Chris Claiborne leaving USC’s coaching staff for Arizona State

Chris Claiborne is leaving USC's coaching staff to coach linebackers at Arizona State.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
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When USC hired Chris Claiborne last spring, the former Trojan great was viewed as a superstar addition to the team’s quality control staff. As it turns out, USC wasn’t the only Pac-12 team that thought so.

Claiborne agreed Monday to become Arizona State’s linebackers coach, the Times has learned. The former All-American linebacker will leave USC for a full-time role in Tempe after spending less than a year on the Trojans staff.

A larger role for Claiborne on USC’s staff might have been within reach in the not-so-distant future. But defensive coordinator Todd Orlando currently bears the responsibility of coaching the Trojans linebackers. A Butkus Award winner at the position, Claiborne had been listed as an offensive quality control assistant during his short tenure at USC.


Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Domani Jackson, one of the highest-rated players in the 2022 football recruiting class, announced his commitment to USC on Saturday.

Jan. 23, 2021

It’s not the first time that Arizona State has poached a coveted member of USC’s support staff. Chris Hawkins spent the 2019 season as a grad assistant at USCbefore the Sun Devils offered him the position of defensive backs coach a year ago. Hawkins quickly established himself as an up-and-coming recruiter, earning a place on 247 Sports 30 under 30 list for recruiting.

Claiborne, is the third staff member to leave USC for another job within the past week. Tight ends coach John David Baker joined Lane Kiffin’s staff at Mississippi, where he added passing game coordinator responsibilities. Hayes Pullard, another former Trojans linebacker and quality control assistant, left USC for the New York Jets’ new staff.

Both Claiborne and Pullard were familiar faces to a frustrated USC fan base when they were brought on during a hiring spree last spring. Claiborne left his role as head coach at Calabasas High, where he was 17-6 in two seasons, to pursue collegiate coaching jobs last December.

It wasn’t long before USC swooped in to hire him. This week, Arizona State did the same, leaving USC with a third opening to fill on its football staff.