del Mar

Tough to top

The headline (”Resistible force meets movable object”) was a clever and funny way to describe the not-exactly-titanic UCLA-Cal clash.

You are are keeping up a nice tradition of literacy and humor, and maintaining a grown-up perspective on the often-corrupt and boring college sports and the over-praised and overfed “student-athletes” who play them. I extend my thanks.

Stephen C. Murray, Ph.D


Nothing new here

“New redshirt rule goes against everything college football has stood for” is your intro to the University of Houston’s football strategy.

Haven’t college sports constantly veered away from what they are supposed to be? Graduate students play varsity because of a legal technicality. Everybody favors paying players and operating college teams as minor league franchises for the pros. One-and-done is OK. Coaches are paid enormous salaries. And cheating, of course.


Teams are loaded with foreign recruits, not only UCLA’s basketball team, but small sports like golf teams: three’s the maximum and three is what they have. College sports should stand for students participating, not alumni rooting for someone paid to come here and perform.

What’s your surprise?

Joel Athey

Valley Village

Dried up

Philip Rivers is a lock for the Hall of Fame. Good attendance is the main criterion, correct?

Mike Kvammen

South Pasadena


I firmly believe the San Diego-Los Angeles Chargers should move to Blythe instead of Inglewood.

The club has the line, the receivers and the running backs, but Old Man Rivers has stopped flowing. Simply too many close losses

Fred Wallin

Westlake Village

Where’s the barrier?

Perhaps the reason there are so few black professional baseball players is there are so few really good black baseball players.

Just like Division I colleges where diversity is king, their sports teams are dominated by the very best players available. Almost all Division I basketball teams are dominated by blacks as are a great preponderance of their football players. I expect if you look at most Division 1 baseball teams you will see a preponderance of whites.


Professional sports does not care what color or nationality you are as long as you are the very best talent available.

Unlike academics, where you can manipulate statistics to achieve diversity, there is nothing to manipulate when evaluating talent in athletics. Either you are good enough or you are not.

No Division I athletic program or professional sports team says we need more blacks, white, Asians, Hispanics, males or females. They just want the very best talent regardless of diversity.

Jim Kussman



When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, all of the owners, players, and managers were either Anglo or Hispanic. There were no African-Americans in any position in the sport at all. Now, look who’s the boss in charge of the Dodgers. It’s a black man and he’s running the show!

At present, there may be no African-American players on the Dodger roster, but the manager is black and that may actually be more important. Good players of all ethnic groups come and go, but maybe Dave Roberts’ position in the power structure of the MLB is more significant.

Mark Walker

Yorba Linda

Paradise lost

I’m so sorry for the Paradise High football team’s loss in the CIF Northern Section Championship game November 30.


I learned of and have been following the team and their story in the ongoing series of articles about them by Bill Plaschke. They are an amazing group of guys and coaches who had an amazing season, and nothing can ever take that away from them. Winners all, in my book.

Janet Spaulding


It’s dangerous

In his searching column on football and its role in the tragic death of Kevin Ellison, Dylan Hernandez touches upon the aspect of American life that could prove to be the ultimate death of the game as currently played. “We Americans are enamored with violence, so long as that violence isn’t directed at us,” Hernandez avers and few would argue with that.

Would that he had added that we also object to violence directed at those we love. One suspects that fewer mothers and fathers, given what is now known of the risks inherent in the game, will consent to their youngsters playing football. When that well runs dry, it’s “game over!”

Skip Nevell

Los Angeles

Laker lovers

He’s past his prime. ... He has lost his hunger for championships. ... He chose L.A. for show biz not basketball. . .

Everything I said about LeBron James, I take back.

He is one heck of a player, and I’m glad he’s a Laker!

Anthony Moretti



It’s happy holidays for the Lakers! No complaining or whining as they coast along winning game after game! Did you Laker fans forget something? Remember the demonized Rob Pelinka? I’m pretty sure he’s the one who put this current roster in place! Mr. Pelinka has been very quiet lately; reminds me of Jerry West when he creates a monster and sits back quietly in the shadows.

By the way, now Magic Johnson is free to mentor Ben Simmons! Everybody wins! Ho!Ho! Ho!

David Waldowski

Laguna Woods

Name game

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Angels, who made the big announcement they’re moving to Anaheim!


Richard Turnage



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