It will be fascinating to see what type of “belt-tightening” measures USC undertakes in light of its $1.1 billion payout in the George Tyndall scandal.
But as usual, a beneficiary might be the luckiest man in the country, Clay Helton.
Will it be able to afford to buy out Helton under the current atmosphere?
And when I say afford, I don’t mean literally. It’s all about perception at USC and will the administration want to be seen spending millions to buy out a football coach while ordering academic depts. to cut the budget?
Think about that. Can you imagine school president Carol Folt approving a buyout for Helton that might infuriate other constituencies? Keep in mind Folt also said USC’s lost $200 million because of COVID-19. I only see Helton smiling as I write this.
One option is to have a mega-donor buy out Helton. That’s an idea Folt opposed in 2019, but maybe she will change her tune in light of the current fiscal constraints.
- I wonder if the football staff hiring spree will be affected at all? Not that there are any positions left.
- It’s no coincidence USC embraced work-at-home policies in a memo the day before, which save money.
- Do you think Folt would still get her $8.5 million house in Santa Monica today?
- USC Pro Day brought out some names from the past: linebacker John Houston and receiver/cornerback Dominic Davis worked out along with wide receiver Matthew Hocum.
- Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is still taking classes at USC and still in the transfer portal. Does he intend to actually transfer? He obviously doesn’t care about participating in spring practice at another school.
- Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at USC Pro Day. The NFL scouts/coaches then get together and compare times and come up with an “official time.” They gave Brown 4.59 seconds.
- New UCLA strength coach Keith Belton should be motivated to face USC on Nov. 20. A USC source reminded me that Helton asked Belton to run the strength program after Ivan Lewis left only to then hire Aaron Ausmus.
- Former USC forward J’Raan Brooks, who spent the past season at Washington, is back in the transfer portal.
- The Galen Center opened in 2006. If you told me USC would go to the Sweet 16 two times in the next 15 years, I would say that was a poor return. Especially when the Trojans went in 2007.
This was the conventional wisdom in 1985, when former USC player Jerry Pimm, who coached at Utah and UC Santa Barbara, addressed the arena situation.
“The thing that’s kept ‘SC back is the fact that they don’t have an arena on campus. They could be nationally recognized every year if they had an arena on campus,” Pimm said.
The arena hasn’t revolutionized the basketball program the way some expected but one could argue probation and coaching hires have made a bigger impact.
And now for some history:
- Above is one of my favorite USC players during a football practice in 1980? Can you guess his name? I will reveal it in the USC newsletter later today.
- When John Robinson was on top of his game during his first stint at USC, he delivered this quote in 1981 about whether the Trojans would go to a bowl game?
“You go to a bowl to have fun,” Robinson said. “The powers that be think that you feed a kid a chicken-and-peas dinner and have him listen to some old fart, and they think he’s having fun.”
USC ended up going to the Fiesta Bowl and playing Penn State.
- I tweeted this photo of USC forward Purvis Miller earlier this week and could not resist running it again. I wrote about my soft spot for Miller here.
Miller averaged 16.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists his junior season in 1979-80. He led USC in rebounding in 17 of 27 games. He led USC in scoring and rebounding in 10 games.
Miller had 24 points and 10 rebounds at 19th-ranked Missouri. Then 26 points and 11 rebounds vs. West Texas State. And 28 points and 10 rebounds vs. New Mexico before 15,115 at The Pit. USC won, 82-79.
The picture is from 1979 is the USC-Rice game at the Bluebonnet Classic. The game was played at The Summit in Houston. Thankfully, some color photos were taken because you couldn’t get lighting like this at the Sports Arena in those days. And this is a fantastic USC uniform.
- OK, if you thought identifying the football player above was easy, how about this USC basketball player? I will also ID him in the newsletter.
This photo is the San Diego Hoover High School baseball team circa 1935-36. In Row 1 (third from left), you have USC football player Bob DeLauer, who later played for the Rams. In Row 3 (second from left), you have Roy Engle, a USC football-baseball player, who became head football and baseball coach at UC Santa Barbara.
Now keep scanning Row 3. The tall guy in the center: That is the one and only Ted Williams. Nothing else needs to be said.
If you don’t remember Roy Engle, you might recall his son, Dave Engle, who played baseball at USC and then played with the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and Montreal Expos.
Dave Engle was also one of four players the Angels traded to the Twins for Rod Carew in 1979.