Clay Helton Named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week
Helton recognized for top-10 victory over Utah
ATLANTA (Sept. 23, 2019) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that University of Southern California head football coach Clay Helton has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors a football coach who led his team to a significant victory during the previous week, while also embodying the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
Helton and the Trojans handed No. 10 Utah its first loss of the season, pulling off the 30-23 upset victory in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Friday. USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis went down early in the first quarter and was unable to return, setting the stage for third-string quarterback Matt Fink to lead the team to a victory after throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Fink is the third quarterback to play for the Trojans this season after USC also lost starting quarterback J.T. Daniels for the year in week one.
The win was USC’s first over a top-10 team since defeating No. 5 Penn State in the 2016 Rose Bowl and marked Helton’s 12th victory over an AP Top 25 team in his 35 career wins. In his fourth season, Helton now holds an impressive 22-6 record in his last 28 games in the Pac-12 and a 22-3 overall home record.
Despite multiple injuries to the quarterback position so early in the season, the Trojans are 3-1 to start the year and 2-0 in conference play.
“When adversity strikes, great leaders find a way to win,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. “Helton has not only faced pressure on and off the field, but he’s found success in spite of these major challenges. Coach Dodd would have admired his tenacity and leadership in overcoming these early-season obstacles.”
While Helton has worked tirelessly to lead the Trojan football program to national prominence on the field, he is also just as committed to excellence in the classroom and community off of it.
USC currently holds a 972 Academic Progress Rate (APR), a metric that measures a program’s performance in the classroom year-over-year, a significant increase from the program’s 959 APR score when he took over.
In addition to his academic achievements, he has also led USC’s football program in a number of outreach programs that impact the community. The team recently visited the Jenesse Center, a local domestic violence prevention and intervention center, and helped remodel apartments that will be used as an emergency unit for families seeking shelter from domestic violence.
This season, USC football will also continue its participation in Trojan Wish, which gives local children diagnosed with serious conditions the ability to see the team from a VIP perspective and the encouragement to play the sport they previously thought they were incapable of playing.
“Coach Helton puts scholarship, leadership and integrity at the forefront of everything he does,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. “USC has shown they are still one of the best in the Pac-12 on the field, and continue to do admirable things off of it.”
The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The winner of the 2019 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during bowl week for this year’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.