The USC-UCLA rivalry has featured many crazy moments.
But one of the wilder incidents occurred this week and few noticed. Or maybe even cared. They should have because it was a ridiculous scenario.
USC and UCLA faced off in the dual track meet at Cromwell Field. When the meet ended, UCLA’s women had won and did a customary victory lap. But about 30-45 minutes after that, when most of the fans had already left the stadium, the USC women were declared the winners.
A USC discus thrower had a winning throw of 53 meters. But her second-best throw of 50 meters was scored, which placed her third instead of first. It was an innocent error because some numbers got transposed, which created the controversy.
But . . . it is the responsibility of the USC coaching staff to make sure the meet was scored correctly. The error was only discovered belatedly by the discus thrower. Didn’t the USC throws coach know his athlete won the event? Or care to check the official results?
This happened in 2022! When computers and electronic devices are better than ever!
The wrong team running a victory lap sounds like something out of the 1950’s. But track meets actually mattered in those days.
Fans spent four hours at the meet last Sunday and went home thinking the wrong team won. If some of the track fan nuts from the 50’s and 60’s were still alive, they might have rioted. USC needs to do better.
RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
Tiny Naylor’s, Sunset and La Brea, 1949
At one time, Tiny Naylor’s had more than 40 locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. Among those who ate at the Hollywood location was Humphrey Bogart. The restaurant claimed to be the birthplace of the patty melt. By 1999, there was a lone location in Long Beach.
- And now for some history:
Let’s look at 1960-61, a year that definitely had star power.
Here’s a photo of USC coming down the Coliseum tunnel in 1960, the first season for John McKay.
Since USC is wearing its white uniforms, this would be the Georgia game. Georgia was led by quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who threw four interceptions. The Trojans won, 10-3.
- In 1960, the USC campus hosted Richard Nixon and John Kennedy during the presidential campaign. Kennedy visited the university twice during the campaign.
- The guest conductor for Songfest in 1961 was Henry Mancini, whose works include Peter Gunn, the Pink Panther and “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
- If you didn’t want a beer at Stubby’s, a simpler campus fixture in 1960-61 was Anna the ice cream lady.
- In 1960, Cecily Thomson was named Helen of Troy, the first winner who was married. Thomson was also president of the Mortar Board, a national honor society.
- Richard Wood was the first three-time All-American in USC history. He could have been a four-time All-American but freshmen were ineligible.
Wood was a star player at Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, N.J.
In 1970, a USC assistant coach flew to New York and was picked up at the airport by legendary Thomas Jefferson coach Frank Cicarell, who was wearing a fedora and driving a huge Lincoln-Continental. When they got to the high school, Cicarell parked in front of the school in a red zone.
“Don’t worry,” Cicarell said, “The police station is across the street. They know me.”
When they got out of the Lincoln, Cicarell had about 10 players lined up to meet the assistant coach, including Wood and Gil Chapman, who Parade magazine called the “No. 1 player in America” and went to Michigan.
The school also had future Notre Dame basketball player John Shumate.
- Remember, a couple weeks ago I wrote about the San Fernando stars from 1975 and this great photo from Prep magazine.
- But here’s another impressive factoid: In 1979, USC had six players from San Fernando High School!
Tailback Anthony Gibson (24), fullback Bob McClanahan (31), wide receiver Malcolm Moore (22), defensive back Kenney Moore (not pictured), wide receiver Kevin Williams (8) and tailback Charles White (12).
- If there is a player I think deserves more appreciation, it’s Kevin Williams. Imagine if he played in today’s pass-happy era? I think he would start at USC this season. And I know no one would be tougher.
From 1977-80, Williams caught 71 passes for 1,358 yards with 25 touchdowns during his career, which was still a USC record when he passed away in 1996.
- One reason this was a good week was a new picture of Cliff Robinson.
As Ronnie Flores of Cal Hi Sports noted, Robinson was named Mr. Basketball by the publication even though he was only 16 years old his entire senior year at Castlemont High School in Oakland.
He led the Pac-8 in scoring as a freshman when he was only 17, averaging 18.4 points and 9.6 rebounds. He averaged 18.8 points and 11.6 rebounds as a sophomore.
Robinson scored 45 points on March 9, 1980, the most scored by a teen-ager in the NBA because he was still only 19.
- I’ve been fascinated by old-time Lakers history recently so I wanted to publish this 1947 photo: Lakers center George Mikan was so popular that when the Lakers played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the marquee read “Geo Mikan vs. Knicks”
Mikan won five NBA titles with the Lakers. He was also the first ABA commissioner and the iconic red, white and blue basketball was his brianchild. He reportedly did it because he had poor eyesight and couldn’t see a regular basketball from the stands.
- I will never tire of running photos of Jerry West either.
This photo below is from 1968.