Illinois' Lovie Smith, USC's Clay Helton Among Head Coaches Retained Despite Poor Seasons

By Chris Lauderback on November 25, 2018 at 1:31 pm
Illinois' student section houses dozens of rabid Lovie Smith fans.
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The coaching carousel started slowly on Sunday as athletic directors take stock of their respective football programs. 

Reports say Texas Tech is parting ways with Kliff Kingsbury which shouldn't come as shock after he posted a third-straight losing season. Likewise, Larry Fedora is out at North Carolina

A couple mild surprises however also came Sunday afternoon as both Lovie Smith at Illinois and Clay Helton at USC were retained. 

Smith, now 9-27 through three seasons at Illinois, received a two-year contract extension would keep him in Champaign through 2023. Not a bad reward after back-to-back seasons finishing in the basement of the Big Ten West. 

Out in Southern Cal, Helton did go 10-2 a year ago but declining attendance and a 5-7 season was thought to likely spell doom. Instead, Helton didn't get a contract extension but did get some love from athletic director Lynn Swann. 

Helton has three years and $15 million left on his contract. 

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