USC's coaching search is over, as the school decided to remove the interim tag on Clay Helton's business card, making him the permanent head coach, per the school's official announcement. Helton led the Trojans to a Pac-12 South title, as well as a victory in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl, when they beat Fresno State, 45-20 after replacing Ed Orgeron. ESPN's Brett McMurphy tweeted that Helton received a three-year deal with a two-year option.
Helton has been with USC since 2010, serving as the team's offensive coordinator, after stints with Duke, Houston and Memphis. He inherits a team stocked with blue chip recruits, and potentially another loaded recruiting class on the way (it is currently ranked 13th in the country, and 3rd in the Pac-12, per 247's composite rankings), meaning the Trojans should be well positioned to be competitive next season, first year head coach or not.
The move may be a surprise to some, as USC was thought to be looking outside the Trojan family after their last few coaching searches, but USC's strong performance this season apparently made Helton impossible to ignore.
The surprise hiring isn't winning over everyone, however: