Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is slated to join USC’s football staff in a role working with quarterbacks, sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Monday.
The timeline of Kingsbury joining USC and his specific role is expected to come together in the upcoming 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, making the playoffs once.
Joining coach Lincoln Riley’s staff at USC will mark a return to the Trojans for the 43-year-old Kingsbury. In December 2018, then-USC head coach Clay Helton hired Kingsbury to be the school’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before Kingsbury departed for Arizona in January 2019.
“Lincoln has been looking for ways to explore getting better,” a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “Lincoln is 100 percent focused on doing everything he can to make his team better, and this is an example of it.”
Kingsbury spent six seasons as Texas Tech’s head coach, going 35-40 from 2013 through 2018 and guiding 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 the top quarterbacks in college football, as he coached Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, Johnny Manziel during his Heisman Trophy season in 2012 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 prospects in next year’s NFL draft.
“This is a Lincoln-led effort,” a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “He’s going to attract elite talent in coaching and he wants to do everything he can to make his team better.”
USC does have an open quality control position working with quarterbacks. The school brought in veteran NFL assistant Will Harriger last year, in part, to work with Williams and help him with NFL concepts and preparation. Harriger has since left for a job with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s unclear what specific role Kingsbury will have, but that spot of a veteran quarterback coach with NFL experience has been vacant at USC.
Kingsbury’s contract with the Cardinals ran through 2027, as he got fired 10 months after signing a six-year extension. That means that the vast portion of his income is still expected to come from the NFL.
NFL Network first reported that Kingsbury would join the Trojans’ staff.