USC completes 2022 football coaching staff

New Head Coach Lincoln Riley answers questions at his introductory press conference.
Head Coach Lincoln Riley brought some of his staff at Oklahoma to USC, including defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, assistant Head Coach Dennis Simmonds, and outside linebacker coach Roy Manning. (Simon Park | Daily Trojan)

After Athletic Director Mike Bohn announced the hire of former-Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley, the next step in the program’s rebuilding process was putting together an elite coaching staff to surround Riley. 

Over a month after the head coaching hire, USC announced its full coaching staff. Here are the names and their notable contributions to their previous jobs. 

Assistant head coach/outside wide receivers coach: Dennis Simmons

Dennis Simmons will be replacing Keary Colbert as the new wide receivers coach and assistant head coach. In his seven years at Oklahoma under Riley, he coached an elite crop of players including Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown. He was also voted one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters in 2019. 

Simmons’ recruiting skills and playoff experience will be a welcomed addition to the USC coaching staff. 

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach: Josh Henson

Replacing Graham Harrell as the offensive coordinator will be Josh Henson, the former offensive line coach at Texas A&M. Henson’s 2021 offensive line unit was highly ranked in the nation in pass protection efficiency, finishing 21st in the nation in sack rate. In 2020, the Aggie offensive line was nominated for the Joe Moore Award for the most outstanding offensive line unit in college football. 

While playcalling was previously handled by Harrell, Henson will likely cede the responsibility to Riley, given his experience calling plays at Oklahoma. 

Defensive coordinator: Alex Grinch

Following Riley to USC is Alex Grinch, the former defensive coordinator at Oklahoma. Grinch has experience in the Pac-12, coaching at Washington State from 2015 to 2017 under Mike Leach. Grinch produced five NFL draft picks in his two years at Oklahoma and a Sooner defense that ranked third in the nation.

Defensive backs coach: Donte Williams 

Donte Williams, who served as interim head coach after Clay Helton’s firing, will be retained and will return to his former role as defensive backs coach. Williams is considered one of the best recruiters in the Pac-12, with players like 5-star recruit Domani Jackson citing Williams as the main reason he is coming to USC.

Williams has over a decade of experience as a defensive backs coach, which should serve the Trojans well in the upcoming seasons. 

Outside linebackers coach: Roy Manning

Roy Manning will also follow Riley to USC as the outside linebackers coach. Before his years at Oklahoma, Manning was the special teams coordinator at UCLA, improving their special teams from 65th to 20th in the 2018 season. Manning has experience coaching extremely talented players at OU, including Tre Brown who was drafted to the NFL. Manning also spent three years in the NFL himself, playing for five different teams.

Inside linebackers coach: Brian Odom

Brian Odom has spent the last three years at Oklahoma, becoming one of many pieces of the Trojan staff with experience working under Riley. Odom’s defensive line at Oklahoma ranked 24th nationally in rushing defense in 2021 and fourth in opponent third-down conversion percentage. Along with Grinch, Odom also has experience at Washington State, serving as a quality control assistant. 

Odom will look to use his experience in the Big-12, containing some of the best offenses in college football, to lead the Trojan defensive line. 

Inside wide receivers coach: Dave Nichol  

Dave Nichol spent the last two seasons at Mississippi State, after spending a few years at Washington State with Odom and Grinch. At Mississippi State, Nichol ran the air raid offense — USC’s current main offensive strategy — and served under Mike Leach, who has overseen some of the most successful passing schemes in the country.

Nichol will adopt a Trojan offense that ranked first in the Pac-12 in passing yards despite a 4-8 season. 

Defensive line coach: Shaun Nua  

Shaun Nua adds to the Pac-12 experience of the USC coaching staff as a former defensive line coach at Arizona State. After coaching at Arizona State, Nua spent three years at Michigan. During his tenure, Michigan was ranked 21st nationally in sacks in 2019 and played in the 2021 college football playoffs. 

Nua is known for being very committed to his players but also tough on them when he needs to be. USC’s defensive line will need revamping next season, after losing key pieces such as defensive lineman Nick Figueroa and linebacker Drake Jackson to the NFL Draft. 

Running backs coach: Kiel McDonald  

USC recently hired Kiel McDonald, the former Utah running back coach. During McDonald’s time at Utah, the Utes led the Pac-12 in rushing yards and touchdowns in two of the past three seasons. He also coached Zack Moss, Utah’s all-time leading rusher. 

McDonald is known as an impressive recruiter, adding to an already stacked group of recruiters. 

Tight ends coach: Zach Hanson

Zach Hanson joined the Trojans’ staff in December 2021 as the tight ends coach. In 2019, he was the senior offensive analyst at Oklahoma when they advanced to the playoff semifinal Peach Bowl. Since then, he spent the last two seasons as the offensive line coach at Tulsa. 

At 33 years old, Hanson is the youngest coach on the USC staff.