John McKay Did Not Like Stanford

Former USC coach John McKay did not like Stanford.

“Stanford was not his favorite,” said McKay’s long-time USC assistant, Dave Levy. “He felt they were a little arrogant. Stanford gave him the needle. He used to say, `I like (Stanford coach) John Ralston when we beat them. I don’t like him when we lose to them.’ ”

McKay’s ire reached in the early 1970’s when he said after a game, “I’d like to have beaten them by 2,000 points. They have no class.”

That led to a priceless cartoon above from the Stanford Daily the following year, which shows USC leading Stanford, 1,992-0, and McKay telling Pat Haden if the Trojans score on the final play, “We go for two.”

The feud with Ralston even continued when McKay went to the NFL in 1976. McKay was in his first season coaching the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ralston coached the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos won, 48-13, and McKay refused to shake hands with Ralston. McKay accused Denver of running up the score.

“I have been in the other position a lot more than that horse’s ass,” McKay said of Ralston. “I don’t like any part of him. His day is coming.”

Ralston denied running up the score: “I guess John has forgotten about some of those games when his USC teams pounded on my Stanford bunch and on other Pacific Coast Conference opponents. I can’t ever remember him taking out O.J. (Simpson) when he had us on the run.”

So the coaching feud did not start with Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh.


12 thoughts on “John McKay Did Not Like Stanford

  1. Between Ralston and Harbaugh, I’d rather take Ralston. Harbaugh is a total punk who was much more vocal about his hatred for USC. And he took a certain glee in beating the Trojans. I hope Urban Meyer turns him out one more time in the rivalry game before UM fires him this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One thing to watch Saturday are the penalties. Stanford was only penalized 3 times for 20 yards versus San Diego St. San Diego State was penalized 11 times for 125 yards. Watching the game, I recall saying to myself, “this crew looks like Stanford men.”


  3. He had those two back-to-back victories (1970-71) over USC but he knew the bloom was off the rose as 1972 loomed – he moved on to coach the Denver Broncos. That article Puidly cited per Jimmy Jones noted Jones was drafted by the Broncos and hoped to play QB but was relegated to tailback. Ralston was a mean son of a ‘you know what’. BTW John Ralston was the first Scientologist, while coach at Stanford, I had ever heard of.


  4. Beat the Injuns about 120-12. They will kick four field goals. Love the music their band plays though. Take a chainsaw to the tree. Bring a dog and let it relieve itself against the tree.


  5. Please don’t post that cartoon again, Scott. The last time I recall you posting that was 2007, and that didn’t turn out so well for us. :-/


  6. Stanford is still smarting over the locomotive bell that USC has that Stanford donated to UCLA. It was from a Southern Pacific locomotive bell that USC pranksters stole from UCLA. Leland Stanford was owner of the railroad that became Southern Pacific.
    But USC has the real beef as Stanford sought to bar USC from the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t forget the ‘vow boys’ 1933-35 – my father was a 1938 grad from ‘the farm’ but got his JD at USC (June 1941). He always had affection for USC over Stanford which is unusual – most have the connection to their undergrad. he said he got tired watching Stanford becoming more and more ‘lib’ as the years went by.


    2. BTW Steve I never knew that is the pedigree of the ‘Victory Bell’ – Stanford gave it to them? Well it beats that stunt they stole Cal’s fight song…but Cal’s old ‘The Dirty Golden Bear’ is still a much better tune than the one bel-air tech heisted.


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