Trojan secondary coach resigns in wake of reports
USC secondary coach Willie Mack Garza has resigned, citing personal issues, the school announced Thursday.
âI stepped down today from my coaching duties at USC,â Garza said in a statement. âI have some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address. I wish the Trojans the best and I am sorry I wonât be with them in what I know will be a very successful season.â
Garza was not at USCâs mid-morning practice early Thursday, while it was in the midst of final preparations for Saturdayâs season opener against Minnesota.
Though the school declined to comment further, multiple reports released Thursday, including one from CBS Sports, said Garzaâs resignation from his position directly stemmed from his involvement in an NCAA investigation centering on former scout Willie Lyles.
Lyles, along with his lawyers, met with NCAA investigators Tuesday, when he disclosed that he had a previous working relationship with Garza. USC officials learned of Lylesâ connection to Garza on Wednesday, according to CBS Sports.
The NCAAâs investigation of Lylesâ scouting services, which are allegedly connected to LSU and Oregon, is still ongoing.
Serving as the defensive backs coach at Tennessee during the 2009 season, Garza arrived at USC along with coach Lane Kiffin, who accepted the position in January 2010.
Garzaâs relationship with Lyles, however, is said to predate his time at Tennessee.
Former USC safety Sammy Knight, who played in the NFL for 12 seasons and has been on staff as graduate assistant, is expected to replace Garza on an interim basis.