The joke going around USC earlier this week was that when all athletic events were limited to only essential personnel, it meant Clay Helton would not be at football practices.
- There’s been a lot of coverage, justifiably, on the NCAA Tournament being canceled. But the USC women’s water polo and men’s tennis teams were ranked No. 1 in the nation and possibly lost national titles.
- With USC season-ticket sales already down, who changed their minds this week? The second deadline to renew tickets passed Wednesday and I didn’t hear of any fans who reversed their decision.
- USC QB Kedon Slovis showed up at a baseball game last weekend and gladly signed autographs, which endeared him to fans.
- The USC’s men’s and women’s track teams were in Albuquerque, N.M., for the NCAA indoor track championships, when the NCAA canceled all championships. The women’s team was No. 2 and thought it had an excellent chance to win an NCAA title.
- USC will still pay a portion of former assistant coach Greg Burns’ salary even though he was hired by Arizona. Whatever Arizona pays Burns will be deducted from what USC owes him. Former offensive coordinator Tee Martin is also still getting paid by USC even though he is at Tennessee.
And now some history:
- Did you know USC played a game at Yankee Stadium?
The No. 7-ranked Trojans defeated Army, 28-6, on Nov. 3, 1951. It was a cold day that featured snow and rain and only 16,108 fans attended the game. It also didn’t help that Army went 2-7 that season, five years past its glory days with Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, when the Cadets were 27-0-1.
There was also a famous honor code scandal at Army in the spring of 1951 and football players were among those discharged from the service academy, including Rams coach Ray Malavasi.
USC was led by Frank Gifford, who rushed for 138 yards, passed for 50 and kicked four extra points. Johnny Williams returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and fullback Harold Han scored a touchdown.
The New York Times wrote, “Neither rain nor mud nor the scrappiness of a hopelessly outclassed cadet 11 could stay the amazingly gifted and elusive Frank Gifford and his Trojan teammates.
“It was one of the worst drubbings a West Point 11 has ever suffered. In this unveiling here, Gifford demonstrated he is every inch the great football player he has been labeled.”
A 16-piece USC band and group of fans greeted the Trojans at the airport when they returned from New York.
- When USC signed future All-American safety Tim McDonald in 1983, there was some question if he would play quarterback?
“His whole career if he decides to come here is left open,” USC coach Ted Tollner said. “If he wants to stay quarterback he could become a top-flight quarterback for us.” McDonald passed for 2,740 yards with 31 touchdowns and rushed for 421 yards and four touchdowns his senior season at Edison High School in Fresno. His son, T.J., also played safety for USC.
- USC basketball coach Stan Morrison started an Adopt-a-Player’ program during the 1982-83 season to help lure fans: first prize was a keg of beer
- With the “Women of Troy” documentary on HBO this week, here’s a quote from USC coach Linda Sharp after winning the 1983 NCAA title.
“Pam and Paula McGee are the heart and soul of this team. Cheryl Miller is the catalyst, Kathy Doyle the experience, Rhonda Windham the glue and Cynthia Cooper the spirit,” Sharp said.
- Last weekend, USC honored the 1970 baseball team on its 50th anniversary. One member of the team that showed up was Dave Kingman, who was actually pitcher at the start of his college career before becoming an outfielder.
USC once faced the Dodgers in an exhibition game with the 6-foot, 6-inch Kingman on the mound. Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis was going to face Kingman when he saw the pitcher throwing wildly during warm-ups. Davis walked back to the dugout and said he was taking the day off. In 1969, Kingman was 11-4 with a 1.38 ERA.