Remembering Sam Tsagalakis

If you were a USC fan old enough to follow the Trojans in the 1950’s, you remember kicker Sam Tsagalakis, who died Jan. 2 at age 88.

He was nicked “Sad Sam” because he rarely smiled but he was the hero of USC’s victory over Stanford in 1953.

With 13 seconds left, Tsagalakis kicked a 38-yard-field goal to give the No. 17-ranked Trojans a 23-20 victory over No. 11-ranked Stanford. It was just the second game-winning field goal in USC history.

Sam Tsagalakis carried by teammates after game-winning FG vs. Stanford

USC coach Jess Hill said Tsagalakis was crying at halftime because he missed an extra point in the first half that accounted for the tie score (20-20) late in the game.

USC trailed 20-13, but QB George Bozanic threw a 26-yard TD pass to wide receiver Tom Nickoloff that tied the score.

Stanford recovered a fumble in USC territory with two minutes left and might have won but Ron Miller intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Stanford 20, which set up the field goal.

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.

  • On a side note, two weeks earlier, after USC beat Cal, Miller went on a blind date with fellow USC student, Diane Disney, the daughter of Walt Disney.

They were married in 1954 and Miller became CEO of the Walt Disney Co. from 1980-84.

17 thoughts on “Remembering Sam Tsagalakis

    1. I used to drink with him at the “Trojans Barrel.he was an incredible person. His son was training 🐎 horses. I spent many days with him and I was always treated very well by a sincere man.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. If Sam actually foresaw Helton at halftime he wouldn’t have come out for the 3rd quarter….and USC would’ve lost…


  1. Looks like everyone took the afternoon off.

    Well, the Alabama game exposed Cincy as many suspected. However Michigan will give Georgia a better game, but I don’t see the Wolverines scoring enough points to stay in the contest.

    It looks like the Pac-12 will be completely devoid of any bowl game wins except for the void sucla cleverly attained, and I don’t see that changing in the Rose Bowl tomorrow

    So as the hours dwindle down to but a few in the close-out of 2021, what do we see looking back and looking forward?–

    Stanford got rid of SC easily and so SC got rid of you-know-who easily as well

    SC’s coach Wiley is pretending he is Donald Trump by firing a mess of footballers. And with all the new faces coming in don’t expect the 2022 SC version to be in the playoff hunt. It will take time to mesh all these new guys coming in. Still, this new guy seems like he is better than the last guy SC had (See, I am already putting his name out of my mind)

    And so to mimic U.S. presidents when their speeches run out of steam– God bless America, God bless you (and I would add “Thanks posters for being a fun bunch to play around with”)

    Bring on 2022, I have grown weary of 2021 (and 4-8)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Spent the day at work, skipping the 2 semi-final games which Alabama won at halftime 30-3 and which Georgia has won at halftime 27-3.

    When was the last time a semi-final game had some drama to it?– So now we get an Alabama v Georgia rerun. It is difficult to beat a team twice in a row during the same season, so Georgia has that going for it. But bet against Alabama?– I don’t think so.

    When I was a kid I used to think a changing of the guard i.e moving from one year to another on New Year’s Eve, would change everything, change the world I knew.

    Hasn’t happened yet.

    Good night, Good luck, and here is hoping that all of you Wolf Blog-Dogs get through this perilous night unscathed. Perilous because there are probably 50% of L.A. drivers who are out-of-it by midnight

    So bring in the New 2022, and out with the old 2021 (and that 4-8 SC record!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remembet Sam as a super Trojan booster. He was always kind and friendly to the players and other alums. He knew how to raise money for good causes in the program when I was there. He and Coach Goux were an interesting duo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FLASH —
      Apparently, our coaching staff is coming apart at the seams. Check out latest reports. This is sending out all the same bad messages USC has sent out [mainly to recruits, but to fans as well] the last 3 years. If Carol is putting the clamps on what Riley can offer his assistants, he should walk. He holds ALL the cards.
      I never thought the jackasses that run USC had anything to do with getting Riley to USC. He came because he wanted to –not because they enticed him. It now looks like these same jackasses are looking a gift horse in the mouth.
      If the coaching defections being reported are true…and if the departing coaches aren’t replaced TOMORROW with bigger names —the USC Jackass Hierarchy is at it again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. you just knew this would happen with folt…that picture she interjected her self into made me sick…the Board better do something or all this BS about sc football is toast.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This USC “administration” is beginning to remind me of another “administration”…….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 3 Legends gone from this earth in 1 week John Madden, John Arnet and now Betty White today, at 99. May they all rest in peace they will surely be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My new year’s resolution is to never ever darken this filthy blog again. It has been fun but not good since Michael Lev left this once informed blog to a bitter old fart who dumps his work on this blog so he can whine about his alma mater. He thinks being cynical is good.


    1. Hello ‘Goodbye,’ but before you say a final goodbye, think how this blog is only 5-parts Scott Wolf and 95-parts the posters. Scott has a point of view designed to drive traffic; it may not even be his true feelings about SC he is expressing. You did say “It has been fun but not good…” If it is fun as you say, that should be enough to stick around for.

      Anyway, Happy New Year to you and everybody. And may the Utes at least give the Buckeyes a game after I fell sleep during the Alabama & Georgia mismatches yesterday.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. hi football fans, ncaa football screwball stuff, they are playing the champion ship game on monday! what for makes no sense at all. mondays tend to be miserable days ??? Regards, E


  7. hello sports fans, elimination ! now heres the thing a special aaahhh statute will take place shorty ? as far as ala vs ga. who cares 2 southern cheaters and losers ! i predict both these teams will lose !!!! Regards, E


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