USC football reportedly losing strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis is reportedly set to leave USC football for the Seattle Seahawks, replacing another former Trojan.

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USC football didn’t seem eager to make a change to strength and conditioning after the 2018 season, but the Trojans will get one anyways.

Head strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis has been tapped to take over strength and conditioning duties for the Seattle Seahawks, according to Adam Maya of, who first reported Lewis’ imminent departure.

Lewis is replacing a name familiar to USC fans. The Seahawks are reportedly parting ways with long time strength coach Chris Carlisle this year. He had been the Trojans’ strength and conditioning coach under Pete Carroll from 2001 through 2009.

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The response to this departure from USC fans stands in stark contrast to that of Kliff Kingsbury last week. While Trojans were distraught over losing their coveted offensive coordinator to the NFL, relief is a better word to describe emotions to Lewis’ promotion.

Strength and conditioning is one of the most difficult aspects of a team to evaluate, and truly judging the job done by Lewis over the last five years is impossible. However, the Trojans have seemed outmatched in many physical battles over the last few years. They have also struggled with injury woes across the lineup.

Even if Lewis wasn’t directly at fault for those things, there was a strong argument for USC to look in another direction.

Most critically, athletic director Lynn Swann himself acknowledged “deficiencies in areas that include culture, discipline, schemes, personnel and staff” when he announced his decision to retain head coach Clay Helton. Both Helton and Swann cited the impressive turnaround of Notre Dame after the Irish went 4-8 in 2016. A major part of Notre Dame’s turnaround included staff changes, including Brian Kelly’s longtime strength and conditioning coordinator.


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The Irish changed their culture by changing their approach. And that started with new strength coach Matt Balis and Kelly setting up a system to hold players accountable. As detailed in Sports Illustrated: “He and [Balis] also ratcheted up the competition, with the entire team broken up into eight teams and an off-season scoreboard kept on things like weight room performance, academics and community service.”

After going 5-7 in 2018, drastic changes are clearly needed at USC. Helton may not have made the choice to make this particular change, but it may ultimately work to his benefit. That is, if he can identify the right strength and conditioning coach with the right mindset and approach to take over and help boost the program out of this rut.