Report: Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy Could Emerge as USC Head Coach Candidate

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 14, 2021

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 12: Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy watches pregame warmups prior to the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy could be a target for USC in its head coaching search, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter

Bieniemy was a star at Colorado but attended high school in Southern California. Schefter reported he has indicated privately that leading the Trojans is "one of the only college jobs that might interest him."

USC is looking for a new coach after firing Clay Helton on Monday in the wake of a 42-28 loss to Stanford. Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel listed off a pool of candidates who could potentially succeed Helton, though Bieniemy was absent from the group:

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Early list for USC: James Franklin, Matt Campbell, Bill O'Brien, Luke Fickell, P.J. Fleck, Mario Cristobal, Greg Schiano and Tony Elliott. Former coaches who could be sought include Chris Petersen and Bob Stoops.

Despite being the architect for the NFL's most explosive offense, the 52-year-old has yet to get the opportunity to coach his own team in the league. Many have used him as an example of the difficulty Black coaches face being hired as head coaches.

"I think it’s discouraging, to say the least," said Bieniemy’s agent, Brian Levy, to Yahoo Sports' Terez Paylor in January 2020. "We’re really trying to find out what the standard is, and every year the standard changes. We’re just trying to swim against the current."

Schefter reported in February 2020 that Colorado contacted Bieniemy about his interest in leading the program after Mel Tucker was hired by Michigan State, but he withdrew from consideration shortly thereafter.

Because of his profile, Bieniemy would be an excellent hire. Prior to joining Kansas City, he made stops at Colorado and UCLA, eventually serving as the Buffaloes offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012.

However, the Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo questioned whether the timeline makes sense for the Trojans given how long they'd have to wait before they could make this move official:

Ralph D. Russo @ralphDrussoAP

On Bieniemy and USC ... I cannot imagine USC waiting out the NFL playoffs, if not the Super Bowl, to have its coach in place.<br><br>USC AD was AD at Colorado when Bieniemy was an assistant there.<br><br>Not for long though. That staff and Bohn were all cleaned out by 2013.

Bieniemy's desire to be a college head coach is unclear as well, especially if USC is expecting the replacement for Helton to stick around for the long haul. Bohn may not want a coach whom he fears could bolt in a few years for the NFL that would put the Trojans right back at square one.