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

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.

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

  1. Wolf,
    You probably already know this but if not check it out. Rod Carew and the story of his heart transplant.
    A sad but inspiring and impactful story with a cool twist.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sometimes, after knocking out the always impressive Friday column, Scott pulls off his t-shirt, reveals the red and yellow “S” beneath it and rescues a kitty in a tree or lands a 747 that’s lost an engine….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good write up on former USC basketball player Purvis Miller. He was a very physical player who came to battle each and every game. He was an Adrian Dantley kind of inside player who could really rebound, and score inside. He also played with former USC Center Cliff Robinson who probably was just as talented as Evan Mobley if not more so.
    Sadly, Purvis Miller was murdered by a former friend who held a grudge for many years, and took his life when he returned to his old neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas to visit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those Trojan hoops teams in the late 70’s and early 80’s (when I was on campus) were underappreciated. Larry Friend, Cliff Robinson. Purvis.

      Sadly, many have passed away.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Larry Friend, a 3-year starting point guard at USC in the mid-1980s who set school records for assists in a game, season and career, died of cancer on Tuesday (May 15) in Anaheim, Calif. He was 54.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Folt isn’t going to ask a booster for money, not going to be beholden to them

    Folt is the queen of WOKE, the BOT would still buy her that house.

    Miller was a tough SOB, elbowed Kimberly Belton, their best player, in the head one night at Maples Pavilion, knocked him loopy

    Anyone wanna guess who Wolf’s coach contact is from this list ?

    Clay Helton Head Coach
    Graham Harrell Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks
    Todd Orlando Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
    Sean Snyder Special Teams Coordinator
    Keary Colbert Wide Receivers
    Mike Jinks Running Backs
    Craig Naivar Safeties
    Donte Williams Cornerbacks / Pass Game Coordinator
    Clay McGuire Offensive Line
    Vic So’oto Defensive Line
    Seth Doege Tight Ends
    Stanton Keane Offensive Graduate Assistant
    Viane Talamaivao Offensive Graduate Assistant
    Aaron Williams Defensive Graduate Assistant
    Steve Murillo Offensive Quality Control Analyst
    Lenny Vandermade Offensive Quality Control Analyst
    Dane Stevens Offensive Quality Control Analyst
    Brett Arce Defensive Quality Control Analyst
    Shawn Howe Defensive Quality Control Analyst
    Michael Hutchings Defensive Quality Control Analyst
    Jake Dusenbury Special Teams Quality Control Analyst
    Robert Stiner Director of Football Sports Performance
    Ian Bures Assistant Director of Football Sports Performance
    Chad Smith Assistant Director of Football Sports Performance
    Adrian Briones Assistant Football Sports Performance Coach
    Zaviar Gooden Assistant Football Sports Performance Coach

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble —but it’s everybody on the list except for the guy at the very top.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is that why he’s been seen having brunch in Beverly Hills with Harrell and Orlando every Sunday since December…?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 67, he’s getting his info from KC for sure, maybe LVM, most of these other coaches are from Texas and he has no connection to them.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Youhave enough coaches/employees to field a team. Way overkill with Sports Performance Coaches and Defensive Quality Control Analyst. Get rid of two from each group.


    1. True Story:
      Marcus Allen to Helton team before kickoff a few years back: “We play a special brand of football here. We kick your ass.”

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Ducks are another 3 guard, 2 forward starting lineup and both forwards are 6’6″. Isiah will have a 4″ height advantage and 35 pounds on the guy guarding him. Could create lots of opportunities, including what we saw during the second half against Drake when USC cleared out for Isiah to go inside and score easily over a small defender.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sunday is so HUGE, 67. We’re the better team —just hope we can get past the distractions of untimely university admission of massive liability, tuition hikes, ESPN stories of Trojan disrespect for Ducks, Andy’s war with CBS, etc……

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I really have no idea why they released that now. Given the size of the settlement, it will obviously get enormous media attention. Folt and Caruso do it again…

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Especially if our wings get hot again, knocking down a couple of threes early. Isaiah didn’t play the first time and will make it harder to double and triple little brother.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was thinking the same thing. We’re ready to go. All we need to do is play the kind of basketball we’ve been playing since this tournament began and everything SHOULD be fine…..

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Their defense vs. Kansas was tremendous, and they can replicate that if they bring the same energy and drive they had on Saturday.

        Liked by 1 person

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