USC makes hiring splash, names Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator

USC announced on Wednesday that former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been hired as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He will fill the gap left by former offensive coordinator Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis.

“We are very excited to welcome Kliff to the Trojan Family,” head coach Clay Helton said. “With the talent on our team, along with his leadership and coaching, I truly believe that we can take our offense to new heights.”

Helton emphasized Kingsbury’s “brilliant offensive mind,” with his offenses consistently finishing among the nation’s top programs.

The announcement came amid rumors of Kingsbury having offers from professional teams and collegiate head coaching gigs. Though reports that he had agreed to terms with USC came out last week, the school did not confirm his hiring until Wednesday.

After a 5-7 season in 2018, USC returned Helton but released Martin, defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze and defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford, while Ellis left the program

Helton took over play-calling duties from Martin after losing to Arizona State on Oct. 27 at the Coliseum. While many critics still called for Helton’s firing, his return implied he would need to make stellar hires to turn the program around.  

In 2013, Kingsbury was hired as the head coach of Texas Tech and spent six seasons at the helm of his alma mater. At the time he was hired, Klingsbury was the second-youngest coach of a Power Five school in history at the age of 36.

In his final season with the Red Raiders, Kingsbury posted a 5-7 record after opening the season 5-2. He was fired after three consecutive losing seasons, despite notching a slightly-below .500 six-year record with the team at 35-40.

Kingsbury had two years remaining in his contract at Texas Tech with a $4.2 million buyout.

In 2012, Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M, where he coached Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The Aggies were the only offense ranked in the top 15 of the NCAA in rushing, passing, total offense and scoring offense at the same time.

Kingsbury has also coached future NFL quarterbacks Case Keenum, Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes.

Kingsbury began his coaching career in 2008 at the University of Houston as a quality control monitor. When Houston’s offensive coordinator left the program, Kingsbury became co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he eventually took over play-calling and earned 2011 Offensive Coordinator of the Year honors after the offense averaged 50 points and 600 offensive yards per game.