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We Want You In Our Lives Forever: An Open Love Letter to USC Head Coach Clay Helton

Long live one of the greatest romances of all-time — Notre Dame football fans and USC coach Clay Helton

Photoshopped in PowerPoint by Pat Rick, believe it or not!

My dearest Claythan,

It seems like just yesterday that our good mutual friend Lane introduced us based on a hunch he had that we’d vibe together, and yet it’s somehow been 11 crazy years since you first came into our Notre Dame Fighting Irish football lives as a member of the USC Trojans coaching staff.

Before our meet-cute on that rainy Saturday night in 2010 (remember how frazzled you were when we first saw you, as you tried to QB-coach Mitch Mustain to a victory??? LOL), we’d had a rough go of it, in terms of our relationships with USC coaches.

Our ex, Pete, was downright abusive in the 9 years we were seeing him (abusive both toward us and toward several NCAA regulations, might I add), and it took us a strange relationship with Lane (we were always better as friends, TBH) and weird rebound hookups with Ed (wouldn’t stop yelling about gumbo) and Steve (yikes...rock bottom for us) before we were really in the right headspace to go steady with you.

USC v Oregon State Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

But boy, has it been worth it! We will have officially been together for 6 years this October when you come back to good ole South Bend, and we count our blessings every day knowing that we now have you taking care of us and loving us for who we are.

You don’t get mad about our annoying habits — e.g. beating you 4 out of 5 times since you took over and 7 of 10 since you got to USC (sorry about that, our little Helty-Welty!) — and you always see to it that even when you recruit higher-rated talent than us, you rarely rub it in our faces by being at all successful in developing and deploying that talent on the field. That hasn’t gone unnoticed, you beautiful soul — what a wonderful, selfless gesture!

And through all of the turmoil you’ve gone through on your side, you never threaten to leave us — we feel as safe and secure as ever that you will be on the opposite sideline every October/November, refusing to use your endless supply of 5-star WRs, QBs, and DBs to ever truly compete with the best programs in the country. That reliability has meant so much to us, considering the numerous Trojans we tore through before you.*


Remember our first October evening together? How you treated us to all our favorite delicacies? That Equanimeous St. Brown blocked punt was perfectly cooked, and that Corey Robinson touchdown catch was positively scrumptious. And the KeiVarae Russell diving interception? *Chef’s Kiss*

We had that rough patch a year later (don’t remind me, amiright??), but we couldn’t be more appreciative of how determined you were to make it up to us afterward.

All those Wimbush and Adams touchdowns, the Watkins pick, the Kevin Stepherson sighting — you really knew how to curry favor with us once again.

2018 and 2019 seem like forever ago, but those were exceptional times we shared together as well. Remember when your defenders kept giving Dexter Williams all the open field in the world, and we laughed until we cried??

And remember the goosebumps we got when Tony Jones Jr., of all people, scampered long distance to officially earn us a playoff bid? And that Braden Lenzy run a year later — how electric was that??

We’ve shared some incredible memories, haven’t we? And it truly seems like what we have is strong enough to ensure we share many, many more.

Ya know, there’s a pretty obscure Bible verse that we heard the other day, and we couldn’t help but be reminded of you. It’s from First Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-8.

It reads:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others actually serve as a threat to defeat its rival, it is not self-seeking ever a real playoff contender, it is not easily angered lost to with an undefeated regular season on the line, it keeps no record of wrongs rivalry games that it should be more competitive in.

Love does not delight in evil tackling Theo Riddick but rejoices with the truth Will Fuller burning Adoree Jackson. It always protects lets Dex run wild, always trusts fails to take a good angle of pursuit on Lenzy, always hopes provides Adams a huge lane to gallop through, always perseveres in letting Tuitt freely attack the quarterback.

Love never fails (to lose to the Irish).”

We love you, Clay — and we hope we get to be together forever. You’re simply the best USC coach for us, in every way.

We can’t wait to see you, and will be counting the days until we can hold yours and your team’s collective dignity in our hands once again following yet another rivalry win.

Sincerely yours,

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program and its fans

P.S. We got you something new/special this year, due to not being able to see you last season — it’s called a Chris Tyree, and we think you’re gonna absolutely love seeing the back of him this October <3