Some Non-USC Coaching Moves

There are reports Ken Norton Jr. will be the new defensive coordinator for the Seahawks. That means Pete Carroll will really be the defensive coordinator, which is what he always prefers.

Meanwhile, former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze reportedly is interviewing at Alabama. That is how Nick Saban works. He doesn’t mind hiring former head coaches for coordinator jobs. Can you imagine USC doing that?


    Gomer couldn’t get a high school head coach to be on his staff

    • USCDAN1986

      Helton’s days are numbered.. Why would you want to work for him.

      • Trojan96

        When will the move take place?

        • USCDAN1986

          Not sure.. Thinking after signing day in feb.

          • San Diego trojan

            Dan, can you imagine the national backlash if that were true. That USC would demote or fire their current head coach after he just went 10-3 and 11-3 back to back? Now I know clay has his faults, but who would ever want to coach USC in the future, if they knew this could happen to them. I would have wanted Del Rio a couple years ago, but not like this. There would be no way he would stay on staff after losing his title. I think the whole thing would be embarrassing

          • Jack B

            Del Rio is a .500 NFL coach. Expecting him to run back-to-back 10-3, 11-3, top 10 ranked seasons with not one iota of college coaching experience is an intriguing leap of faith. If we make a switch, I sure as heck hope it’s to someone who absolutely knows how to win. That said, I think Helton was guaranteed the 2018 season mid-season, when he and Swann had a big talk after the ND game.

          • Lunderful

            Jack, Pete Carroll’s NFL record was mediocre at best, followed by his historic college record. JDR could be in the same mold.

        • Chris

          Same day we land 5 star linebacker bobby Boucher.

          • usc fan

            MY MAMA said NO foosball.

    • David Keeling

      It appears that is very true due to his inaction in finding replacements as we speak. And when he does find someone, it is usually some stiff that no other Division one school would hire. And Lynn Swann puts up with it.

  • Chris

    If usc brought in Hugh freeze, SW would be losing his mind about bringing in a guy who was shady and brought sanctions to his former school. Now because Saban does it, its a genius move?

    • peter

      Saban also has shown a quick hire of fired USC head coaches this decade. Kinfin + Sark+ staying home now with Freeze? . No fear Saban. The Metropolitan City of Tuscaloosa and all its sports teams and fans, seems to be a bit more progessive than metro LA area.

      • steveg

        We talking about the same Nick Saban that started the wrong QB all season and had to bring in the right one to win the NC? lol

    • Ben Factor

      Scott, I know you are a shoot-from-the-hip blogger.

      But it would help a lot if you wouuld please prepare a list of the salaries paid to each respective USC asst., and then prepare the same thing for salaries paid to each respective asst. at Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia.

      Then make a chart of the annual television receipts of each of each of those respective universities, along with the average attendance at each home game, and the average ticket price.

      I’ll be you could hire a student intern from the business school or the communications department to help you with the research.

      I suspect that USC is at a major disadvantage regarding its television revenue, which likely impacts its FB payroll.

      But maybe not. USC has a strong history/tradition, it’s a materially better academic university than most of those listed above, and it’s well-situated in a densely populated area.

      Still, if its revenues lag too far behind its competitors, that will inhibit its freedom to pick and choose coaches freely.
      It will have to find big money from fans and donors, or it will struggle to keep pace with those programs.

      It’s not fun to think about such things, for those of us who have followed USC football since childhood. But that seems like the first group of questions for you to look into, rather than to single out why USC has not interviewed Hugh Freeze.

  • Old Trojans never die

    Pete is astute in hiring yes men, but he also knows he has a qualified coach working for him.

  • Burak Uslu

    It is nauseating to follow the USC coaching changes and reading about the lack of physical practices. I hope my instincts are wrong…

  • Jack B

    Why would Nick Saban be afraid of anything in the college game?
    He’s the greatest. Plus, he runs through assts and coordinators like crap through a goose. He considers everyone, because he’s got his pick and he’s always in need.

    So now we get this SW newsflash: Helton isn’t Saban, Well, SW will never be Murray, Malamud, Schrader, Hall, Durslag, even Plaschke… or a few hundred other sportswriters who could actually write and cover sports.

    • Sebastian Lane

      Spot on. Good post.

  • LamontRaymond

    Hugh Freeze? The dude sucks….

  • San Diego trojan

    Last week it was reported in the times that ken norton was hired by the niners as inside linebackers coach. I guess it was easy to get out of that one. What happened to Kris Richard?

  • schammer47

    The first announcement USC’s Ed Orgeron made when he was named Head Coach, was to offer USC’s OC job to Jeff Tedford, recently released Cal Head Coach. Coach O made the offer but Coach Tedford refused. SW, We all should know that being able to hire a successful College Head Coach for an assistant coaching job is not likely to happen. Smart choice by Coach O, I must say.

    • marvienna

      This is completely false. Coach O never offered Tedford.

      NCAA regulations in 2013 permitted a head coach and nine full – time assistants. Once Kiffin was fired at LAX and Coach O made interim HC, that left one spot open. Coach O used that spot to hire his mentor Pete Jenkins as DL coach to replace himself. Even getting Jenkins hired was a struggle with the NCAA before they finally relented. Coach O was not going to use the one last assistant coach spot on defense to hire an offensive guy.

      The NCAA has recently approved a regulation permitting a tenth assistant coach on CFB teams. How Helton is going to use that spot is still to be decided.

      • JustOwns

        Case closed.

        • schammer47

          Case closed.

      • schammer47

        marvienna, It is entirely possible that Coach Helton, not Coach O, was the one who asked Jeff Tedford to be the Trojan OC. The request for Tedford was printed in my Texas Newspaper Sports Section, so it went Nation Wide. Let be check Wikipedia. Marv, You are most likely 100% correct. My error.

  • Clay Russell

    Looks like Saban is getting good deals on distressed properties and that’s one way to go.

  • Sandy Underpants

    Imagine USC’s head coach making a substantial coaching hire? That would liawally explode my bwains.

  • jim

    No, I can’t imagine SC doing that. That’s why I have a hard time believing SC will ever win another Nattie. They want to hire an on-the-job trainee at minimum wage head coach and hope they get lucky and get the next Bear Bryant. Maybe UCLA dishing out all that money for Chip Kelly was a good thing. If UCLA becomes a powerhouse and starts to trounce SC every year and challenge for the national championship, maybe then the fans and donors will start to demand that SC invest more money into the program. I still say that we will regret the day Mr. Haden passed over Chris Petersen for Sark. He’ll win a national championship at Washington soon. What a deal that was for Washington. They were able to unload a mediocre coach that they would probably have fired anyway and got a great coach in his place.

    • Jack B

      Petersen didn’t want to come to USC. Get your facts straight. The job was his if he wanted it.

      • 4STP

        Absolutely true. Haden had told Petersen he was going to be very involved in the daily operation of the football program. Petersen said no thanks. He wasn’t interested in being micro-managed nor having Haden roaming the sidelines talking to officials.

        • gotroy22

          Sark had no problem with Haden’s drunken sideline antics at the Stanford game.

          • Lunderful

            I remember that episode. Is it confirmed that Pat was half in the bag at the time?

      • Bob Pace

        That is the abolutely opposite of what happened. Hayden actually sabotaged Petersen’s meeting with the donors. That is when Petersen walked.

        • Jack B

          Go ahead and dream on that Petersen wanted the USC job if it makes you feel better. Ya, sure. Truth is, Petersen used USC to get the job he really wanted, UW, and he knew all along, like many of us did in fact, that Sark was just itching to get out of Seattle and back to L.A. He’s a very smart man. He got exactly what he wanted in a city he always liked much, much more than L.A.

      • jim

        I agree, after 2 interviews with Pat Haden where Haden did everything that he could to convince Petersen that he didn’t “FIT” at SC, then yes, Petersen, at that point, decided to look somewhere else. But originally, he did want the job. Why interview twice for a job that you don’t want? As far as facts are concerned, not too many people know the facts…..Haden, Petersen and a few others. Neither one of us know the facts because we were not at those interviews. The A.D. at Washington who eventually hired Petersen wrote an interesting article where he told why they hired him and we didn’t. He said they just told him “we think you are a great coach who can win a national championship….how can we help you do that”, whereas Haden just started hitting CP with a bunch of hoops that he had to jump through to see if he “FIT” at SC. That’s why when they interviewed CP next year after Washington had upset SC and asked him how he liked coaching at Washington, his answer was “it’s all about FIT”. You say “the job was his if he wanted it”. I don’t think that the job was ever his or anyone else’s. Haden had already made up his mind on Sark long before those interviews. The interviews were window dressing to make it look like he really was looking for the best coach.

        • Jack B

          My point stands, completely. Haden didn’t pass over Petersen for Sark, like you said. Petersen didn’t want the job and he turned it down. You say it was all because of Haden. Petersen also always had serious misgivings about living in Los Angeles and dealing with the USC situation as it stood, which you conveniently overlook.

          Haden hadn’t made up his mind on Sark before interviews. That’s all pure speculation on your part and there isn’t a shred of evidence to support it. You make it sound like bringing in Petersen was just a big silly waste-of-time facade for Haden so he could slip in 7-win Sark. Ya, right. That’s laughable. You must think Petersen’s pretty dumb to let himself get used like that, especially since he didn’t really want the USC job anyway. He was just testing the waters for the first time in forever.

          I personally strongly wanted Petersen for the USC job and never wanted Sark for a split second. But Petersen had an offer from Haden and turned him down for what he considered a better opportunity. I have no doubt Petersen knew full well Sark would get the job when he expressed his sincere doubts about his fit to Haden and he knew the Husky job would open it. He then immediately took it. If you really want a job, you don’t approach USC like Petersen did, with cold feet right off the bat.

          In the final analysis, Petersen better get with it and start winning. In 4 years, he’s only 23-13 in the weak P12 at UW, which would be a fireable offense at USC. Where Petersen likes to clean up on is his comical out of conference schedule. The jury’s obviously still out on him, regardless of his prior success at Boise. That’s a fact, not speculation, and Helton vs Petersen was a mismatch in favor of USC.

