USC Morning Buzz: Where Do The Board Of Trustees Stand?

I spoke to a member of the USC Board of Trustees to see if they hear anything regarding Clay Helton’s future and what their role would be next week?

“The Board of Trustees really doesn’t like to deal with sports,” the trustee said. “The way it would work is Lynn Swann would go to the interim president and he might need to talk to Rick Caruso (the chair of the Board of Trustees). I could see them maybe getting a small group of trustees and contacting them too.”

The Board also recently botched handling ex-president Max Nikias’ future, so they don’t want to get hands-on with Helton.

“It really will come down to Lynn Swann and what he wants to do.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry that Swann has so much power. Whatever else you might read, no one in the athletic dept. can tell Swann what to do. His No. 2, Steve Lopes, runs the dept. on a daily basis but he is not going to tell Swann to fire Helton. Lopes was part of the team that recommended Steve Sarkisian to Pat Haden. So his qualifications to football decisions have some questions too.

The fact is Swann will probably rely on one or two donors as much as anyone else to decide Helton’s future, mainly because he might ask them to pay off Helton’s contract.


22 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Where Do The Board Of Trustees Stand?

  1. It always comes down to the President and a donor who can fund or partially fund the payoff. This includes what happened with firing Howland in Westwood.

    Swann knows the obvious, which is that despite how much the kids on the team like Helton and his dad-like qualities, that the team will always be stuck where it is right now if Helton stays. And Swann is smart enough to know that if he wants to keep his job, then the football team needs to deliver.


    1. However the conversations go, the school needs to operate more like Walter Alston, so everything sports is not held hostage by lack of performance or ability.


  2. The BIG mistakes were hiring Helton to begin with (Haden), and then giving him an extension with a huge buyout (Swann). Assuming he’s going to be fired; I actually think it’s best to wait until the end of the season. Dismissing four coaches in a row before season’s end is a really, really bad look to any future hire who is of any quality. Of course, there are all sorts of other issues that make SC an unattractive destination for a quality coach. However, the only factor that is completely in Swann’s control is how he fires Helton. Again, all of this assumes Helton is actually going to be fired. One never knows, nor can predict the logic of the decision makers inside that SC administration bubble.


  3. Here’s a novel idea, keep Helton on staff but make him team manager or some other superfluous title like director of team climate and culture maker of the seven layer bean dip. Bring in a young football mind on a yearly contract with a title to match something like Director of of Assistant Coaches and Football Play. If he wins he’s renewed with a bonus of he loses he’s done.
    And for heaven’s sake stop speculating about what day of the week Helton should be fired. I say this only because Tuesday and Wednesday of next week are the only two days open on the pool.


  4. Swann just made decision to extend Helton’s contact 9 months ago. All this talk about Swann being some kind of naive bumpkin is naive in itself the guy was a great player, sports analyst broadcaster and ran for political office for Governor of Pennsylvania and lost due to his funding running out.

    I think he will give Helton one year with a new staff underneath him with lots of Swann feedback. Possibly with one of the coordinators being a head coach in waiting. Helton will have no choice but to come to terms with that.


    1. What elite level assistant is going to want to work for a short-timer coach? The stink from a head coach rubs off on his assistants. Eilte assistants don’t want to move every year, and everyone except for perhaps Mrs. Helton realizes that Gomer is not a head coach.


    2. This former player gave this clown a full 3 year extension ‘AFTER’ that national beatdown at the hands of OH St.. A game that USC had 4+ weeks to prepare for – still hold to Swann being anything but a clueless administrator? Haden and Swann both played for McKay it isn;t as if they haven’t any idea of what a top tier coach looks and acts like. They also watched PC turn this program around based on solid game mgt., not afraid to hire excellent staff, sideline and player behavior during the game, brutal control of penalties – but somehow for these two – esp. Swann – Helton warranted a 3 year extension.

      Swann’s afraid of his own shadow – he reeks being scared to death to stick his neck out. No better to ruin the program for another 5 years with this poor misguided incompetent fool Helton as head coach – that’s sure to please the donors and season ticket holders.- explain how that shows any insight on the fall out in retaining Helton.


      1. SoCal needs a football coach with the experience, toughness and character of the great John Wooden.
        Unfortunately, they don’t make them like that anymore.


  5. Well Mark freaking Jackson got us his damn buddy Suckisian and also a Gomer fan … so it’s not just Swann protecting theses idiot coaches.


  6. Beats me why some people think it is surprising or improper that the Athletic Director is the one who has the power to hire and fire athletic program coaches. It’s part of the job description.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True but SoCal has a habit of hiring ex-football star fund raisers who don’t necessarily know anything about being an A.D.
      BTW, looks like Steve Sample (and Petesy Carroll) blew town at just the right time.
      Does Sample get off of the OB GYN thing scott free like St. Pat did raiding the scholarship charity?


  7. I just don’t think that football is a priority for the BOT, the interim prez, or the old prez. The emphasis was on fund raising to buy the best profs and the best facilities to increase our ACADEMIC profile. It’s why Haden and Swann were given their jobs. Because they were well spoken, former athletic stars that could play golf with the donors and extract donations from them. Not because they could administer the athletic programs. The expectations at SC have changed, we are no longer in the business of producing NFL studs, but rather top notch students. When we realize that our expectations do not mesh with the interim prez and the BOT, we’ll stop looking at these sites waiting for news of Gomer to be tarmaced.


  8. Prognostication: Helton and Swann stay, donors start pulling back in the off season, game attendance goes way down. It’s looking a lot like 2000 again, only this time, we are keeping Hackett.


    1. Your assessment may be (regrettably) correct (see below)…

      If so, as a law/economics professor I had (he was an adviser to Bernie Sanders, and whether one likes that or not, he was brilliant), the only recourse left to the consumer class is to “vote with your feet” aka direct your disposable income elsewhere to clearly signal your displeasure…

      I already have been doing so since Coach O wasn’t retained in favor of Sark and then Helton (I learned, or “relearned,” how great a sport hockey is, and spend my sports entertainment dollars accordingly)..


  9. After many years of failed institutional control by SC’s so-called “elite leaders” causing irreversible damage, my guess is that there’s now no way out of this national embarrassment.


  10. To Calabasas Trojan… I think I would spell it T-A-R-M-A-C-K-E-D. Otherwise it just does not look right. And the whole tarmacked thing was a disgrace. Couldn’t he wait until the next day or Monday?


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