USC parts ways with two coordinators following blowout loss in Holiday Bowl

USC coach Clay Helton may be back in 2020, but two of his coordinators are not being retained. On Saturday, the school announced that defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach John Baxter would not return to the program next year. The news comes one day after the Trojans were blown out by Iowa in the Holiday Bowl, 49-24. 

Pendergast and Baxter have been on their own, respective hot seats for some time. But as the heat continues to rise for Helton, changes often come at the assistant level spots first. USC allowed Iowa to score a season-high 49 points, six of which came from a 98-yard kickoff return by Ihmir Smith-Marsette. That fell under Baxter's responsibility. Additionally, though USC didn't give up a ton of yards against the Hawkeyes and were put in bad positions because of turnovers, Iowa's offense looked uncharacteristically potent. 

Moving on from Pendergast and Baxter has probably been a long time coming, but it doesn't change the storyline about Helton's job security in 2020. To Helton's credit, the move to Graham Harrell at offensive coordinator has paid some dividends and quarterback Kedon Slovis looks like he has a bright future. But the defense and special teams undoubtedly needed fixing and one last change is being made in an effort to finally get the Trojans back to where they want to be. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories