Swoosh, was not a symbol then, at least to the Bruins and Irish who so feebly attempted to stop the latest Trojan horse – it was more a sound… "There he goes again," they must have uttered as Davis juked right, left and then launched his famous kick and took off! Touchdown USC – eleven of those babies for AD in just three games against Notre Dame, alone.
The history that Anthony Davis created while at USC was just part of the reason the venerable California Club opened its doors to embrace an old friend, the University of Southern California. The bigger and more important focus tonight is the future that AD is creating through his newly formed Scholarship Foundation.
Tonight Anthony Davis and his Board of Directors, comprised of Trojan Family members Brad Budde, Ronnie Lott, Mark Frazier who designed the Anthony Davis Trophy and Lithograph, Gale Benussen, Justin Dedeaux, Sean Kenally, John Peterson and Richard DeBeikes, to name a few, hosted the first annual Anthony Davis Scholarship Dinner.
Keynote speaker and Trojan football Head Coach, Pete Carroll fed the hungry savages with some between-the-lines tidbits, such as Rey M. already at 250lbs and Mike Morgan running a 10.6 hundred but Carroll swung the talk back to the theme of the night – academics. And without being given any detail, it sounds as if this year's incoming class is in very solid shape academically. Pete also spoke about Mr. 3.8, Chauncey Washington. Carroll said they are considering giving Chauncey the number 38 and letting him put a decimal between the digits. The fact this young man will be on the field this Fall epitomizes what the Scholarship Foundation is all about – achieving your goals, against all odds.
The Anthony Davis Foundation's primary purpose is to provide scholarships for higher education to those who have the academic skills but not the financial or athletic ability to pursue a college career. The scholarships will be awarded to those deserving students who are already in attendance or plan on attending the University of Southern California. The selected student, and there will be just one per year, will be recognized for their inspirational achievements as well as their citizenship and academic leadership. The award will go to the student who best demonstrates the ability to achieve success in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Overcoming insurmountable challenges seemed to be the theme throughout Anthony Davis' life. His success in the classroom, as well as on the field, despite a less than idyllic upbringing was what drew Davis to the Foundation. AD looked back on his own life and knew that without his God-given physical talents he never would have had a chance to attend a school like USC. This was a chance to help current and future Trojans who displayed the same fighting spirit that made AD a USC legend but perhaps didn't have a football field or baseball diamond to showcase it.
Did I say baseball diamond? As great as AD was in football, he was equally as talented in baseball. During his Trojan career, Davis won four National Championships – two in each sport. He credits Rod Dedeaux and John McKay as the two greatest influences on his life – they were the men who taught Anthony that anything worth having was worth the fight. And anyone who has ever watched the famed "Comeback" knows Davis has got a whole lot of fight in him.
It was 1974, Davis was coming off the single day rushing record set against the Bruins. Nike had created a special shoe just for him and begged him to use it. McKay originally banned the shoe, as no one ever wore an all-white shoe on a Trojan squad. Davis pleaded, saying the shoes were a perfect fit, super light and aided him greatly with his cuts. The coach relented as long as they were painted black. Nike rep Nelson Farris went to work, polishing the shoes, save the now famous logo and the AD did the rest. Just prior to the end of the first half, Davis scored a touchdown and USC was down 24-6. Near impossible odds but at halftime McKay announced to his team that Davis was going to take the opening kickoff of the second half in for a touchdown. What transpired from that moment on was the greatest comeback in the history of college football. AD took that kickoff and scored, then did it again and again and again. By the time the final seconds ticked away ND heard nothing but the swoosh of Davis as he ran by them for 49 second half points and a Trojan victory.
Those back-to-back performances got Davis his Sports Illustrated cover and Nike its launch. What it didn't do was earn Davis a Heisman. At that time ballots were due prior to the USC vs. ND weekend and because of it, a certain Buckeye took the hardware. From that day forth, Heisman voting has been postponed until after the big game and has produced winners from both schools following record setting performances.
Davis gave so much to USC during his career and has remained dedicated to all things SC since. He said that in his speech – his family is made up of Trojans and always will be. That last bit he focused at his daughter who is about to start her college career. Her date tonight was the son of legendary Bruin tailback Theotis Brown, Trey Brown. Anthony wanted to be sure she knew that at Ucla you get milk and cookies, while at SC it is meat and potatoes and a person needs substance to thrive. That brought the audience to its feet and in near perfect harmony, in came Anthony's favorite musical group – the Trojan Marching Band. With the band playing and the house rocking it was a perfect way to end an evening, yet also to begin The Anthony Davis Foundation.
As the organization is just in its early stages of formation, they are very open to those looking to participate in its growth. If you are interested let us know at WeAreSC and we will put you in contact with their Board.