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

If you listened to the Petros and Money show on Thursday (live from Downey!), I decided to break a little news during my appearance.

I mentioned that sources at USC told me Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell is interested in the USC job and clearly the frontrunner in the coaching search.

There has been a lot of speculation that Fickell and his family do not want to leave Ohio but my sources said Fickell has indicated he is open to moving to the West Coast. This does not mean it is a done deal but it seems the odds are good barring some breakdowns (which at USC is always possible).

  • A celebration of former USC fullback Sam Cunningham’s life will be held Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. at Santa Barbara High School at the football stadium. Attendees are asked to wear Cunningham, Santa Barbara, USC or New England Patriots gear.
  • Did you see Arizona State fired its radio sideline reporter Jordan Simone on Thursday after he went on a podcast and said, “These players don’t even realize that they’re being coached so poorly . . . They’ve been coached out of a championship.”

No worries about these type of remarks ever being made on a USC radio broadcast. Besides, I’ve always believed the Trojan players knew they’ve been poorly coached.

  • I wrote a lot about USC’s pathetic attendance last weekend. And how you cannot compare figures from past decades. I remember one time Mike Garrett was furious at the official attendance for a USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum and wanted a revised figure announced to make the crowd even bigger.
  • Now that Donna Heinel is supposed to plead guilty in the Varsity Blues scandal, it leaves former water polo coach Jovan Vavic as the biggest figure with an unresolved fate. It also means, apparently, that Heinel is not giving any of her superiors at USC at the time.
  • According to the L.A. Times, USC freshman linebacker Raesjon Davis cannot redshirt because he has played on special teams in every game. Davis has played defense in only two games. Talk about coaching malpractice on wasting his initial season.
  • How is USC women’s volleyball under .500 (10-11) and coming off being swept by Washington State? The incoming recruiting class, which included four transfers, was ranked No. 4 in the nation by Volleyballmag.com.
  • Has any football coach ever had his entire day chronicled on social media like Clay Helton’s arrival at Georgia Southern. I can’t get enough of it, including the large group of fans who greeted him. That wouldn’t happen at USC.
  • I’m glad to see he is happy. And so is his wife, “Miss Angela.” The last time I saw her was when I went to have lunch in Long Beach with Doug Krikorian. By the time I noticed her at the next table, Doug had already loudly given his opinion of Clay Helton. Doug stopped but it was too late. She decided to leave.
  • I asked a Pac-12 coach Thursday how Helton landed on his feet so quickly? “Well, it’s not the Oregon job,” the coach said.
  • This quote below takes the cake.
  • And now for some history:

If you thought Helton’s introduction was a little too enthusiastic, look how low key things were in 1959 when athletic director Jess Hill (standing) announced Don Clark (left) had resigned and would be replaced by John McKay.

During the press conference, the “Trojans” banner fell off the wall.

“I hope this is not indicative of ‘SC’s football future,” McKay said.

  • In 1974, USC had senior linebackers Richard Wood (the first three-time All-American in school history); Dale Mitchell (USC defensive player of the year in ’74) and Ed Powell (All-Pac-8 in ’74).

They were replaced in 1975 by David Lewis, Mario Celotto and Clay Matthews.

“They’re all great hitters,” McKay said. “If they weren’t, they couldn’t play here.”

“Coach McKay called Celotto and Matthews the best pair of freshmen linebackers he’s ever coached and that’s saying something,” USC assistant coach Don Lindsey said.

Lewis, a JC transfer from San Diego City College, led USC in tackles (90), tackles for loss (12) and fumble recoveries (4) in 1975.

Those were the days.

  • If you want to say the 1975 team was just 8-4, they were undefeated (7-0) and ranked No. 3 in the nation when McKay announced he was resigning and going to Tampa Bay.

“McKay announced the Friday before we got on the bus to leave for Cal that he was leaving to go to Tampa. That’s all anybody talked about even in the locker room before the game,” a key player on that team told me.

