Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is set to join the USC football staff in a role working with quarterbacks, sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel Monday.
The timeline for Kingsbury to join USC and his specific role is expected to come together in the coming weeks, sources told Thamel.
Kingsbury was fired by the Cardinals in January after a 4-13 season. He went 28-37-1 in four years with Arizona and made the playoffs once.
Kingsbury’s move to coach Lincoln Riley’s USC team means a return to the Trojans for the 43-year-old. In December 2018, then-USC head coach Clay Helton hired Kingsbury as the school’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before Kingsbury’s departure for Arizona in January 2019.
“Lincoln has been looking for ways to do better,” a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “Lincoln is 100 percent focused on doing whatever it takes to make their team better, and this is an example of that.”
Kingsbury spent six seasons as Texas Tech’s head coach, went 35–40 from 2013 to 2018 and led the school to three bowl games. He also spent two seasons as Houston’s co-offensive coordinator and one season in the OC role at Texas A&M.
Kingsbury has experience working with some of college football’s best quarterbacks, coaching Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, Johnny Manziel during his 2012 Heisman Trophy season at Texas A&M, and Case Keenum at Houston.
At USC, Kingsbury will have the opportunity to work with reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, a junior who will be one of the top picks in next year’s NFL draft.
“This is a Lincoln-led effort,” a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “He will attract elite talent in the coaching field and he wants to do whatever it takes to make his team better.”
USC has an open quality control position working with quarterbacks. The school partially brought in veteran NFL assistant Will Harriger last year to work with Williams and help him with NFL concepts and prep. Harriger has since left for a job with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s unclear what specific role Kingsbury will play, but that spot of a veteran quarterback coach with NFL experience was vacant at USC.
Kingsbury’s contract with the Cardinals ran until 2027 because he was fired 10 months after signing a six-year extension. That means most of his income is expected to continue to come from the NFL.
NFL Network first reported that Kingsbury would join the Trojans.