Not even a full day has passed since the Trojans fell to Stanford in the Pac-12 title game, and head coach Clay Helton is already making major changes to his coaching staff. On Sunday, Helton announced the firings of four assistant coaches including defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, defensive line coach Chris Wilson, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward and offensive line coach Bob Connelly.
“Today I did make the decision to make some staff changes,” Helton said on a conference call Sunday night.
Helton, who had his interim tag removed last Monday, said that he expects all other coaches, including wide receivers coach Tee Martin, linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, running backs coach Johnny Nansen and quarterbacks/ tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo, to be retained on staff going into next season.
The assistant coaches that were dismissed will not coach in or leading up to the bowl game, according to Helton, and he said that he has a plan in place to fill the voids with the team’s current staff.
Helton also announced that he will not call plays next season, which means that USC will now be in the market for an offensive coordinator. This way, Helton, who was handed the play calling duties by Steve Sarkisian this year, said that he can concentrate on being the team’s CEO.
“You get the opportunity to be the head coach of USC one time,” Helton said.
As for the defensive side of the ball, which now has three coaching openings, Helton said he has not hired any new assistants, though he will be looking at all avenues. He would not confirm whether he had spoken to former defensive line coach Ed Orgeron or defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast about returning to USC.
The Trojans found out earlier on Sunday that they will be heading down south to San Diego for the second straight year to play Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 3o.