Lincoln Riley Remembers Dave Nichol

USC coach Lincoln Riley spoke today about assistant coach Dave Nichol.

“Just a really, really difficult day (Friday),” Riley said. “We’ll definitely miss him more than you’ll imagine.”

“As you can imagine a lot of emotion with the guys and certainly the staff members that were close to Dave.

“There’s a strong possibility I wouldn’t be in college coaching without him.”

Riley said this about USC’s three practices: “There’s a good vibe around this team. They really like working. You get a sense they’re putting a real effort in fully buying in.”

Here’s some reactions to Nichol’s death.

62 thoughts on “Lincoln Riley Remembers Dave Nichol

    1. You ain’t so shabby yourself, GT.

      I told my wife how you recalled Willie Brown saving SC’s 1962 National Championship with an interception in the Rose Bowl. She was very impressed.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for the tip, MG. I am in the process of re-working my life story, and not using my true life story. That way, I might have a chance with God.

      Oops, I forgot that this Spirit is All, everything you see and don’t see, which means It is in my brain, and in fact is my brain,
      so I can’t hide my thoughts from It.

      Dang– foiled again!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Check out secularist Leonard Susskind (probably the 3rd most brilliant theoretical physicist alive) VERY reluctantly discussing the possibility that the Big Bang was preceded by consciousness [kinda like Einstein talking about the “power or force behind all known powers or forces”]……

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LJ you always have a chance (until your last breath) with God. As with the thief on the cross waiting to die who asked to be forgiven was welcomed to be in paradise with Jesus.


  1. I’m trying to figure out a way to be an asshole but death at that age just isn’t funny and obviously he’s a great guy, even if he tried to help resurrect this dumpster fire called USC Football. Oh I guess I did find a way.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Johnny Carson. Dave Nichol. Michael Jordan

        It is true that some guys are not replaceable. They are one of a kind.
        But I’m not one of them. And I’m glad because it takes the pressure off.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You don’t think Jimmy Kimmel measures up….? Not even when he’s threatening to “punch in the face” people who disagree with him….

        Liked by 2 people

  2. So a good guy dies young, but we continue to suffer from a President with dementia who is blundering his way into WW3.

    Someone need to force Biden to only say words that are on the tele-prompter.

    You dont call for Putin’s removal from power at this time, even if it is warranted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They already backtracked his remarks about Putin to say “He meant ‘beyond his current power over Russia”.

      Same way they backtracked his comments about responding in kind to a chemical attack and his comments about how U.S. troops would soon see, when they’re in Ukraine.

      80M fools already have a lot of blood on their hands and if Dementia Guy isn’t given a shorter leash, they will have even more!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So Cal,
        We can’t just blame voters for what happened or what is gonna happen— the fact the Supreme Court won’t hear arguments on 2020 election fraud combined with the fact the republicans won’t remove Biden after they take power in 2022 suggests there is a LOT more wrong with this country than dem voters….

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The media finally admitted 18 months after the fact that Hunter’s laptop is legit. That is nothing short of election fraud. It illustrates the type of collusion it took to get Biden elected.

        But that, too, is on the voters. People with a brain knew that Hunter was funneling money for the family for years. They also knew about his cognitive decline.

        Biden voters are just like John Wooden…if they didn’t know Biden was both corrupt and unfit for office, it’s because they didn’t WANT to know.

        It is on them.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. A lot of dem voters ARE hiding their heads in the sand, yes. (But) we can’t let either “Party” off the hook either, So Cal. Why didn’t Christopher Wray investigate, why didn’t Bill Barr prosecute, why didn’t Pelosi take Swallwell off the Intelligence Committee? This mess goes beyond the voters. Beyond the media…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There were many sleepless nights for Travis Dye as he tried to find the right path forward this winter. The road split in three different directions, each pulling at his heart in a different way.

    Return to Oregon and complete his college journey at the place where it all started. Go to the NFL and fulfill his dream. Or return to his Southern California roots and transfer to USC for one season.

    So he made pros and cons lists for each option. Talked daily with his fiancée, Erin Hemerson. Had FaceTime sessions with his parents, siblings and in-laws almost every day.

    “He was going back and forth, back and forth,” Hemerson said. “He had no clue what to decide.”

    Ultimately, though, USC won out, for reasons both football and family. Calling his new head coach Lincoln Riley to inform him of his decision was easy for Dye, though. Letting his Oregon community know was a different story.

    But the soft-spoken Dye found a way, inviting his offensive line out to lunch because, after all their battles together, he felt they deserved to hear it straight from him why he was moving back south.

    “It was tough. Oregon was my first love and it always will be,” Dye said. “But it was just I gave everything I could to that school for four years straight and it was time to move on.”

