If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

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.

USC QB Dean Schneider attempts a pass against Army at Yankee Stadium.
  • 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.

USC women’s basketball celebrates its national title in 1983
  • 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.

14 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. I’m sorry folks Scott has shot his wad for the weekend. The only news here on out is there is no news. Check back next week to see if total world domination has been achieved by a microscopic virus named after a beer


    1. You don’t consider USC being robbed of the men’s tennis, women’s indoor and outdoor track and women’s water polo NCAA titles to be news?

      Liked by 5 people

    1. Remember Jack Nicholson calling the imaginary game for the inmates in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. 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.”

    Hard to believe that was the NY Times. How this story would read if these teams played a few years from now:

    “Despite the devastation of climate change-induced downpours, a team representing a military institution desperately in need of social and cultural change, performed competitively in an archaic and dangerous event that some still consider sport. The Times chooses not to report the score so as not to promote more individuals regardless of gender specificity from participating.”

    Caveat: totally tongue in cheek, hope it produces a smile.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Beautiful. But I think we have to add, “it has been reported that players from one of the two teams have been reported to have secret ties to a foreign power —the game may be over but the results will forever be questioned.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. P. S.
        My wife’s relatives are now on island — I’ve been trying everything to get out of spending one minute with them. This morning it hit me…
        [By the way, when I heard the language employed by the Disney Executives to justify closing the parks — “time to be proactive, not reactive” —I realized this was the politically correct Hollywood/Washington D. C. phrase used to explain all closures —and, therefore, naturally the one used by Helton. The message could have been relayed in a thousand different ways —but Clay had to use the officially approved buzz words….one more sign that he NEVER thinks for himself —when and if Saban ends spring camp, he won’t mention proactivity or reactivity]…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Michael, “Monkey Pod” has sort of an isolationist right to it from the get-go.

        “No, Honey, I am not going to the Maui Brewery where I might come in contact with people. The isolation of the Monkey Pod is my solitary journey for today.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. MG
        Are you sure that a 75yr old itralian in levis at the bar is a good look? Bring 3 coeds with you. You’ll be the star.


        Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe that exhibition game vs the Dodgers was the one at Dodger Stadium that drew over 50,000 fans. USC won that game. If I remember correctly the Trojans had an advantage as the Dodgers regulars only played 2 or 3 innings and they used mostly Minor Leaguers.


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