USC signs Clay Helton to contract extension through 2023

USC Coach Clay Helton, center, Ronald Jones II, left, and Viane Talamaivao celebrate the team's 42-24 win against Stanford, as they walk off the field on Sept. 9, 2017.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

USC has signed Clay Helton to a contract extension through the 2023 season, the school announced Tuesday.

Helton led the Trojans to an 11-3 record in his second season as coach, including a victory in the Pac-12 Conference Championship game, earning USC its first Pac-12 title since 2008.

The season ended with a 24-7 loss to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

“We have lofty goals at USC and Clay can get us to those goals,” athletic director Lynn Swann said in a statement. “He has shown that he can lead our team with integrity and stability and that he has the ability to win conference and national championships.


“I am happy with the job Clay has done so far.”

Helton, 45, overcame a turbulent start in 2017, losing three of his first four games, to lead USC to a 10-3 finish, including a win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

Helton is the only coach in Trojans history to win 10 games in his first two seasons.

“Coaching at USC has been the most special opportunity of my life,” Helton said in a statement. “And I am so pleased to continue the journey toward championships here.”

Helton twice served as USC’s interim coach before he was promoted into the permanent role.

He served as interim coach in 2013 following the departure of Ed Orgeron and led USC to a victory in the Las Vegas bowl.

Helton also was named interim coach in 2015 after the firing of Steve Sarkisian.

He went 5-2 before former athletic director Pat Haden named him as permanent coach. The Trojans finished the season with losses to Stanford in the Pac-12 title game and Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl.

USC did not disclose financial terms of Helton’s extension.

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