    Such a decision was unthinkable for Dye as recently as November. Over the course of four years with the Ducks, he had amassed 3,111 rushing yards, the fifth-most in school history, to go with 869 through the air. He earned All-Pac-12 honors and was part of a conference championship and Rose Bowl team.

    He was so settled in Eugene that he and Hemerson did not return to Norco, their hometown, during quarantine, staying in their apartment with their three dogs.

    “Probably more so than the other kids, he’s the one that created independence and his own path and didn’t come home a lot,” his mother, Danna, said.

    But when Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal left for Miami after the 2021 season, Dye was faced with a new prospect. Even if he stayed at Oregon, he would still be working with a new coaching staff, learning a new offense.

    And then on Dec. 23, he proposed to Hemerson, surprising her upon returning home with candles and flower petals leading his high school sweetheart to where he stood with an engagement ring.

    So when he entered the transfer portal in January, he had not just his own career to consider but his new family, too.

    “It was one of those grown-man decisions, for sure,” Dye said.

    Not long after he entered the portal, he received a phone call from USC running backs coach Kiel McDonald. Riley reached out, too, offering his vision for how Dye would fit into his offense.

    So even though much of the Pac-12 and many Big 10 and Big 12 schools inquired about his services, it soon became clear that if Dye would leave Oregon, it would be for USC and the chance to play closer to home.

    “I personally was stoked. I was like, ‘Let’s go, I’m ready,’ Hemerson said. “But I did not want to make the decision based off our situation. I really wanted it to be focused around his career and what would be better for him in the long run.”

    The football side of it, though, was as appealing as the homecoming. Riley laid out a plan to utilize Dye’s abilities in both the run and pass game. Given Riley’s track record at Oklahoma, there was credibility to his pitch.

    Still, Danna said, she wasn’t sure what decision he was going to make until he took his official visit to USC. Then, she said, “it was a wrap.”

    “What really got me was just coming back home, being with my family. You can’t beat that for the last year in your college career, you really can’t,” Dye said.

    Dye moved back in with his parents initially when he got back to Southern California. Hemerson was left in Oregon to pack up their things, and Danna flew up to Eugene to help her move south. Dye’s old Oregon teammates helped load up the truck, and Danna drove it down while Hemerson took the three dogs in her car.

    Dye and Hemerson have since rented a house in Whittier. On good days, he’s 40 minutes from USC while cutting the drive to Norco down to an hour. They’re busy planning a second birthday party for Dye’s nephew, Ty, which will be held next month in their new home.

    For Dye, who had only two offers out of Norco High, he’s now the conquering hero returning to the hometown blueblood.

    “I take a lot of pride in it, but I know I haven’t really done anything yet. That’s what I feel like,” Dye said. “I know I’ve had a big kind of career up to this point, but I still feel deep down I haven’t done anything yet.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hope he feels like he’s done plenty by the time December rolls around…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “Wolf Shitzer” that’s a clever name (like so many others that post on this blog). OCR subscription $14/mo. I’m not going to pay that just to read USC football news that I can get from several other places. That’s why I post the LA Times articles that are also on yahoo and MSN with no paywall. Price these subscriptions out for less by section or better yet by sub-section (eg, “USC Sports”) and maybe I’ll subscribe. #LATimes #OCRegister #TheAthletic #ESPNInsider et al get a clue!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve probably read the Scott Wolf blog since the mid-90’s with the Daily News. Not everyone likes him, but he’s critical of USC when others are not, especially the last 3-4 years. News media is just so dishonest anymore. Scott Wolf could probably solicit donations to fund his efforts through PayPal and/or Venmo. Write a coffee table book about USC football or Los Angeles restaurants.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. As for the fan sites, I’m not big into the recruiting minutia. Just want to know where USC ranks nationally at any given time and I get more interested in what individual recruits are doing as it gets closer to signing date. I’m not going to pay $99 or even $69 a year when now I pretty much get what I want for free. Offer tiered pricing and maybe I’ll subscribe. I would subscribe to 3-4 sites for a combined $10-$15/mo.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In real life Scott is a nice guy. He graduated from St Pauls high in Whittier. Has gone back to speak to journalism classes. Does cool things like that. Even did me a favor once. A big one. I don’t forget.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Add: Scott never feels sorry for himself. He has his ups and downs like everybody else but you never hear him saying “poor me” [like Kiffin…. or Sark with his bullshit disability lawsuit]…

        Liked by 3 people

      3. …..and —knowing Sark —that would hurt….


    1. Thanks, Charles. It is worrisome that the LBs are “not anywhere close to where they need to be.” That unit was deficient last year to the point of not even knowing their responsibilities. The legacy of Helton and Orlando.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I finally figured out Orlando was in over his head when he said, “last year we gave our guys too much to think about —this year we’re giving them permission to just follow the ball.” Can you imagine playing on the line & having your coach tell you “your assignment is to follow the ball”?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A day after the death of USC inside receivers coach Dave Nichol, Lincoln Riley shared the stories and thoughts, via Zoom with reporters, that had likely been sprinting through his head since learning that Nichol, 45, had died from cancer Friday.

