Last week I mentioned how linebacker Shane Lee was the only player to stay at USC and work out over spring break. On Thursday, in the searing heat, Lee practiced with a hoodie under his pads.
“I got a hoodie on, I tried to make it even harder myself. That’s the mentality that we’re trying to create here. We know it’s gonna be hard. Let’s make it even harder,” Lee said.
He feels like a throwback to the 1970’s.
- A Pac-12 coach texted me Wednesday night and inquired about the impact USC cornerback Ceyair Wright has made during spring practice? “Not much,” I replied.
Lo and behold, cornerbacks coach Donte Williams said this Thursday: “Ceyair’s biggest problem is Ceyair. He has a lot of things going on. For all I know, he may be in Space Jam 3.”
- I’m not sure why some of the media are swallowing the term “gold-plated” when USC players earn in a helmet decal. The media aren’t part of the team. So they don’t need to parrot the terms used by the program. Just say a player earned a helmet decal.
- Rick Caruso has already spent $8.95 million on advertising for his mayoral campaign. He has loaned himself $10 million.
- USC has raised undergraduate tuition 5 percent for the 2022-23 school year, bringing the total cost to approximately $63,468 for one year. This is the highest tuition increase since the start of the pandemic.
- USC women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottleib announced to her team this week that she is pregnant.
- Booker Turner, maybe the best-known Pac-12 basketball referee ever, died this week. He was 90. Turner officiated in five Final Fours and two championship games (1981- Indiana vs North Carolina; 1984- Georgetown vs Houston). Turner went to Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles.
“Booker meant as much to college basketball officiating as Jackie Robinson did to baseball,” George Raveling said.
- And now for some history:
- They don’t make USC game-program covers like this anymore. It’s a work of art, a collection of Art Brewster illustrations from the 1970 USC-Oregon State game program.
- OK, I’m now in Brewster mode. Here’s another 1970 illustration. These used to be a staple of the game programs.
- And here’s a Brewster illustration for Jon Arnett.
- Here’s a photo of the 1969 USC-UCLA game featuring No. 28, Clarence Davis, a truly underrated tailback. No. 64 is Fred Khasigian. It looks like on the far left is tight end Gerry Mullins. That might be left tackle Marv Montgomery on the ground next to Davis.
- No. 5-ranked USC defeated No. 6 UCLA, 14-12.
- I had two Ted Williams’ gloves as a kid. Who else remembers having one?
- Here’s the 1964 USC highlights album featuring Tom Kelly.
The interesting part is the commentary was supplied by Frank C. Baxter. Who?
Baxter was a popular English professor at USC who also was a TV personality. He taught at USC from 1930-61.
I don’t even know if I can properly explain how well known he was. He won seven Emmys, including Outstanding Male Performer (1954) and Outstanding Male Personality (1960). He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Baxter had so many TV shows, I can’t list them all. He literally brought literature, science and the arts to millions via his TV shows and films.
Baxter gave annual Christmas readings at Bovard Auditorium that were events in themselves. One year, students clustered around loudspeakers outside in the rain, clutching their umbrellas as they listened intently.
He might be best known to you as Dr. Research in The Bell System Science Series, which was distributed to schools from the 1960’s-1980’s. Baxter also played himself in the 1956 science-fiction film, “The Mole People.” (pictured below)
Can you imagine a USC professor today being a commentator on a football highlight film? I know a few that have egos big enough to think they could it off but they couldn’t come close to Baxter’s prolific career.
- How did USC upset UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in 1969? Look at the rosters!
The Bruins had Lew Alcindor, Curtis Rowe, Sidney Wicks, John Vallely, Lynn Shackelford, Kenny Heitz and Steve Patterson.
The Trojans had Ernie Powell, Ron Taylor, Mack Calvin, Steve Jennings and Don Crenshaw.
USC won, 46-44, on on a jump shot by Ernie Powell with six seconds left to hand UCLA its first-ever loss at Pauley Pavilion after a 51-0 start in the new arena. Some say announcer Mike Walden jumped up on the announcer’s table when he yelled “The Trojans win, The Trojans win, The Trojans win.”
UCLA went on to win the national title, just to reiterate the magnitude of the victory.
You can hear Walden’s call below.