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

It’s been a crazy week.

USC is in Week 3 of a fairly uneventful spring practice but I’ve posted a lot less this week because I’ve spent so much time dealing with sources ranging from USC security to football players. They all want to talk about the homeless guy.

Everyone seems to have their own story where they interacted with him and I won’t list them, but they all have a common thread: He was able to seamlessly blend in and not raise suspicions.

Many believe that USC’s own lax policies in terms of knowing exactly who is a walk-on on the football team allowed him to flourish. This is why he was able to eat in the dining facility and waltz into the McKay Center.

  • USC effectively got a slap on the wrist from the NCAA on Thursday with two years’ probation but no postseason ban.

The NCAA went out of its way to compliment USC and former assistant coach Tony Bland for their cooperation. Was this a rare nod to Lynn Swann?

I’d argue the NCAA’s chummy relationship was due more to Dave Roberts, USC’s former director of compliance and current “special assistant to the athletic director.”

Roberts has wormed his way into the NCAA since he was the point man for Max Nikias and Pat Haden on dealing with the fall of NCAA football sanctions in 2010. He is even the chair of the powerful NCAA Committee on Infractions.

I’d say that had more do with USC’s light sanctions that anything else.

  • Coach Bohn has preached “integrity” since being hired and even used the word this week.

Does he really believe Andy Enfield knew nothing at all about Bland’s actions? The NCAA decision paves the way for Enfield to get a contract extension.

  • USC is taking some heat this week because it will allow only 4 fans per player when USC and UCLA meet in women’s soccer at the Coliseum on Friday but will allow 5,000 at the football scrimmage on Saturday.
  • The Crosstown Rivalry soccer game has drawn more than 5,000 when heavily promoted in the past
  • The WNBA draft was interesting. The 10th pick was Stephanie Watts, who played guard at USC in 2019-2020. The first pick of the third round was Valerie Higgins, who played at USC before transferring to Pacific. USC hasn’t accomplished much in women’s basketball despite these players getting drafted.

And now for some history:

  • I’ve run this picture before of actor Robert Vaughn and Robert Kennedy greeting USC students after Kennedy’s speech at Bovard Auditorium on Nov. 4, 1965.

It was almost exactly five years after John F. Kennedy addressed USC students a week before he was elected President. Robert Kennedy visited a plaque on campus that memorialized his brother’s speech.

But here’s why I am running this photo again: Vaughn was with Kennedy because he was getting his PhD at USC.

Imagine how extraordinary it was that Vaughn was the star of a hit TV show (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and at the peak of his popularity and getting his PhD at the time. Vaughn said he was prompted to get his doctorate to enhance his job prospects in case his actor career soured after his opposition to the Vietnam War. It’s impressive he found time to do it back when a single season meant more than 30 episodes.

  • The USC coaching staff in 1949. You’ve got the legendary Sam Barry on the far left in Row 1, who is one of only three coaches in college sports history to lead teams to the Final Four and College World Series. 

Ray George is next Barry and was head coach at Texas A&M, where he beat coaching legends Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma) and Bear Bryant (Kentucky). He would return to USC and be an assistant for John McKay.

On the far right in Row 1 is Bill Fisk, who played end at USC for 3 years (1937-39), where he played in 2 Rose Bowls and was a member of Troy’s 1939 national champs. His son, Bill Fisk Jr., was a 1964 All-American offensive guard and head coach at Mt. San Antonio College (1987-2004).

Head coach Jeff Cravath is second from the right in Row 1. In Row 2 left is Walt Hargesheimer. You also have Harry “Blackjack” Smith, a two-time USC All-American (center of Row 1) and former USC player Roy “Bullet” Baker (Row 2, right).

Can you imagine nicknames like that now?

Clay “Clueless Helton? Graham “Hayseed” Harrell?

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

  1. Not that it means much, but Casey Collier (#69 sophomore backup tackle) had his big sister go #1 overall in the WNBA draft…

    Congrats to the Collier family!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Robert Vaughn was sitting in one of the telephone booths of the Los Angeles Civil courthouse when I got off the elevator to head to Judge Carol Goodson’s court. I immediately reverted to being 15 years old and called out, “Hey, Napoleon!” [his first name on Man From Uncle]. Vaughn looked over, smiled and gave me a military salute while continuing his phone conversation.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. btw, Scott, I’ve heard tons of nicknames for Coach Helton —-and “Clueless Clay” would represent a HUGE step up in civility…….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know about civility MG, but Clueless clay fits him the best. You know the old saying some names are earned some names are given. Clueless clay is in the very rare status of achieving both!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. T67 & Bourbon

      Clay “Clueless Helton? Graham “Hayseed” Harrell?
      WTF, already slacking

      “*****” are for quotes not to emphasize your monikers

      ‘****’ are for dumb nicknames


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Slovis news is good news. Homeless guy news—who rumor has it was bunking at Helton’s home and barbecuing steaks for the Helton family — is embarrassing news…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re talking practice MG. I’m thinking that anyone coming within 15 yards of touching Slovis in practice has to run 20 miles of laps and watch an 12 hour Boner lecture video on “integrity.”

        So what happens when Solvis is nailed in one of Clown U’s 2021 regular cupcake games?

        Why would any bozo Rah-Rah buy a ticket to the Spring game when they can suit up with the team for free?

        I want to wear #19 to celebrate Andyain’twinning memorable Elite Eight humiliation vs Gonzaga.



      3. Okay. I have to hand it to you: the line [the one & only line] about getting to see the spring game for free by simply suiting up was clever…


  4. Wolfman has an infatuation with this homeless guy. That got on campus to live his dream by hanging out with the team, practiced and fielded some punts. You should try finding him and invite him to your favorite McDonalds for an interview. It can be a Wolfman exclusive story like Tmz sports. This might even get you back on campus. So you can be a true insider for USC football again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As Brad Pitt said in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, “That’s a great idea, Kato!” Scott really SHOULD locate & interview this guy. It shouldn’t be hard: LAPD has all his info and it’s public record. Scott could do a whole book on his Big Adventure……

      Liked by 2 people

  5. There were 29 episodes of the Man From U.N.C.L.E for the first season (1964-65) and 30 episodes for the Second Season (1965-66). Very impressive that Robert Vaughn was in a USC Ph.d program during this time. Robert Vaughn sat in the row behind me on New Years Eve 1973 for a showing of The Exorcist which had just opened at the Mann National in Westwood on December 26, 1973. My friend and I were USC students on Christmas break and I thought it was cool that this is what he chose to do on New Year’s Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess that’s why Robert Vaughn campaigned for dems…..
        [Cheap Shot. And that’s not like me. Actually, Mister Vaughn was as sharp as they come. Debated the great William Buckley to a draw on U.S. involvement in Viet Nam….. and made appearances across the country to voice his opposition to Nixon’s escalating the war into Cambodia]…..

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bobclassof74 — My wife and I were there for the 10 pm show. As we stood in the very long line, we were getting reports that a total of 4 UCLA students had already fainted and been carried out of the 8pm show…..

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Have to give a ‘like’ to the pix and mention of old time SC coaches.
    the ncaa did nothing ’cause they had nothing xcept ‘suspicion’
    it would be like getting a ticket for almost running that stop sign,or for suspicion of ones thinking of running a red light…it woulda’,coulda’ happened…or you probably would have if you had not spotted me watching you…same BS as 2009 crap.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Scott will always be the Eeyore of USC sports. Everything is negative gloom and doom. I’m sure he must be that way about life in general right? If you were is spouse or kid I think suicide would be constantly I the back of your mind.


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