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The USC head coaching vacancy has sparked an abundance of far-fetched candidates, here is a more logical list. 


The USC head coaching list has gone from Pete Carroll all the way to Mike Tomlin (although Desmond Howard, from college game day, merely suggested that athletic director Pat Haden find a coach LIKE Tomlin, I digress.)with a little Sean Payton sprinkled in between. Among rumored candidates were also Chip Kelly and Jeff Fisher.

Now that the fuss and rush to anoint the top names in NFL coaching circles has calmed, let’s look for a more reasonable name to replace the departed Steve Sarkisian.


Ken Norton, Jr.

Although Ken Norton, Jr. does not posses NCAA head coaching experience, his resume brings memory to USC hay-day.

Under Norton’s tutelage and recruiting, he’s groomed the likes of NFL pro bowlers Lofa Tatupu, Brian Cushing, Keith Rivers, Clay Matthews, and Rey Maualuga, just to name a few.

The current Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator is finally spending a year away from ally and USC favorite, Pete Carroll. However, Norton reminds administration of the past with Carroll at the helm.

If Norton re-vamps the Oakland Raiders defense in a year turnaround, he may see his stock skyrocket as a coach.

Norton has turned down in the past going back to his alma mater UCLA and has proven that he holds a high loyalty in regards to USC. That loyalty could possibly land him a job at one of the best coaching positions in America. And why not? The man does have a super bowl ring.

The pressure of Los Angeles and expectation to win at USC is nothing new to Norton. But, would Pat Haden be willing to take a risk on giving Ken Norton his first head coaching gig?


Hue Jackson

Hue Jackson is another coaching candidate, that while may not be a sexy name, is an effective one. He was the last coach to win with the Oakland Raiders (8-8), and he’s a proven leader and well-respected around the NFL.

Despite rumors that Hue Jackson is on the fast track to a head coaching gig in the NFL, it’s been heard before and he’s received lukewarm interest in regards of GM’s looking his way.

USC could very well pony up the salary to lure Jackson away from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson also carries a USC pedigree. Furthermore, Hue Jackson is from Los Angeles and knows the landscape very well for recruiting purposes.

If Pat Haden wants a solid, no-nonsense, grown up hire with NFL and top-tier college experience, Hue Jackson would be a solid choice.


Mike Shula

Mike Shula could not only be another Pete Carroll story in the making, but he could also be quite a solid hire, as well as an intelligent one.

Shula has been in charge of a large program (Alabama) before, he’s been in a big market with big expectations (Miami Dolphins), and on top of all that, he’s been living in his famous father’s footsteps for a long time.

Very few coaches or individuals period know about expectations and pressure as Mike Shula. And, as he currently is exceeding them as the Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator, Shula is slowly catching the eyes of many as a future head coach again.


Despite the lack of the popular names such as Kevin Sumlin, Kliff Kingsbury, David Shaw, etc., those are all names among many that are likely too far out of reach.  As well as reactionary hires that’s already set back USC post-Kiffin and Sarkisian.

If the Trojans plan to hire a name with NFL experience, then they should do their due diligence in looking deep for a candidate. But, if they plan to just swing for the fences for a Chip Kelly like name, it may be a while before Pat Haden is backed into a corner and makes a bad hire.

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Ayron Beavers