U-S-C ya! Kliff Kingsbury leaves Trojans after one month to become Cardinals’ head coach

Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure as the USC offensive coordinator lasted about as long as Alabama’s hope of coming back during Monday’ National Championship.

Just 35 days after joining Clay Helton’s staff with the Trojans, Kingsbury is on the move once again. The Arizona Cardinals announced Kingsbury has been named the franchise’s new head coach Tuesday.

Kingsbury was one of the most sought-after coaching candidate this offseason after being fired by Texas Tech. The 39-year-old spent the past six years as the head coach of his alma mater where he led one of the most impressive air attacks in the country. During his tenure at Tech, the Red Raiders ranked second nationally in passing yards per game (379.9) and third in total yards per game (520.2).

USC was looking for his assistance to bolster a passing attack that finished ranked 48th in the nation, averaging 249.1 yards per game– 103.2 yards behind Kingsbury’s squad in Lubbock. USC officially announced his arrival December 5 — and then the saga really began.

Just after the turn of the calendar to 2019, reports surfaced that USC athletic director Lynn Swann had denied NFL teams their request to interview Kingsbury. By the end of the day, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was reporting Kingsbury was considering the option of resigning and paying his buyout to pursue his NFL options.

On Saturday, two of the top offensive high school commits announced their intention to sign with the Trojans and become a part of Kingsbury’s air-raid scheme. Mater Dei’s Bru McCoy (No. 1 ATH according to 247Sports) has already enrolled in classes at USC and is locked into his choice; however, Orange Lutheran wide receiver Kyle Ford (No. 1 WR on West Coast) also announced his commitment to USC, but did not sign. He will be able to change his mind until he signs a letter of intent and Greg Biggins of 247Sports could see him as a prime target for other programs to poach.

“I am happy for Kliff,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “Any time you get an opportunity to be an NFL head coach, it is special. He is a talented coach. That’s why we brought him here. I wish him nothing but the best.

“USC has always attracted the best coaches in the country from all levels,” Helton said. “We will spend the upcoming weeks finding the best possible fit for USC and our program.”

On Monday afternoon, Kingsbury was removed from USC’s roster online. That same day, Colin Cowherd reported the Texas-native would be hired by the Cardinals.

Kingsbury will have a bevy of toys to play with as soon as he arrives in Arizona. The Cards have the No. 1 pick after a 3-13 campaign that saw them fire Steve Wilks after one season, along with St. John Bosco alum Josh Rosen, who will be entering his second year as the Cardinals QB. With future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald expected to announce his retirement this offseason, Christian Kirk will likely fill the top receiver position and running back David Johnson will return after his first fully healthy offseason in some years.