Former assistant Greg Burns rejoins the USC football staff as secondary coach


USC football fans who are hoping for success reminiscent of the Pete Carroll era will likely be pleased with Clay Helton’s latest addition to his staff.

Helton announced Monday that Greg Burns, who coached the USC secondary during the Trojans’ national championship seasons of 2003 and 2004, will return to USC in the same role.

Burns, 46, replaces Ronnie Bradford, who was fired after this season.


During his time at USC from 2002 to 2005, Burns coached 10 future NFL players, including Troy Polamalu and Terrell Thomas.

Burns left USC to coach the defensive backs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006. After one season, he returned to the college ranks, where he has coached at Kansas State (2007), Arizona State (2008-11), Purdue (2012), Massachusetts (2013), California (2014-16) and Oregon State (2018).

Burns’ hire means there’s one vacancy left on Helton’s staff after he began the off-season with five spots to fill. Helton has hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Chad Kauha’aha’a (from Boise State) as defensive line coach, Mike Jinks (former head coach at Bowling Green) as running backs coach and now Burns.

The remaining vacancy would appear to be a wide receivers coach.

Twitter: @BradyMcCollough