The Morning Column: September 15, 2021
USC is supposed to be someone’s dream head coaching job, not someone’s first head coaching job. That’s why it’s impetrative that Mike Bohn hires a proven head coach with championship experience.
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1. 🏈 USC must hire a proven head coach
USC athletic director Mike Bohn was asked a natural question after Donte Williams’ first practice as USC’s interim football coach.
Was Williams told he would be considered for the full-time job?
“We haven't gotten into that but our search is wide open,” Bohn said. “That's what a national search is all about.”
It was the only answer he could publicly give but in reality, Bohn and Williams know there’s no chance the next USC head coach will be a first-time head coach.
USC made that mistake with Clay Helton when they made him the permanent coach in 2015 after he replaced Steve Sarkisian as the interim head coach and led USC to a 5-2 record. After getting the job, Helton’s team got blown out in the Pac-12 championship game by Stanford and lost to an unranked Wisconsin team in the Holiday Bowl. They started the following season 1-3 before Sam Darnold came in and saved the season and Helton’s job.
Helton had never been the permanent head coach of a program before being named the head coach at USC. He was a 10-year offensive assistant at Memphis before Lane Kiffin hired him to be USC’s quarterbacks coach in 2010. Pat Haden’s reasoning for giving Helton the full-time job is as laughable now as it was then.
“After weeks of searching the collegiate and pro ranks, interviewing candidates and speaking with head coaches, athletic directors, NFL executives and very knowledgeable football people, and after observing Clay in action the past seven weeks, it became abundantly clear that what we were searching for in a coach was right here in front of us,” Haden said. “Choosing a coach is an inexact science. In Clay’s case, there is exactness.”
Again, Helton had zero head coaching experience before getting the job and went 1-5 in his first six games as the permanent head coach before Darnold saved his career. USC is supposed to be someone’s dream head coaching job, not someone’s first head coaching job. That’s why it’s impetrative that Bohn does what Haden and Lynn Swann failed to do. He must hire a proven head coach with championship experience that can lead USC back to national prominence.
“We will go through an exhaustive national search,” Bohn said. “The good news is we have time to do that and we'll take full advantage of that time and we've already started with obviously building our profile, building all elements associated with a solid search, and I'm looking forward to that and having the Trojan family behind us. That will be a big part of that.”
Williams has never been a head coach or even a coordinator before. He has been a cornerbacks coach the past five years at USC, Oregon, Arizona and Nebraska. Maybe his time as USC’s interim head coach will lead to his first head coaching job somewhere (or perhaps his first coordinator’s job) but no matter what he does this season, USC’s next head coach must be a proven and experienced head coach.
“There's no replacement for head coach experience,” Bohn said. “I think it’s about leadership, character, integrity, fit and somebody that embraces the high expectations here to compete for national championships.”
2. ⚾️ Max Scherzer favored to win NL Cy Young
The Dodgers knew they were getting an all-star pitcher when they traded for 37-year-old Max Scherzer but they never though they were getting a Cy Young winner. But sportsbooks on Tuesday made Scherzer the new favorite to win the NL Cy Young.
Since coming to Los Angeles, Scherzer is 6-0 with an 0.88 ERA and 72 strikeouts in his eight starts for the Dodgers. It’s the best stretch he’s had in his hall of fame career, which already includes three Cy Young awards (2013, 2016, 2017). On Sunday, Scherzer recorded his 3,000th career strikeout and took a perfect game into the eighth inning. Scherzer is leading MLB in ERA (2.17) and WHIP (0.821). Scherzer is just in front of Dodgers teammate Walker Buehler, who is third in ERA (2.32) and WHIP (0.95) and first in quality starts (25). Julio Urias, who leads the MLB in win (17) is also in the mix.
3. 🎤 RIP Norm Macdonald
Comedian Norm Macdonald died Tuesday after a nine-year private battle with cancer at the age of 61. Macdonald was a sports fan and actually had a sports show, the aptly named, “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald” on Comedy Central. His best sports hosting moment came when he was the host of the 1998 ESPYS. Let’s just say you won’t see a monologue like this ever again on ESPN.
4. 📸 Photo of the Day
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by VSIN
Here are some odds on the NL MVP you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Sept. 15, 1978: Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks
On this day 43 years ago, Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans to become the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title three times. The victory, which would be the last of Ali’s legendary career, came after Spinks’ shocking victory over Ali seven months earlier in Las Vegas. The fight attracted a crowd of 63,352 at the Superdome, the largest indoor attendance ever for a boxing match, and a television audience of over 90 million, which represented nearly half of the television sets in the United States at the time.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Pete Carroll
Happy birthday to Pete Carroll. The former USC coach and current Seattle Seahawks coach is turning 70 years old today. Carroll won two national championships and six BCS bowl games during his nine seasons at USC. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and nearly won back-to-back titles. Carroll is one of just three coaches to win both a Super Bowl and a national championship.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 5 p.m. – Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox – Bally Sports West
⚽️ 6 p.m. – LAFC at Austin FC – Bally Sports SoCal
⚾️ 7 p.m. – Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers – SportsNet LA
⚾️ 7:30 p.m. – Houston Dynamo at Los Angeles Galaxy – Spectrum SportsNet
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Tuesday’s show, we talked about USC firing Clay Helton and the Las Vegas Raiders' crazy win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!