“The coaches were more worried about their jobs and they coached like it.

“After (McKay) made that announcement he checked out.”

USC lost to Cal, 28-14, which had star QB Joe Roth and tailback Chuck Muncie. The Trojans then lost three games by a total of seven points to Stanford, Washington and UCLA.

“We had a bowl practice and McKay wasn’t there and the ball boys said he was asleep in his office,” the player said. “We said (forget) it and didn’t listen to him after that. Even when he was at practice, he wasn’t there.  We played for ourselves.”

USC defeated Texas A&M, 20-0, at the Liberty Bowl.

1975 Liberty Bowl
USC vs. Texas A&M in the 1975 Liberty Bowl
  • At halftime of the 1975 Liberty Bowl, Miss America (Tawny Godin) came out on a float.

Godin became better known to Southern Californians as Channel 7 anchorwoman Tawny Little from 1977-92.

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

  1. I keep hearing from all these pundants on the internet that Fickell won’t come to SC because he is a midwestern guy. It seems like a lot of nonsense to me. Football coaches generally go wherever the opportunity exists. If you just want to stay in one part of the country, your best bet is to never go higher than coaching high school. I hope the Wolfman is right about Fickell. His sources are a lot better than mine. But my top choice is still Fickell.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Don Clark took over after Jess Hill became AD He inherited a heavily PCC punished team. He resigned when his Father suddenly dies,owner of the largest company of its type then; Uniform/Overall Supply…uniforms and their cleaning ,etc…for gas stations,security companies, on and on.Like Jess Hill he was an athletic star at SC. His ’59 team,after penalties had ended, was 8-0 beating many top ranked teams, then sickness and injury hampered many starters.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. What were Kurtz’ final words?:
        P. S.
        How did you like it when Clay said “one thing my Pappy always taught me is to be HONEST”……?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Paraphrasing: “Helton is out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable coaching conduct. And he is still on the field coaching players.”

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Kurtz: “Do you disapprove of my methods?”
        Willard: “Frankly, Sir, I don’t see any method at all.”

        Liked by 3 people

    1. I am hopeful the glowing send off and welcome to GSU by the media for a total failure who nearly totally destroy USC is OVER. Enough already! I always hated seeing helton’s photo or comments on the SC sites. Please now that he’s gone STOP IT! I want to forget the nightmare and don’t want reminders.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Dr. Evil –Would it be an act of mercy to send Georgia Southern a tape of Clay’s post Holiday Bowl interview…?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A better tribute to Sam Cunningham could have been realized but wasn’t.Whoever designed the black helmet sticker (worn only briefly) should have been called out for their poor idea.The sticker had no contrast with the helmets and couldn’t be seen.In years past, tributes for example, one of the McKeever twins was displayed in a bright yellow sticker and left on the helmets for the entire year.It was therefore visible and the tribute not so quickly forgotten.Sam Cunningham was such a good person.I got to play in a softball tournament one afternoon with him on my team and he could not have been more friendly and gracious.He was a pillar of Trojan football and the lackluster recognition of him was a disgrace.Just one more example of how tone deaf the SC administrators are to what made USC.Sam “Bam” deserves better.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Agree — but I wouldn’t use the word “lost.” You can tell from the disingenuous shit that comes out of Folt’s mouth that this decline is very deliberate…..

        Liked by 4 people

      1. Carra,
        I’m sure Carol will be more than open to suggestions …

        Liked by 3 people

    1. The Wolfman pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to Luke Fickell and the USC job, but Fickell needs to have an iron clad assurance that he will be in total control of the program and away from the prying eyes of Folt and her minions.
      As far as Donte Williams, he is your prototypical bullshit artist and that’s what makes him an effective recruiter. I’ve not read one comment where it says how good of a position coach he is. But as Wolf mentioned, Bohn wanted to try to make him a star, which tells me that Bohn isn’t all that sharp. If Bohn wants USC to achieve the status it once had, then he needs to give Fickell the keys to the car and shield him from the Walking Brain Donors of Heritage Hall and the BOT.