    As Riley detailed a relationship that had lasted over 20 years, there was one inescapable conclusion for him.

    “I look back on it now and think, ‘Man, like had Dave not taken a vested interest in some no-name walk-on coming in there, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,’ ” Riley said. “So myself, my family, we really owe everything to the guy.”

    Riley may have hired Nichol to join him at USC, 10 years after he hired Nichol while offensive coordinator at East Carolina, but that was not their original dynamic. Riley credited Nichol for giving him his opportunity to first walk on as a quarterback at Texas Tech in 2002 when Nichol was a graduate assistant.

    Nichol worked with the Red Raiders’ offense. Riley constantly peppered Nichol with questions about Mike Leach’s scheme, trying to learn as much as he could from a staff member who was willing to give the time to the walk-on QB.

    “I probably bugged him to death those early years,” Riley said. “Dave was one of those people, he didn’t care where you’re from, he didn’t care your rank in the organization. He treated the head coach the same way he treated some first-day walk-on. That was just him.”

    That continued for the next three years when Riley was a student coach at Tech. At first, Riley felt like he was lost, uncertain how to perform his first job in the profession.

    “He was kind of the guy that guided me, kinda taught me how to become a coach,” Riley said. “Without him, I really didn’t have any other ins into this business and this business is hard to get into. … [T]here’s a strong possibility I wouldn’t be in college coaching without him in a lot of ways.”

    There’s no linear career path in coaching. You take whatever opportunity is put in front of you and hope you can build that into the next opportunity, and the next.

    For Nichol, that meant eight years of paying his dues before he was promoted to be a full-time, Division-I assistant by Mike Stoops at Arizona in 2008. He served as a graduate assistant at three schools, even serving as an assistant at Cisco Junior College in Texas for a season.

    “I think he made like $10,000 a year,” Riley said. “I remember him telling me, they painted the lines on the field, they would paint the locker room, they did repairs, they were academic counselors, they did everything.”

    So when Riley was hired at USC, Nichol was one of the first people he thought of. And even as Nichol battled his illness these past several months, it wasn’t something he wanted to talk about in the evenings when Riley called him after work.

    “All he wanted to talk about was how are the guys doing, how is install going, how are walk throughs? He was Zooming in to everything we did,” Riley said. “That just shows you kind of who he was, man. He loved ball.”

    It’s been a difficult two days around USC. Along with Riley, several assistants and staffers worked with Nichol throughout their careers. They plan to honor their late friend in some way this season.

    But the coaches found some solace Saturday by going out to the practice field and working with the Trojans.

    “That’s where Dave loved to be, he loved the field as much as anybody,” Riley said. “You take some peace in that that you’re out there doing what he loved to do.”

    Liked by 3 people

      1. MG, the Racist Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot, Muriel Bowser, Keisha Lance Bottoms, London Breed … see a trend with these mayors? Karen Bass will be the next mayor of Los Angeles and she’ll be as bad as these others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Charles —IF Bass becomes Mayor, yes, she’ll be as bad or worse than the others….


      1. Why don’t they just come out and put it that way?


    1. “Leave your valuables at home”, “don’t draw attention to yourself”, “be aware of your surroundings”, etc is what they tell tourists visiting Rio de Janeiro.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually Rio has far fewer murders per capita than Los Angeles —LAPD told me that the Mission District has more murders per square foot than any other district in the country…..


  5. — Got to love relatively early Sunday morning where you can spout off, knowing most of the posters are asleep and not able to contradict you, except that Michael Guarino who is 3-hours behind L.A. .time

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oops, that did not make any sense as far as the time sequence between Maui and l.A.

    But as Johnny Carson used to say, “If you make a mistake don’t let the audience see you sweating. They’re probably not paying attention anyway”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We lawyers know Johnny was right about that one, Lawyer John. [I used to tell the investigators sitting at counsel table with me, “If the judge starts balling us out for something just sit there and smile like it’s all good —the jury won’t realize we’re getting reamed”]……

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “Winning Time” cast includes John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke (Australian I think) as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, some guy Nixon as Norm Nixon … I would definitely watch this if I had HBO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adrien Brody –fine actor but wrong as Riley. Check him out in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited –there’s a funny scene where he tells his little brother, Jason Schwartzman, how much he likes how mean he is to his girlfriend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen that movie, but don’t remember the line. Kurt Russell tried to channel his inner-Pat Riley in Tequila Sunrise.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah –and Kurt does it so well he loses the girl to Mel Gibson.
        [The scene occurs when Adrien is reading Jason’s short story].


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