USC Sports

The Clay Helton file: Biographical details about USC’s new football coach

The Clay Helton file

Born: June 24, 1972, in Gainesville, Fla.

Childhood: Helton’s father, Kim, was a college and NFL assistant and Clay grew up around coaches such as Doug Dickey at Florida, Howard Schnellenberger at Miami. As a boy, he played catch with Miami quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar and Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon.

High school: Helton was a baseball player until he arrived at Clements High in Sugar Land, Texas. He played quarterback and was the varsity starter his senior season. “I was lot better on the chalkboard than I was on the field,” he told The Times in 2013.


College: Helton played two seasons at Auburn under coach Pat Dye, then transferred to Houston after his father was hired to coach the Cougars before the 1993 season. He was a backup quarterback for two seasons. He earned a degree in mathematics and interdisciplinary science.

Coaching: Helton began his career in 1995 as graduate assistant at Duke under Fred Goldsmith. He was a full-time running backs coach the next season and then coached running backs for his father at Houston for three seasons. He became Memphis’ running backs coach in 2000, tutoring players such as DeAngelo Williams, and stayed in the program for 10 seasons, coaching receivers for four seasons and working as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator the last three. Memphis earned five bowl invitations during Helton’s tenure. He joined Arkansas State’s staff as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator after the 2009 season, but he was there for only a few months before joining Lane Kiffin’s USC staff as quarterbacks coach before the 2010 season.

Family: Helton and his wife Angela have three children, sons Reid and Turner and daughter Aubrey. Helton’s brother, Tyson, is offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky.

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter