The expected changes on the USC coaching staff have commenced in earnest.
USC was embarrassed by Iowa in a 25-point Holiday Bowl loss Friday night. Less than 24 hours later, the Trojans confirmed that a pair of coordinators have been dismissed.
Let go by the football program are defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and special teams coordinator John Baxter. It had long been thought that both coordinators were on very thin ice.
“I want to thank Coach Pendergast and Coach Baxter for their dedicated service and efforts,” said head coach Clay Helton in a statement. “However, in evaluating our team’s performance this year and after consulting with [new athletic director] Mike Bohn, it is evident that these changes are necessary.
“My coaching staff and I fell short of fielding a championship team. We are taking immediate steps to improve our competitiveness and meet the winning expectations of our student-athletes and fans.”
Pendergast just finished the fourth season of his second stint with the Trojans. This season, Pendergast’s unit was 78th nationally in scoring defense.
Like Pendergast, Baxter just completed his fourth season with the program. In the bowl loss, Baxter’s unit allowed a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown, continuing a string of special teams gaffes that made a departure likely.
Despite Bohn’s “vote of confidence” in bringing Helton back for 2020, the beleaguered head coach will head into the offseason on the hottest seat in the country.