USC is turning to its crosstown rival to fill a key vacancy as the Trojans have hired UCLA defensive coordinator D'Anton Lynn to the same position, the school announced on Friday. Lynn oversaw a Bruins defense that ranked atop the Pac-12 and finished 11th among all FBS teams during the 2023 regular season, holding opponents to 299 yards on average.
"We are thrilled to welcome D'Anton and his family to USC," Trojans coach Lincoln Riley said. "We simply couldn't ask for a better addition to our staff. His successful experiences in both college and the NFL make him the perfect fit for our program. I hope you will join me in welcoming him to the Trojan Family."
USC plans to double Lynn's salary from UCLA, according to The Athletic, with the Trojans set to pay Lynn $2 million annually after he earned $1 million with the Bruins this season. Lynn, 34, was in his first season on coach Chip Kelly's UCLA staff after spending much of the past decade as an NFL assistant for various franchises, most recently the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans.
Lynn fills a position on Riley's USC staff that opened midseason when the Trojans fired second-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch amid ongoing issues with the defense letting them down in key games.
USC ended the regular season outside top 100 nationally among FBS teams both overall and in scoring, allowing 438.8 yards and 34.92 points per game on average. It negated a potent offense that was headlined by quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams as the Trojans finished 7-5, a career-worst for Riley as a head coach. USC closed the regular season with a 38-20 home loss to UCLA in which Lynn's defense held the Trojans to what matched their fewest points scored in a game all season.
Grinch had served as Riley's defensive coordinator since 2019 when Riley was still at Oklahoma. Riley brought Grinch, despite his scrutinized units that dated back to his time with the Sooners, along with him to USC when Riley was hired by the Trojans in November 2021.
Lynn's crosstown change of scenery comes as USC and UCLA prepare to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024. The Trojans and Bruins will be joined by conference foes Oregon and Washington as they make that move, with 10 teams total leaving the Pac-12 for other conferences next year.