Southern California head football coach Clay Helton will return for the 2020 season.

The Trojans (8-4, 7-2 Pac-12) won five of their last six games in the regular season and are ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 22 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

"I am pleased to let you know Coach Helton will continue to be our head coach," athletic director Mike Bohn wrote on the USC athletics Twitter page on Wednesday. "His commitment to our student-athletes and to leading with integrity is vital to restoring our championship program, which is the goal for all of our teams."

Bohn told reporters that Helton "deserves to have the right to continue to lead this program. He's got the full grasp of his team. Recruiting is going dramatically better than anybody wants to admit," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Bohn said he had no discussions with any other possible head coaching candidates, the Times reported.

Helton, 47, was under scrutiny throughout the season after posting a 5-7 record in 2018, the program's worst mark since 2000.

He guided the Trojans to a 21-6 record during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, including a 52-49 win against Penn State in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, 2017.

In a statement, Helton said it is "abundantly clear that we now have the support, resources and tools to build a championship team. We know the expectations of our fans are high, as they should be. Those are the same expectations I have for myself and that our staff and team have as well.

"Our future is bright. We have a young team on the verge of doing something special. We have seen what this team can do, having the season we have had despite going through adversity and injuries. We are headed to a great bowl and we plan to finish the season strong."

Bohn, who was hired as AD last month, also said in his statement, "Coach Helton and I will work together to take a hard look at all aspects of the football enterprise and will make the tough decisions necessary to compete at a championship level."

USC capped the 2019 regular season with a 52-35 victory against rival UCLA on Nov. 23.

Helton signed an extension in February 2018 to coach the Trojans through the 2023 season.

--Field Level Media

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