          • jim

            You said “You make it sound like bringing in Petersen was just a big silly waste-of-time facade for Haden so he could slip in 7-win Sark. Ya, right. That’s laughable. You must think Petersen’s pretty dumb to let himself get used like that, especially since he didn’t really want the USC job anyway. He was just testing the waters for the first time in forever”.
            You accuse me of speculation. Yes, there is a lot of speculation involved since the contents of those interviews have never been given. You said “he really didn’t want the job anyway”. That’s not speculation? How could you know that. Petersen wasn’t letting himself be used. He was offered an interview for a job and he interviewed. You say “he was testing the waters”. You test the waters for jobs you are interested in, not for a job that you don’t want. Coaches turn down interviews for jobs all the time because they are not interested. Petersen interviewed twice(not once) for the job. Why interview for a job that you are not interested in?
            You said ” I have no doubt Petersen knew full well Sark would get the job when he expressed his sincere doubts about his fit to Haden and he knew the Husky job would immed open up. He then immediately took it”.
            Yes, that’s one reason I say Haden wanted Sark from the beginning. Haden had to know that Petersen would take the Washington job if he hired Sark. Why hire a 34-29 coach from your own league, who probably would have been fired at Washington soon, when you know he’s going to be replaced by a great coach and you’ll have to face that coach for the next 15 years? Better to hire a coach from back east or somewhere. But that’s the guy he really wanted from the very start. How many guys did he actually interview? Two guys that I know of….Sark and Petersen. If you are really searching the nation for your next coach, you interview a lot of people. I still maintain that the Petersen interviews was nothing but window dressing. They used every excuse to dismiss him…..”He’s not a big town guy, not a rah rah Pete Carroll type, doesn’t interview well, not a charismatic personality”…blah, blah, blah. You don’t hire a coach on his personality. You hire a coach on his record first. The other things come later. Bill Bellichech has the personality of a poached egg, yet he’s one of the best coaches in the history of football.
            You said “In the final analysis, Petersen better get with it and start winning. In 4 years, he’s only 23-13 in the weak P12 at UW, which would be a fireable offense at USC”. Actually, he’s 37-17 but 22-5 in the last 2 years.
            You said ” Helton vs Petersen was a mismatch in favor of USC”. I couldn’t disagree more. Given enough time, I think Helton could become a really outstanding coach. He’s still learning on the job. The question is, will he get that time? I hope he does. I like Helton but there are a lot of people at SC who don’t like him and I’m not sure Swann is solidly behind him. Petersen is a great coach right now and he will win a national championship, probably in the next few years.

          • Jack B

            My point still stands. Petersen turned down Haden’s offer in the first place, which is why Sark got the job. That’s not speculation. That’s what happened. Seven-win Sark was not picked over Win-constantly Petersen. Please don’t believe me. It just wouldn’t make sense to you, ever.

          • jim

            You have your beliefs. A lot of people will agree with you. I respectfully disagree.

    • Pasadena Trojan

      SC beat Peterson. Enough said.

      • gotroy22

        SC has much better recruiting talent than UW . Petersen rebuilt UW into a national power that went to the NC playoff a year ago. Nuff said.

  • Yale O. Leftwich

    Nope…the admin is not sports oriented as it once used to be…they will never do what it takes to compete,just keep a façade in place as though they will.

    • steveg

      I am feeling the same way, the admin is all about academics and how SC can be the Harvard of the West. No effort is going into building anything athletic. It could be the great tradition is going away.

      • Dunc Wilson

        When you’re 66th in the USA in the most current World University Rankings, while Stanford is ranked 3rd (and Harvard 6th), well…. USC has got a long, long, long way to go. With that said, I have no problems with being aspirational! Hey, I want to climb Mt Everest someday too.

    • gotroy22

      They want SC to be like Stanford, competitive in all sports but not necessarily a dominant power, unless they luck into it by hiring the right coach on the cheap.

    • Saul Goodman

      Assuming that’s true, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. The problem is USC’s administrators don’t appear to be in the same universe as Stanford’s, in terms of competence. USC is a fine school who’s academic rep improves with each year. However, Stanford it is not; and never will be.

  • Pac12 fan

    And Bryce Love returns for his senior year at Stanford

    • Jack B

      Bad, bad news for you little gutties again. You’ll be heading for your 11th straight defeat to the Cardinal, USC’s main rival in the west. Sorry for the horrible news.

  • Lunderful

    It’s all up to Jack Del Rio……(chortle)………according to “reliable sources”.

  • Fred Sampson

    The only thing Hugh Freeze did wrong, was use a school appointed cell phone to dial up his HOES, because we all know he’s not the only one who did what he did… LET’S KEEP IT REAL!!!

    • gotroy22

      You mean like the Drunk Sark?

  • Independent_George

    Actually, I can imagine 100+ other Division I FBS schools not hiring Hugh Freeze.

  • hoohoolianFUCLA

    I can just see Helton bringing Neuheisel, Tyrone Willingham, Ted Tollner, Paul Hackett…

  • B.Miller

    No one will questions Saban so there is not issue with Saban hiring former HC.. as where if Helton hires a former HC, his ideas and leadership will be questioned..