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USC extends Clay Helton’s contract three years, through 2023

By in Press Enterprise on February 7, 2018

By Joey Kaufman

LOS ANGELES — After its first Pac-12 Conference football championship in nearly a decade, USC has given Coach Clay Helton his first contract extension.

Helton’s contract was extended three years, through the 2023 season, the school announced Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In 2015, Helton signed a five-year deal after he was promoted from interim coach by then-Athletic Director Pat Haden, replacing Steve Sarkisian who was fired mid-season.

Trojans athletic director Lynn Swann said he was “happy with the job Clay has done so far” and that Helton was “moving our program forward.”

Helton, 45, has a 27-10 record spanning two full seasons and two interim stints. He first coached USC in an interim role during its win over Fresno State in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl. Last season, the Trojans finished 11-3 overall, their most wins since 2008, when they last won a conference title and finished 12-1 overall.

In his first full season in 2016, Helton guided the Trojans to the Rose Bowl, their first appearance in the famed bowl game since 2008, defeating Penn State in dramatic fashion, 52-49.

The Trojans last posted double-digit win seasons under Pete Carroll.

“We have lofty goals at USC and Clay can get us to those goals,” Swann said in a statement. “He has shown that he can lead our team with integrity and stability and that he has the ability to win conference and national championships.”

The Trojans were expected to vie for a national championship last season, beginning the season No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, buoyed by quarterback Sam Darnold, but fell short. They did not reach the four-team College Football Playoff after two losses in the regular season, at Washington State and at Notre Dame, and ended their season with a 24-7 drubbing by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

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