Wasn’t it interesting that USC fired offensive line coach Tim Drevno and strength coach Aaron Ausmus two days before Christmas and apparently never had an intention of mentioning it?
Worse was Clay Helton telling Ausmus he did a great job and firing him three days later.
Helton loves to fire coaches but when does the culture change?
The players don’t respect him or particularly like playing for him.
He’s replaced every coach in the past two years and the perception hasn’t changed among the players. He is not trusted. So the culture is the same.
All you had to do was watch games in 2020 to see USC had the same malaise Helton teams always have.
What would happen if Kedon Slovis got tired of it?
That might wake some people up.
- Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the school’s third Heisman Trophy since 2009. It reminds me how USC had three winners in four years (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush).
Media like myself just became accustomed to going to New York every December for the Heisman ceremony. The first time in 2002, I was part of a small group (around 10 people) that went out with the low-key Palmer afterward to a Manhattan restaurant and drank champagne. I don’t think anyone recognized him.
A USC official wasn’t happy when I wrote about the cost of the champagne.
Two years later, it was much different atmosphere. A group that included Leinart, Bush, Adrian Peterson and Alex Smith went to an exclusive club after the ceremony in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Kirk Herbstreit was there too. No one left until the club closed.
I remember then-Utah coach Urban Meyer was in Smith’s limo but he refused to enter the club and went back to his hotel. Probably a smart move.
Pete Carroll? He was in L.A.
Carroll always ran USC’s bowl practice on the Saturday the ceremony took place, then flew out to New York for the official dinner on Monday night.
- I bet you could have quite a conversation if you gathered all 14 assistant coaches Clay Helton fired at USC.
- USC basketball recorded its first win at McKale Center since 2008 and most lopsided victory in Tucson since 1927. Also, the smallest crowd in history.
- And now for some history:
Here’s a picture of Bob Boyd and Paul Westphal in 2014 at the Galen Center.
Westphal was so good, he could have gone anywhere and it came down to perennial champion UCLA and USC.
“I wanted to play on a national championship team,” Westphal said in 1969. “I liked the USC school best, and I felt I had a chance for a national championship at either. But if I were on a championship team at UCLA, well, they’ve had the teams with Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich and now Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). At USC it would be the first national championship and would have more distinction.”
- Here is what John Wooden said about Westphal:
“In my career as a teacher and coach at UCLA, the most valuable recruit we ever lost was Paul Westphal.
“He’s the one who got away. He attended all my basketball camps, and I was sure he was going to come to UCLA. He changed his mind at the very last moment and went to USC.
“Paul has said that because we were doing very well at that time, he thought it would be better to help somebody else get in that spot and knock us off rather than just coming to UCLA and help us continue
“I’ve seen a lot of basketball players, and Paul Westphal is the only one who from what I saw was truly ambidextrous. I’ve had a lot of them who were pretty good with the off-hand. But you could tell whether they were left-handed or right-handed. With Paul, I believe that he could have shot with either hand and it would have looked exactly the same.”
- About a week after kicking the game-winning field goal against Stanford in 1953, USC kicker Sam Tsagalakis was such a big star he got taken to Paramount Studios to meet King Paul of Greece.
Now something momentous happened when King Paul and his wife, Queen Frederica, went to the USC-UCLA game at the Coliseum the following week. They watched the game from the pressbox, one of the few times a woman was allowed into the pressbox before 1974.
Believe it or not, this was the Coliseum policy until 1974.
“Women and children are NOT admitted to the press box.”
Just to be clear, women referred to female reporters. So what happened if a female journalist wanted to cover a game? In the early 1960’s, the highly respected sportswriter Jeane Hoffman wanted to attend a USC game. She was given two tickets to sit outside the press box.
One of the excuses for keeping women out was that the male sportswriters used too much profanity during the games.
- By the way, why did USC write an obituary for Tsagalakis but not for tailback Manfred Moore or his brother Kenny Moore? Or for QB Bill Nelsen, who had a more successful college and NFL career?