McKay's Corner

Weekly story for July 9, 2001

Coach McKay's Corner - 7/9/01

"Wind tore at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, and the sellout crowd was as ugly as the weather. USC Head Coach John McKay felt the electric atmosphere on the sidelines as he watched his Trojans line up to receive. Notre Dame was about to get even for an upset the previous year that knocked the Irish out of a national championship. Mike Hunter caught Notre Dame's kickoff on the goalline and ran out to his own seven, where he pitched forward on his face and didn't move. No player was within twenty yards of him. McKay glanced at one of his assistants.

"Christ, said McKay, they shot him."

Above from McKay: A Coach's Story (1974) by John McKay & Jim Perry

USC Head Coach from 1960-1975 John McKay was one of a kind. Quite possibly the greatest coach in the history of west coast collegiate football. His Trojan teams won 4 national championships, nine conference titles, five Rose Bowls, two Heisman Trophys, 40 All Americans, and over 75 percent of their games. His innovative offensive "I formation" has affected running the football to this day. Simply put, his coaching era from 1960-1981 was the glory years of USC football.

As we begin the time since the passing of Coach McKay, I'd like to write a weekly column reminiscing about the golden era of USC football, to coincide with the upcoming football season for the Men of Troy. Remembering what Coach McKay experienced as it relates to what this year's Trojans are going through, i.e., McKay's thoughts on recruiting, coaching strategy, games against opponents such as Notre Dame, UCLA, Pac-10 teams among other topics.

Hopefully this will be a column that entertains, as well as sparks response, since as members of the Trojan Family we are proud of our heritage. As an SC alum who grew up on McKay's Trojan teams I hope to provide a sense of history to newer Trojans. At the same time, I would love to inspire anyone who actually played for, worked with, or just had any experience to tell their stories as well about Coach John McKay.

He was one of a kind. A true Trojan legend. And a source of pride for the University. Here's to remembering the glory days of USC football under John McKay.

RIP Coach McKay.
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