Tyson Helton
    Tyson  Helton

    Quarterbacks / Pass Game Coordinator


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    Tyson Helton, the younger brother of USC head coach Clay Helton, is in his second season as USC’s quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator. He joined the USC staff in January of 2016.

    In 2016, he was named the FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year. USC was ninth nationally in completion percentage (65.7) and 25th in both passing efficiency (149.6) and pass offense (276.4). Quarterback Sam Darnold won the Archie Griffin Award, was a Manning Award finalist, was the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and was the Rose Bowl MVP while completing 67.2% of his passes and throwing 31 TDs.

    Before coming to USC, he spent the previous 2 years (2014-15) as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Kentucky. WKU broke more than two dozen school offensive records under Helton, including the points scored record in each of his 2 years. The Hilltopper offense was in the national Top 10 in 2015 in passing efficiency (first at 177.4), scoring (third at 44.3), passing (fourth at 372.2), first downs (eighth at 349) and total yards (ninth at 526.4). The Conference USA champions went 12-2 in 2015 (tying a school wins record) and were ranked 24th by AP after posting a victory in the Miami Beach Bowl. In 2014, WKU became the first NCAA program with a 4,500-yard passer and 1,500-yard rusher while winning the Bahamas Bowl to finish 8-4. That season, they were second nationally in passing (374.3), fourth in total offense (534.6) and sixth in scoring offense (44.4) and first downs (351).

    Helton, 39, was among 4 finalists for the 2015 Offensive Coordinator of the Year Award. He coached quarterback Brandon Doughty to back-to-back Conference USA MVP honors as he threw 97 touchdown passes in 2014 and 2015 (the most in NCAA history in consecutive seasons). Doughty led the nation in 2015 in completion percentage (71.9%), passing TDs (48), passing yards (5,055) and points responsible for (304) while ranking second in passing efficiency (176.5). That came off a 2014 campaign in which he threw for national bests of 4,830 yards and 49 TDs while winning the Sammy Baugh Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus as the nation’s top quarterback. Hilltopper wide receiver Taywan Taylor ranked second in the nation in 2015 in receiving TDs (17) and was third in receiving yards (1,467), both school season records as was his 86 receptions. Fellow receiver Jared Dangerfield had 82 catches in 2015, second most in school history.

    Helton came to Western Kentucky after spending 2013 as Cincinnati’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Cincinnati set a school season total offense record (6,137 yards) as Helton coached tight end Blake Annen and kick returner Ralph David Abernathy IV to All-American Athletic Conference first team honors.

    He spent the previous 6 seasons (2007-12) at Alabama Birmingham, the first 5 years as the quarterbacks coach and then 2012 coaching the running backs and serving as the recruiting coordinator. Under Helton’s guidance, Joe Webb developed into one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NCAA history. In 2009, when he finished sixth nationally in total offense and ninth in passing efficiency, Webb became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. The 2009 and 2010 Blazer offenses produced the two highest total offense yardage totals in UAB history, both topping 5,000 yards. Then in 2012, running back Darrin Reaves was an All-Conference USA first teamer as he ran for 1,037 yards and a school-record 13 scores.

    Helton coached tight ends and special teams at Memphis for 3 years (2004-06). Tigers’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who established the school career scoring record, was Conference USA’s Special Teams Player of the Year in 2005 and played in the NFL.

    Helton began his coaching career at Hawaii for 4 years (2000-03), the first year as a graduate assistant working with the special teams and the final 3 seasons as the special teams coach. In 2001, his first as a full-time coach, the Warriors led the nation in kickoff return yardage and broke the NCAA record for season kickoff return average. Return specialist Chad Owens set NCAA game records for most combined return yardage and most kickoff return yardage and tied an NCAA record with 2 scoring kick returns in a game.

    Helton played quarterback at Houston (1996-99), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1999, after starring at Clements High in Sugar Land (Tex.). His father, Kim, was the head coach at Houston during Tyson’s tenure.

    He was born on June 20, 1977. He and his wife, April, have 2 daughters, Shelby Grace, 12, and Presley, 10, and 6-year-old twin boys, Cole and Clay. Besides being Houston’s head coach (1993-99), his father, Kim, was an assistant in college (Florida, Miami and Alabama Birmingham), the NFL (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Raiders, Washington Redskins) and CFL (Toronto Argonauts).


    BIRTHDAY: June 20, 1977
    FAMILY: Wife, April; Daughters, Shelby Grace, 12, and Presley, 10; Twin Sons, Cole and Clay, 6
    HIGH SCHOOL: Clements HS, Sugar Land, Tex.
    EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, business, Houston, 1999
    PLAYING EXPERIENCE: Clements HS, Sugar Land, Tex.
    Houston, quarterback, 1996-99

    2000 Hawaii Graduate Assistant/Special Teams --
    2001 Hawaii Special Teams --
    2002 Hawaii Special Teams Hawaii
    2003 Hawaii Special Teams Hawaii
    2004 Memphis Tight Ends/Special Teams GMAC
    2005 Memphis Tight Ends/Special Teams Motor City
    2006 Memphis Tight Ends/Special Teams --
    2007 Alabama-Birmingham Quarterbacks --
    2008 Alabama-Birmingham Quarterbacks --
    2009 Alabama-Birmingham Quarterbacks --
    2010 Alabama-Birmingham Quarterbacks --
    2011 Alabama-Birmingham Quarterbacks --
    2012 Alabama-Birmingham Running Backs --
    2013 Cincinnati Special Teams Coord./Tight Ends Belk
    2014 Western Kentucky Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Bahamas
    2015 Western Kentucky Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Miami Beach
    2016 USC Quarterbacks/Pass Game Coord. Rose
    NFL STARS: Joe Webb, Steven Gostkowski