Some Colorful USC-Notre Dame Stories

USC president John Hubbard (left) and John McKay

With USC facing Notre Dame, it’s worth revisiting this story on former USC president John Hubbard.

Hubbard led a colorful life. But this story only adds to the legend.

A former USC athletic dept. official told me that after USC played Notre Dame in the early 1970’s, Hubbard flew back to Los Angeles on the team plane.

But then he disappeared for two weeks.

“They couldn’t find him,” the official said. “They eventually found him in Germany on a bender.”

Those were the days. Before social media. Or cell phones. A member of the Board of Trustees at the time told the official that Hubbard was warned to change his behavior after the incident. 

By the way, here is an interesting recent account of how Hubbard threatened to pull USC out of the Pac-8 in the 1970’s in order to get Arizona and Arizona State admitted into the conferenc.

Here’s a bonus story:

  • After USC lost to Notre Dame, 51-0, in 1966 at the Coliseum, John McKay had little desire to go to the old Sheraton-Town House hotel on Wilshire Blvd., where he would go after home games to talk to boosters.
  • McKay stayed in the locker room for so long after the game that stadium staff informed him they were turning out the lights. When McKay and assistant coach Dave Levy walked up the tunnel, there were no fans around. Or even wives, who had cars.
  • Instead of trying to get a taxi or going back to USC, McKay and Levy walked to the Town House via Vermont Ave. That’s about 4.5 miles. By the time the pair got to the hotel, there were about 15 boosters left to hear McKay speak.

13 thoughts on “Some Colorful USC-Notre Dame Stories

  1. This is vintage Scott. Nobody does this week better.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This blog is actually somewhat entertaining this week.

    You need to continue this for some games this season. For sure a “Some Colorful USC – UCLA Stories” post and maybe a “Colorful Homecoming Stories” post, too.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scott is hoping to do a UCLA week —but a lot depends on whether rumors of UCLA cancelling remainder of season are true or not….

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hear! Hear!, Marvienna.

      It is a magical place, the Notre Dame campus and stadium, or perhaps that is because I choose to see it that way. But their fans are like no others I have encountered throughout the nation. In 1989 they willed their team to victory, 25-24. Trailing by 21 in the second half, the fans were screaming and rooting for–first downs! First downs! And they got them.

      And then, and this can only happen with the ‘luck of the Irish,’ but the wind was blowing in SC’s face all through the first half. So in the second half the wind shifts, magically switches sides, and continues to blow in Troy’s face, which aided ND’s kickers. Is that a kick!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been to Notre Dame stadium for a USC game and it really is the epitome of college football in the fall. There is no better college football atmosphere anywhere.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. 1989 was 28-24 it was a classic between two great teams. SC couldn’t get it in from ND 10 late.
        1999 was wind change game when a Hackett team played unreal football for once and blew a big lead late

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Another thing about this game is that USC and Notre Dame are two of three teams (Penn State is the other) where they don’t put player names on the home and road jersey for both teams.

    So, when you watch the game you could squint really hard and actually think you’re watching an old school/back in the day/almost leather helmets game from a century ago.

    This game is as classic as it gets.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. After 6 tries I finally got my 1st win in SB in 2003 and it was wonderful
    Then that crazy 2005 game where no one wins but that great USC team despite a crazy crowd a jacked Irish team and dumb ass Kiffin calling crappy plays
    Great shutout win in 2007 and hang on for dear life in 2009
    Haven’t been back due to horrible SC coaches lately

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to say that linked article per the history of how AZ St and AZ were added to create the Pac-10 in 1976 is really worth reading. I had heard about WA being a ‘block’ but I didn’t know that Stanford was the other one trying to prevent admittance by AZ and AZ St. USC Pres. John Hubbard comes out as a very very shrewd negotiator and also equally prudent in having UCLA tech Chancellor Charles Young as his ‘frontman’. I had heard of the threat made that USC would leave the Pac-8 if a unanimous vote was not achieved and also how UCLA, when approached, immediately agreed to pull out of the Pac-8 as well.

    Good find Scott and worth the time – published late August 2018

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That ’66 game was a tough one to sit through,,,ND fans all over the place going ‘nuts’ my brother and I had a long drive home…guess John and Dave also…SC had a decent team and Clarence Davis was a fine running back,but we did not have a q/b ready for them, and obviously defense had no answers. To add insult to injury they used 2nd string q/b entire game.


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