When Jeff Cravath was forced to resign as USC football coach in 1950, there was a lot of speculation he would be replaced by Paul Brown, coach of the NFL champion Cleveland Browns.
He was a co-founder of the Browns and the team was named after him. It would have been a huge hire. Brown had even coached at Ohio State from 1941-43 (Sound familiar?). But Brown dismissed the idea.
Another candidate was Charlie Caldwell, who led Princeton to a perfect 9-0 season and Ivy League title.
When it came time to hire a coach, former USC assistant and then-track coach Jess Hill was promoted to USC head coach.
“When they promoted Hill, the athletic board had not considered him,” a USC athletic dept. employee at the time told me. “Someone said, `How about (USC track coach) Jess Hill?’ Another said: `Why I never thought of him.’ ”
When Hill decided to resign in 1956, marquee names like Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma) and Duffy Daugherty (Michigan State) were considered leading candidates. Also a strong candidate was former USC great Tay Brown, who took Compton College to five Junior Rose Bowls.
But USC promoted assistant coach Don Clark, who was a former player.