Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clancy Pendergast a Potential Candidate to Replace UCLA Defensive Coordinator Lou Spanos?

Both Clancy Pendergast and Ed Orgeron are highly thought of coaches. Both had big years in 2013 at USC. And perhaps surprisingly, both remain unemployed as the college coaching carousel slowly comes to close. That could change for one however, as UCLA defensive coordinator Lou Spanos was hired by the Tennessee Titans on Saturday to create a big vacancy in Westwood.

With Pendergast readily available and now entrenched in the Pac-12 coaching realm having been with both Cal and USC over the past few years, it would seem that he would be obvious choice for the Bruins.

Coaching Search’s Pete Roussel agrees.


Pendergast took a USC defense that was atrocious in 2012 and with the help of a deep playbook of multiple formations, turned them into the 5th ranked defense in the country, according to Football Outsider’s F/+ metrics.

The season was capped off with a near-shutdown of the high-flying Fresno State Bulldogs in the Las Vegas Bowl, in which Pendergast relied on a 1-5-5 defensive scheme to snuff out Derek Carr’s vaunted intermediate passing game.

Despite losing All-Everything linebacker Anthony Barr, UCLA has a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball including 2013 freshman sensation Myles Jack. Should Jim Mora give Pendergast a look, you’d have to think that the former USC defensive coordinator would be interested, especially given how USC failed to retain him.

In addition to UCLA, the Stanford Cardinal are in search of a defensive coordinator to replace the critically-acclaimed Derek Mason, who was just hired by the Vanderbilt Commodores to replace James Franklin. David Shaw could keep their options internal however, a strategy that has been highly successful for Stanford since Jim Harbaugh took over in 2007.

Pendergast also could be a candidate for a NFL defensive coordinator job, though both the Tennesssee Titans and Detroit Lions have filled their defensive coordinator needs within the last 24 hours. The Cleveland Browns will be in need, following the hiring of their next head coach.

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Tags: Clancy Pendergast Football USC Trojans

  • RFLee

    Good for Clancy, bad for Sark …… just one Trojan’s opinion.

    • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

      Yep. It would be a great move for Clancy, no doubt about it. He deserves a good position, and with not much left, UCLA (or Stanford!) would be a fantastic landing spot.

      It doesn’t look good for Sark, but if Wilcox is as good as advertised, then that negates a bit. Though, Wilcox is a guy that’s going to be looking for a promotion at some point, while Pendergast looks to be a life-long coordinator that would have been at USC a while had he been paid an NFL-type salary.

      • Ben Factor

        Again, he won’t recruit. That’s a problem in CFB, and especially for USC right now, because Ed O. left.

        • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

          Yes, but at the same time, most staffs have their hunters and their gatherers. They’ll be guys on this staff that don’t recruit in the same vain that a Tee Martin will. But I get your point.

  • Pridenpoise

    I stick to my opinion, it was a mistake to let Pendergast leave, and it will be magnified if he joins the Bruins.

    • Matthew Moreno

      I completely agree with this. I was never in favor of hiring Justin Wilcox.

      • Ben Factor

        Pendergast won’t recruit. When Orgeron left, that was not a luxury that USC could afford.

        • Matthew Moreno

          With the staff Sarkisian has assembled, I think Pendergast not necessarily recruiting could have been worked around.