USC Football Fires OC Tee Martin, DC Clancy Pendergast

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks his team down the tunnel at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

USC head coach Clay Helton will return for the 2019 season, but his coordinators will not.

Adam Maya of Rivals reported USC fired offensive coordinator Tee Martin on Tuesday after he spent three seasons in the position and seven with the program overall. Peter Ghersen of Trojan Insider later added defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will not return. 

Martin, 40, was named offensive coordinator when Helton got the full-time head coaching job at the end of the 2015 season. The Trojans were among the nation's most prolific offenses with Sam Darnold under center but struggled to replace him in 2018.

Freshman JT Daniels recorded just 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The Trojans ranked 91st nationally in scoring. 

Helton took play-calling duties from Martin during the season, so his ouster is not much of a surprise.

Martin told reporters after the late-October move:

"After you've been a black quarterback in the SEC, there's really not much people can say to me that I haven't heard before. Not only social media-wise, but to my face. But that doesn't bother me or affect me. I know what it is. I don't get down, just because those people don't matter. And they have never mattered.

"All that's mattered is me showing them otherwise. So I get competitive. I get even, so to speak. You get called the N-word for no reason, then I'm going to show you how good this can really be and really make you mad. That's how I've always dealt with that dynamic because it's only there due to ignorance."

Martin played quarterback at Tennessee from 1996 to 1999, serving as Peyton Manning's backup before leading the Vols to the 1998 national championship. Tennessee went to BCS bowls in each of Martin's two seasons as a starter. He played professionally in the NFL, NFL Europe and CFL from 2000 to 2005 before he turned to coaching.

USC hired Martin in 2012 as its receivers coach after his two-year stint at Kentucky. He was promoted to passing-game coordinator in 2014. 

Pendergast, 50, was USC's defensive coordinator the last three seasons. It was his second stint with the school after serving as its defensive coordinator in 2013. He previously spent three seasons as Cal's defensive coordinator and a decade-plus as a defensive assistant in the NFL. 

The Trojans announced defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze and defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford would also not return next season. Offensive assistant Bryan Ellis is also leaving the program.