by Pete Arbogast, the voice of the Trojans:
I had a wonderful time at the USC Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. What Trojan wouldn’t after all!
Originally was going to attend with Jenny, but it turned out to be the same night as the prom for Holly, so mom stayed with her. My next date was going to be JJ, but he developed a bout with pink eye after renting his tux, so he couldn’t make it.
All dressed up in my finest rented monkey suit, I sat with Hoppe and his wife Debbie and a table that was missing two guests, meaning we all got to split the extra deserts!
I had to work at the Y until 5”15 that afternoon, so had to hustle to make it during the national anthem and introductions by former Trojan Radio Network sideline announcer Lindsay Rhodes.
There were six inductions before dinner, and another larger group afterwards.
My good friend John Hamilton, who basically got the Hall of Fame idea off the ground and running starting in 1994, was the first one to go in on this day. His speech was marvelous, and like so many others, filled with memories of their time in University Park. John is one of the reasons that USC athletics is as good as it gets. He looked stunned, honored and happy all at the same time. Our table, full of his best friends, gave him a standing ovation.
That seemed to be the general theme—when someone was introduced, a table or two full of friends would stand for that person. I stood and applauded louder than usual for five of the honorees. You can try to guess which ones.
There were a few athletes that I was not terribly familiar with, but in each instance, was immediately taken by their ability to string a sentence together, and the quality of their speeches.
Byron Black a great tennis player from a school absolutely packed with same.
Kristin Quance—the best women’s swimmer ever at SC at the time.
Don Quarrie—the man could GO! I ran a 200 against him in a master’s meet one time, securing lane 8 just to watch him go by. Did the same, by the way for Edwin Moses in my only attempt at the 400IH and also put the shot against Parry O’Brien one time. I bet you didn’t know I was the SoCal AAU champ in my age class that year in the shot put, did you? I bet you can guess how many other competitors there were.
Bob Yoder-the men’s volleyball star and coach. When I was at SC I called the National Final win over Ohio State at Pauley in a match in which he competed. I have the tape somewhere buried in storage. It was a good day, and not the last volleyball match I ever did play-by-play for on the air.
Tim Rossovich—a real wild man in his day. They say the scene in Animal House where the guy drives the motorcycle into the house is based on #88.
Dave Levy—very bit as funny a man as John McKay. Glad we got him in while the getting’ is still good.
Mark Prior—Met him once, after he got out of SC and was pitching for the Cubs. He wandered into our booth during the Notre Dame football game. Man is he ever built like a stick. Now working for the Padres front office.
Joe Jares—as nice—and knowledgeable a man on SC, LA Sports and high school athletics as there is anywhere in town. Glad he was inducted in good fashion, too.
At intermission, I went over and talked briefly with PC, we had not seen each other since he left, although we have talked once in awhile. Spent time with he and Glenna, while saying hi to the likes of Sark, Golden Rule, BC and a bunch of others.
Like Harold Miner. Man could he play. Oh how I wish he had stayed for his senior year. His speech was really humble and nice, just like he is.
And I spent a moment with Tom Kelly, who is back in the hospital, but they sprung him for this event because he simply could not be kept away. Pink bow tie and all! I felt as melancholy as you can feel when I walked away from TK.
Jack Del Rio—who helped us win the ’85 Roses against all odds, and could very well have been our HC instead of Lane Kiffin at one point.
Pete was the final speaker, and had us all enthralled with his run down memory lane in his on inimitable style….breathless and fast paced and fun. What would it be like if he were still here, and had decided to stay for, say, 30 years? Or if he comes back to coach your Los Angeles Rams one day?
And I think, and was not alone, that Jimmy Jones stole the show with the best acceptance speech of them all. All the man did was win. I thanked him for both things when the night was through.
Thanks to everyone involved for a lovely evening outdoors just outside of the McKay Center. Let’s do it again in 2017!
The spring sports campaigns are winding down, and while we have done well, the goal of national titles has so far eluded our teams. There are still chances, but it appears that women’s golf might be the only realistic shot we have.
The men’s tennis team could not beat the hometown Baylor Bears in the quarters. While the women lost to the eventual champs from Vandy. Now the players go for individual glory this week.
The baseball team wraps up regular season play at home with ASU before heading off to regional play. Was a time this team was top ten and a sure thing to host a regional. Not any more.
The Track teams are off to the regionals in Texas and then the NCAA’S, but winning a national title seems out of reach, if only slightly.
Women’s crew? We’ll be in it, but…
The Ducks and Blackhawks both have chips on their shoulder after being beaten by the Stanley Cup Champion Kings in heart ripping fashion last year. It ought to be one of the great series in Cup history.
The Clippers? It’s gonna take a while to get over that one.
The Lakers got a nice break in grabbing number 2—I love Okahfor, and hope somehow they can trade up later on to get Stanley Johnson.
Will the Dodgers ever score again?
Have a great Memorial Day Holiday….remember what it’s all about, and how you enjoy your life from the sacrifices made for us.