Walking in from the parking lot the other day, I came upon the open back gate to HoJo/Beek and too the time to stroll across the newly mown grass. The field had just been painted with new lines, AND—something new—the USC Trojans logo was painted in one end zone!
I caught a glimpse another morning of players being run through various drills by strength and conditioning expert Chris Carlisle. In the afternoon, guys are on the field, self-coached, throwing and running and having a good time. Working hard.
I have been in the sports information office so often in the past week, researching information I can use soon….so much so that I think that even though they know me well, Tim Tessalone, Paul Goldberg, Dave Tuttle and Darcy Couch are surprised to see me.
Here are some of the people I have run into in the past week: Brian Cushing—his hair is growing out again, and he's in very good shape.
Chauncey Washington, also with lots of hair and looking football big.
LoJack riding a shiny new bike, smiling and waving.
Coach Ken Norton Junior, on the cell phone waving.
Coach Rocky Seto a couple of times already, says he's happy I am around.
So does Athletic Admin. Carol Dougherty, and AD Mike Garrett.
Brennan Carroll and Dave Watson moving through the office.
Behind the scenes coach, one time voice on KSCR, Peter Dallis.
Nick Holt watching some film, in shorts and slip flops. Summer must be here!
Thomas Williams. A LOT more hair, also on the cell waving, walking with Cush.
Athletic Admin Steve Lopes. Who has been down in our room looking things over. Marketing Dir. Jose Eskenazi, getting ready to push the '07 national champs.
There's Athletic Admin, Brandon Martin, former SC hoopsters and LA City basketballer of the year.
Ron Orr, always with headset on, talking to someone or other in his amazingly decorated office. This guy would really swim, you know!
Marilee Pischel, a good friend I see often upstairs, as do I Melanie Moreno. Jill Dennis and Rebecca Moran have helped get me office supplies among other things.
Monica Morita from downstairs walked me to the office the other day. Willie Brown drove me to my car to pick up some heavy stuff in his little golf cart today. He's dropped 30 pounds and might be nearing or even below playing weight at just under 200. He looks great! Way to go WB!
Trainer Russ Romano sitting in Jose's office. Irene Garza in the football office with Jared. Teresa Verbeck. And there are tons of people I don't know yet, but I will soon. They seem to know who I am. I will figure it all out after while.
Daryl Lundy shares a desk with me. Rich Rodriguez shares the office with us, as will, I am told, many, many others. Eric took over from Joe as video dude.
So much to take in.
They're holding fantasy camp this week at HH. Ex-players and staff members running a bunch of guys (and women) through drills, team practices, training table, film sessions, the whole ten yards (a first down!). It finishes up Friday with a scrimmage at the Coliseum, with PA announcer, names in lights, film made. It costs some, sure, but it sounds like a bundle of fun. I got to hang and watch the old timers (including Paul McDonald) spin yarns of their playing time at SC, had dinner with some of the guys.
Monday, June 11th
We have now officially reached "off season". At least I think we have. On campus, where I now work full time (although the official announcement of what it is I am actually involved in has not been made public yet, so I am sworn to secrecy until that time about that subject), there are no sports currently competing as the NCAA has officially put to bed the athletic year 2006-07.
With the wins in the men's shot put by Noah Bryant, and freshman Jamie Lovemark taking top honors in the NCAA golf tournament, the Trojans have added to their astounding record of NCAA team and individual championships.
Congrats to the 6 SC baseballers who got drafted. Hopefully the losses, if any, won't hurt too badly next year. And the women's volleyball team continues its tour through Europe….but generally all is quiet.
Except the other day when walking to the office I stopped and watched football guys going through various workout drills as a group, on their own in the morning over at Beek/HoJo, and later in the day on Cromwell they were tossing it around. The weight room is always full of activity. We are less than two months out!!!
Even though they are going through a bit of a lean stretch right now, I finally got to see them win in person on Saenz' 10th inning homer against Toronto. It only took until June 8. Sheesh.
The Santa Monica Pony League (Bronco Division) Twins found a hot streak at season's end, won four straight, and thanks the Angels coming from down 13-0 to win 15-13 over the Mira Costa Yankees, finished in first place, with the top four teams in a six team league all within a game-and-a-half! We had an interesting group, two guys who I think will become very good baseball players at least on the high school level, and in the 40 years of coaching youth sports, the kid with the single worst season-long attitude problem I have ever encountered on any level in any sport. And his dad condones this sort of behavior. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Glad I will never have to deal with this kid again, and I don't say that about hardly anyone I ever come in contact with. I can count the bad people I have run into in life on two hands. And of kids there might be three. I worry about what this kid will become later in life, but despite trying every trick I knew (and I've learned a lot through years of coaching and YMCA camp directing and being a mentor) he was just not interested in anything but being lazy and being all about himself. We'll see what happens in his future, but I am not holding out too much hope, unfortunately.
Hey, a kid I coached a few years ago when I was in Ohio was drafted in the first round, by the Yankees (ugh!). Andrew Brackman who plays both baseball and basketball for NC State, and may be headed to New York eventually, or just might try his hand at the NBA. Life must be good. How ‘bout them Ducks? Just wish it were the Kings.
But it keeps me alive. Knowing that I can die happily when the Kings hoist the cup and the Trojans win the NCAA basketball title. In either order. Which do you think will happen first?
I hit the beach today for the first time, the water is still a little cold but I gotta start training for the body surfing competition season.
More from campus as I learn what is going on and when. Until then,