Multiple media reports confirmed Thursday that the USC football program plans to fill its defensive coordinator spot with former Cal Golden Bears defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
The university will announce the hiring of Pendergast on Friday, according to CBS Sports.
A USC spokesman declined comment on the reports.
Pendergast is an accomplished coach, with experience in both college and professional football. He was most recently the defensive coordinator at Cal, a position he held for the last three years. He was ousted as part of a major coaching haul at the end of this past season after the Golden Bears finished a disappointing 3-9. Before that, Pendergast served as the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals from 2004-09, helping the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl in 2009.
Pendergast also holds a connection with USC, as he spent one year as a defensive assistant for the Trojans in 1992. He’s an alumnus of another Pac-12 school, the University of Arizona.
The Trojans had been searching for a new defensive coordinator after Monte Kiffin resigned amid rampant criticism regarding the Trojan’s subpar defensive season. The Trojans’ struggles were highlighted this season against the Oregon Ducks, as the defense gave up 62 points and more than 700 yards of total offense.
Pendergast’s hiring should bring a major overhaul to the Trojans’ defense, including a potential change of scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4 system. Pendergast has utilized the 3-4, which uses an extra linebacker, throughout his career. At Cal, that defensive scheme once held the fast-paced Oregon offense to 15 points in 2010. The Bears led the Pac-12 in total defense for the first two years of Pendergast’s tenure.
The Trojans were also reportedly interested in Oregon Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, but sources told The Oregonian that Aliotti declined USC’s offer to join the staff.