USC football is reportedly set to bring back former Trojan strength and conditioning coach Aaron Ausmus in the same role, according to multiple reports.
The most predictable thing about USC football in recent memory remains the Trojans penchant for hiring familiar names. That’s the case once more with the open strength and conditioning coach position.
Head coach Clay Helton has settled on former Trojan S&C coach Aaron Ausmus to return to the role he held under Lane Kiffin, according to reports by Adam Maya of TrojanSports.com and Scott Wolf on InsideUSC.
USC lost S&C coach Ivan Lewis to the Seattle Seahawks in January and it has taken some time to replace him. In the meantime, assistant Keith Belton ran winter workouts, until earlier this week when he announced a move to Kansas.
Like Lewis, Ausmus was an assistant under Chris Carlisle during the Pete Carroll era. In 2004, he took over strength and conditioning at Idaho before joining up with Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss. He spent three years there before losing his place when Orgeron was fired. He landed at North Texas as S&C coordinator a year later in 2008.
After just a year at North Texas, Ausmus took over strength and conditioning at Tennessee, working for Kiffin. Kiffin’s move to USC the next year brought Ausmus back to Los Angeles where he stayed until Kiffin was fired in 2013. Steve Sarkisian replaced him with Lewis. So things have certainly come full circle.
Since losing his job at USC, it doesn’t appear that has worked directly in the world of college strength and conditioning.
A 2016 symposium on PowerAthleteHQ.com makes mention of his path post-USC: “It wasn’t until AA was out of a job, trying to provide for his family when he realized he didn’t have any ‘substance’ behind his accomplishments. He had so much on his resume but no one would hire him. That’s when he sat back, put pen to paper, and developed his philosophy.”
At that time, Ausmus was working for Sorinex, an equipment manufacturer, installing weight rooms.
His Instagram currently lists him as the owner of the Pen And Paper Strength App, a customized four-week strength program.
When Helton and athletic director Lynn Swann laid out plans to bounce back from the 2018 season, hiring a strength and conditioning coach who hasn’t held a collegiate S&C job since 2013 may not be what they had in mind.
In fact, recently Swann used the Seahawks’ desire to hire Lewis as proof of the quality of job he must have been doing at USC.
“If we were doing such a bad job in our strength and conditioning, then we wouldn’t be looking for another strength and conditioning coach at the moment because the Seattle Seahawks came in and hired away Ivan, who was the head of our program,” Swann was quoted in the LA Times.
Applying that standard to Ausmus, who wasn’t able to find another S&C gig in college after leaving USC more than five years ago, doesn’t end particularly well.
The hire certainly isn’t one which will inspire a great deal of enthusiasm, but the proof will be in the pudding.
Ausmus, who will be tasked with building up USC’s strength and physicality above all else, will have to hit the ground quickly as the Trojans start Spring Camp on Tuesday.