USC head coach Lane Kiffin has finally completed cleaning house and reconstructing his coaching staff: the university announced on Saturday night the official hires of offensive line coach and running game coordinator Mike Summers, running backs coach and passing game coordinator Tommie Robinson and linebackers coach Mike Ekeler.
In addition to new hires, some current coaches now have new responsibilities. Quarterbacks coach Clay Helton will now serve as the offensive coordinator–though what that entirely means is still subject to debate–special teams coach John Baxter will coach the tight ends, former offensive line coach James Cregg will continue to work with that unit, though he will not hold the title.
“With so many young offensive linemen who will be so important to our success, I felt it was critical to have two coaches working with this group,” Kiffin said in the statement released by the university.
Kiffin continued to speak on the decisions behind the new roles assigned to the current coaches on staff.
“It was a natural step to have John Baxter work with the tight ends because he has coached that position for much of his career. Clay Helton has been vitally involved in our offense in his time here and spent last season as the passing game coordinator.”
Ekeler, the most recent addition to the Trojan coaching staff, comes to USC from Indiana, where he served as the defensive coordinator for Hoosiers for the past two seasons. He got his NCAA coaching career started at Oklahoma as a graduate assistant under Bo Pelini, who was the Sooners’ co-defensive coordinator. Ekeler worked under Bo Pelini at LSU and Nebraska, before leaving to join Indiana as the Hoosiers’ defensive coordinator in 2011. In the first five years of his coaching career, Ekeler was apart of three BCS title games and saw Nebraska win or share Big 12 North Division Titles all three years he was on staff.
Kiffin shared his thoughts on Ekeler in USC’s blog/press release:
I have followed Mike Ekeler’s career and have been very impressed with what he has accomplished on and off the field. The fact that he is the only player that Bill Snyder ever personally appointed as a team captain at Kansas State speaks to who Mike is and what he is all about. He will bring intensity, energy and command to our linebacker group. He also is a proven recruiter on the national level.
With the coaching staff now set, Kiffin and his USC Trojans can fully immerse themselves in gearing up for spring ball and ultimately to finally move forward from the 2012 campaign.