      Liked by 7 people

    1. That is powerful, no question. But —to be fair —we have to include average winning margin (even if the wins were over bottom 50 teams)….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So Helton is introduced and the backdrop was sporting a Vyve sponsorship. Vyve is an internet service provider with a reputation for having poor communication and awful support. Subtle nod to Helton I think. Especially since his pressers sported Old Spice (because he stunk) and the USC banner behind Bohn when announcing Helton’s release sported United Airlines because Helton was tarmaced. I wish Helton luck with his platitudes calming the torch and pitchfork crowds down South.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t necessarily want Kenny going out back of the house and fucking himself….but he needs to take a good look at what an uncritical press has allowed USC to become — a scandal and debt ridden university that hates itself and it’s traditions (hence—Folt).

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Me. Hart,
      All of us (with obvious exception of JustRents) loves USC with unbridled passion. I myself graduated with a Bachelors and Masters degrees from there. The reason why all of us on this chat (including Scott Wolf) are so critical of the Trojans is that over the last 4-5 years the Athletic Department, the Admissions Office, and the Administration of this great University have not been competent in maintaining the level of excellence that we all expect. If Scott Wolf doesn’t put in in this blog, the news gets buried. If the Trojan Nation doesn’t call attention to the problems, the people in charge whistle to the bank every 2 weeks without having to answer to anyone. And you can’t deny that there has been serious negligence at the top. 3 failed ADs, 2 failed Presidents, Deans from various departments embroiled in scandals, and a competent Dean pushed out at the B’ness School.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Spot on as far as Scott goes. So glad he’s doing what he’s doing….
        Fortunately for all the losers you mentioned, the BOT is okay with the situation…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What is with this southern plantation greeting crap Miss whoever?
      My long-time partner is from Birmingham, Al. where they stopped
      using that white racial remark long ago.


  5. The Wolfman mentioned a severe lack of discipline throughout the program under Helton/Williams. What needs to happen is what Lou Holtz told his Notre Dame team before the Miami game in 1988. “If anyone of you gets into a fight today on that field and gets an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, you will never play another down at the University of Notre Dame.” This will send a clear cut message to the players who’ve been allowed to act like jackwagons on the field to get their emotions in check or go play at some Community College program where that is allowed to go on.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The main problem with the Women Volleyball team is the head coach,
    Brad Keller a ucla loser. Another cheap hire locally which was supposed
    to be a national search.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. On one hand Cincinnati has the best recruited talent in his current league and better than half the B10 and PAC. That’s not necessarily new for Cincy but Fickell has definitely upgraded. Otoh, he’s very much a second rate Sweater Vest– the same ultra conservative football only he sucked as an Ohio State HC, and is getting a pass on an extremely easy schedule where some of those wins have been a struggle 27-20 over Navy for instance. Meh.


    1. Global,

      I would like to have Aranda as the coach. Fickell might do well at SC. However, Aranda has done well at Baylor. There is a difference. The difference is Aranda has proven that he can win at a major college level, whereas, Fickell has coached at a mid major level.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Either Fickell or Aranda would be good, but Aranda is the true football genius. If we hire Fickell and then UCLA fires Chip and hires Aranda, we will be on the losing side of future games.

        Let’s get Aranda. We need to look at this next coach as a decade long guy who will be the Nick Saban of the West Coast. We need to position USC football as the Dallas Cowboys of college football (America’s team). USC football has the greatest tradition and branding in football (Fight On, Traveller, marching band, etc.).

        Fickell is good, Aranda is probably going to be the best head coach in all of football within another 2-3 years. Dont we want the Yoda of football?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think, even more to your point, that Baylor is winning in a major conference as a team that’s not necessarily a favorite. Cincy is a like a major (they’ve got a big budget and recruit very well long before Fickell, and they’re often a a bully in their conference). Fickell wants out because he knows in a year or so Cincy has to win in the Big 12,, which even without Texas or OU won’t result in the same success. Aranda might not have the deportment and media polish that Fickell does but rn he seems to be clearly the better coach. Plus he’s got far better recruiting background and familiarity relevant to us.


    1. As Clay luxuriates in the new Bible Reading Room of his new home, with his very first Georgia Southern check in hand —all he’s thinking is “It’s a great day to be ME!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Helton’s buyout is about $5 mill a year for the next two or three years. So USC still pays $4.2 of that, since GS is only paying $800K.

        Clay is the gift that keeps on giving.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 67,
        Re last paragraph —are you referring to his videos of himself?


  8. Re: The Sam Cunningham Memorial at Santa Barbara High School is in a few weeks.

    Sam is a legend in Santa Barbara, and he never forgot where he came from. Great human being who loved the City of Santa Barbara where it all started for him.

    My question……..why hasn’t USC done something to honor this great football player and person. As stated before a statute of Sam in his famous touchdown leap over the defense should be placed right in front of the Mckay Center or Heritage Hall next to the Wild Bunch.

    Mike Bohn needs to make this happen now! His current loyalty to the USC great football tradition and players is embarrassing, and frankly that’s the reason many of the former players never come around campus or the games any longer.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely tommyd, right after bozo u’s month long celebration of the accumulated achievements of former bozo president, C. L. “Max” Nikias.

      #Cue: “The Godfather Theme”


  9. Owns that is a very poor statement, and an insult to the late great Sam Cunningham who should never be put in the same sentence with Max Nikias who obviously is a very low quality human being.

    Just like Terry Donahue, the one bright spot in UCLA Football history should not be referred to in the same sentence as former UCLA DT Tackle Billy Don Jackson for the reasons shown below. Donahue, is a high quality human being I can’t say the same about Jackson who like Nikias is rock bottom quality. I believe Mr. Jackson was a UCLA prized recruit who was convicted of 1st. degree murder.

    LOS ANGELES — Billy Don Jackson, a former football star at UCLA, has been charged with fatally stabbing a man in what police believe was an argument over a drug purchase.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No shit tommyd. SC deserves SUCC’s admiration, NOT AN AH LIKE C. L. “MAX” NIKIAS.

      Get you head out tommyd. Remind me when bozo u schedules a SC day.


  10. Luke Fickell obvious the X’s and O’s. You can’t just a have “nice guy” as a coach.

    Fickell >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Homer Simpson>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>James Franklin


  11. Guys, Guys…. Let’s take this time to play nice and admire that CAL 28-14 1975 game.

    And you can relive it on YouTube with no commercials.. I highly recommend it…. ABC Game of the Week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Big Bear – We’ve discussed on here previously…those were the days (and Scott does a fantastic job of going down memory lane as to how close USC was to 12-0 in 1975 rather than 8-4…but what was, was)…how about the Pac-8 having Ricky Bell, Chuck Muncie, Wendell Tyler…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So I’ll take Fickell as the next coach, but I still don’t see it happening.
    Got a bunch of activity here at IUSCSW.

    Good defensive performance vs G5 competition and beat a less-than-talented ND squad. Good run game.

    I think Fickell could get us a strong 8-9 win season, with possibly a 10 win season.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for the late response, Michael.

        I think Fickell would be a great choice and do well at USC.
        He’d win the games he should, and struggle vs Utah, Oregon, maybe ND.

        You were correct that Stanford is trending downward, and we may only hope that the stupid “brain trust” on the Farm fires David Shaw as his Dollars per win are horrible. Shaw himself is responsible for the win vs Oregon and the win vs USC–both teams tremendously more talented that Stanford. Anyway, here’s to hoping Shaw gets fired.


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