If the USC Trojans’ next head coach comes from the NFL, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn could be a surprising name to potentially land the job.
As USC conducts an exhaustive search to find the next leader of its football program, everyone connected to the university is exploring potential coaching options. That reportedly includes USC boosters, who are looking to the former Los Angeles Chargers head coach.
According to NFL Media’s Jim Trotter, Trojans’ boosters have reached out to Lynn to gauge his interest in becoming the program’s head coach. While the school itself hasn’t communicated with Lynn, he reportedly left boosters with the impression he would be interested in the gig.
Lynn isn’t the first NFL offensive coordinator to be mentioned for the university’s vacancy. Kansas City Chiefs coordinator Eric Bieniemy is viewed as a potential target by the program and there is mutual interest. Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has also been floated as a candidate, but he shot down speculation he might leave less than a year after joining the NFL.
Unlike many of the candidates thrown out for the Trojans’ coaching job, Lynn doesn’t have experience coaching at the collegiate level.
He played running back at Texas Tech and was not selected in the 1992 NFL Draft. After bouncing around NFL rosters from 1992-99, he joined the Denver Broncos as a special teams assistant in 2000. He spent the next decade climbing the coaching ladder.
While the 52-year-old has never coached at the collegiate level, he brings plenty of NFL experience. He served as a running backs coach from 2003-14 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.
Lynn was named the Jets’ assistant head coach in 2013 and held the position for two years until taking the same role with the Buffalo Bills. After two years in Buffalo, he was hired as the Chargers’ head coach.
While the Chargers ultimately fired him in 2020, Lynn was beloved by players and held a tremendous amount of respect within the organization. Throughout his stops in the NFL, there is universal praise for his ability to build relationships with players and he is credited with helping in the development of several running backs.
While USC might have candidates it prefers more, there is an appeal with Lynn. He’s very familiar with the region, his NFL background would help with recruiting and his emphasis on winning with the run might appeal to many of USC’s boosters looking for a more classic offense.
Given the lack of collegiate experience, though, the Trojans would need to devote significant money to building a strong coaching staff around him.