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USC dismisses head football coach Clay Helton

USC fired head football coach Clay Helton (left) on Monday, two days after the Trojans suffered a sobering 42-28 setback against Pac-12 rival Stanford in Los Angeles.
USC fired head football coach Clay Helton (left) on Monday, two days after the Trojans suffered a sobering 42-28 setback against Pac-12 rival Stanford in Los Angeles.Harry How/Getty

Southern California fired football coach Clay Helton on Monday, two games into his seventh season in charge. Athletic director Mike Bohn made the move two days after an embarrassing 42-28 home loss to Stanford that dropped the Trojans (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12) out of the AP Top 25. Donte Williams, the Trojans’ cornerbacks coach and associate head coach, is taking over as head coach for USC’s Pac-12 contest at Washington State this weekend. Williams, a Los Angeles-area native and the first Black head coach in USC football history, joined the program in 2020 and has played a major role in USC’s significant recruiting advancements over the past two cycles. Helton went 46-24 during his improbable tenure in charge of the longtime college football powerhouse. The Trojans won the Rose Bowl after the 2016 season and the Pac-12 title in 2017 while Sam Darnold was their quarterback, but Helton’s teams otherwise struggled to live up to the sky-high expectations around a program with 11 national championships. Helton was 19-14 since the 2017 season, and he repeatedly avoided vocal calls for his dismissal from fans and boosters during that stretch. Bohn replaced Lynn Swann as USC’s athletic director in November 2019, and the school’s aspirations for national title contention ramped up again with major additions to all areas of the football program.

Ivin Jasper will remain on Ken Niumatalolo’s at Navy.
Ivin Jasper will remain on Ken Niumatalolo’s at Navy.Terrance Williams/Associated Press

After he was fired by Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk following Saturday’s home loss to Air Force, 23-3, longtime offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper was allowed to retain his position on Ken Niumatalolo’s staff. After further discussion, Jasper will remain in his other role as quarterbacks coach while Niumatalolo will call the offensive plays. “It was an unfortunate situation. There’s some emotion involved, obviously, but we just lost a big game,” Niumatalolo said. “I think cooler heads have prevailed.” Niumatalolo did have to part with another member of his staff, offensive assistant Billy Ray Stutzmann, who was dismissed after he was unable to follow the academy’s COVID-19 policy for religious reasons . . . The Southeastern Conference fined Arkansas $100,000 after Razorbacks fans rushed the field following last Saturday’s 40-21 win over Texas before a crowd of 74,531 in Fayetteville, Ark., vaulting No. 20 Arkansas into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2016 . . . Tulane plans to play its first on-campus home game of this season against UAB on Sept. 25, at Yulman Stadium nearly a month after the program was displaced by Hurricane Ida, university officials announced. . . . LSU coach Ed Orgeron said junior running back John Emery Jr. is expected to miss the remainder of the season after the Tigers’ projected starting running back was ruled academically ineligible . . . Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said running back Zander Horvath, a 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound fifth-year senior, will miss four to eight weeks with a broken fibula, which Horvath suffered during Saturday’s 49-0 win at UConn.

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Hockey

Blue Jackets relieve anti-vax assistant

The Columbus Blue Jackets replaced an assistant coach who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Sylvain Lefebvre was replaced on coach Brad Larsen’s staff by Steve McCarthy because “Lefebvre has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols,” according to a team statement. NHL coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated . . . The NHL’s Nashville Predators’ home, Bridgestone Arena, will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test at least through Nov. 15, making the Predators the 14th NHL team using similar requirements. The Bridgestone Arena policy applies to all events being held inside the facility, which includes the Country Music Association awards show Nov. 10

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Soccer

Everton rally sinks Burnley

Everton produced a remarkable comeback with three goals inside seven minutes to beat Burnley, 3-1, in the English Premier League. Everton looked battered and beaten after Ben Mee marked his 200th Premier League appearance with the opening goal in the 53rd minute. However, within the span of 379 seconds — which included a tactical substitution and formation change — the hosts turned the match on its head via a Michael Keane header against his former club, a stunner from Andros Townsend, and a clinical one-on-one from fellow new arrival Demarai Gray. And all this was achieved without last season’s leading scorer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is likely to be out for at least two to three weeks with a broken toe and thigh injury.

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Miscellany

Will Zalatoris voted PGA Tour rookie of year

Will Zalatoris had an impressive first year on Tour.
Will Zalatoris had an impressive first year on Tour.Chris Seward/Associated Press

Will Zalatoris, 25 of Dallas, Texas, was voted PGA Tour rookie of the year, the first player in 20 years to receive the award without being a full PGA Tour member. Zalatoris played well enough on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 to earn a spot in the US Open at Winged Foot, which did not have qualifying and was pushed back to September because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant it was part of the 2020-21 season. Zalatoris tied for sixth, and with two other top-10 finishes and was able to join the PGA Tour as a special temporary member in November, meaning unlimited sponsor exemptions, and finished the season with eight top 10s, including a runner-up finish at the Masters. . . . The season-ending WTA Finals have been moved from China to the Mexican city of Guadalajara, the WTA said. The tournament was supposed to be held in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in November, but the WTA, which didn’t give a reason for the switch, said the event would be back in Shenzhen next year . . . The International Judo Federation banned Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his Hall of Fame coach, Amar Benikhlef, from competition for 10 years after his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid a potential bout against an Israeli opponent, Olympic bronze medalist Tohar Butbul, in the second round of men’s lightweight competition at the Budokan . . . Kelsey Plum scored 26 of her 30 points in the second half, A’ja Wilson had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the host Las Vegas Aces beat the Dallas Wings, 85-75. The Aces trailed 51-41 midway through the third quarter before closing on a 20-6 run for a 61-57 advantage. Wilson made a hook shot in the lane with 1:13 remaining in the third for Las Vegas’ first lead, 57-55, since 4-2.

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