This week’s roundtable features a look at the life and legacy of WeAreSC founder and publisher Garry Paskwietz.
In what truly reflects just a small sampling of the people affected by Garry P in some way over the years, former and current WeAreSC staffers, friends, colleagues, former players, and people fortunate enough to have spent time with him over the years, give their thoughts, moments, and memories of what they’ll remember most.
What struck me the most in putting this piece together was how unsurprised I was at both the volume and genuine emotion of the responses we received when we asked for thoughts about Garry. I already knew what he meant to so many people because I knew what he meant to me. He was so authentic in every interaction with every single person that you knew you were always getting his best, his most honest, his most heartfelt attention.
The easy part is saying that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Garry responding to a 20-year-old’s cold email, asking if I could potentially do any writing for his website. I used to think that I was so lucky to be able to cover USC football every day–witnessing some of the greatest players, games, and stories in college football history. Eventually, I realized I was actually lucky to be able to cover USC football alongside Garry. His knowledge, passion, and respect for USC football made it that much more enjoyable to cover. The pads popped louder and the scoreboard beamed brighter when you could see it all through his eyes.
The hard part is knowing I won’t have that same view anymore.
There were so many moments I got to share with him, either in person at games, practices, or events, over the phone or through text messages. I’m realizing now that Garry must have somehow found extra hours in the day, because there are hundreds and maybe thousands of people who feel the same way I do. No matter what was going on, Garry made time for you. A real conversation with a fan during a 7-on-7 event that he somehow managed to remember play-for-play even with his back turned to the field. Meeting and giving unending personal attention to burgeoning journalists looking for their start in sports. Or finding a way to fit seemingly dozens of two-hour phone conversations about the latest USC game into a single afternoon, all while churning out compelling content that engaged and delighted his WeAreSC community.
I don’t know if I’ll remember many specific instances with Garry, because so many of them simply blend into this overall feeling of comfort he provided. He was always there, always supportive, and always knew the right thing to say to encourage, enlighten, or just plain entertain.
We’ll fight on because Garry made it impossible not to. I’ll miss my boss, my friend, my colleague, and my mentor. But I know I’ll see him in every practice, game, event, USC fan, coach, administrator, sports fan, or journalist I come across for the rest of my life. His personality was so infectious, you couldn’t help but take some of it with you.
Wow, where to begin. Garry was a one-of-a-kind, a walking USC football encyclopedia, which he transitioned into WeAreSC. GP was everybody’s best friend, and he could sit with the rich and famous and also be totally comfortable sitting and/or talking to the common fan at spring ball. I can’t begin to tell you that whenever we were together at events or games – both home and away – people would come up to him and thank him for our website. Garry would take the time to talk with fans as if he had known them for years. I would agree with others that USC football on the internet is a direct result of Garry’s total foresight of what he envisioned the internet could be in promoting USC football and forming an electronic community that we know today as the message boards.
I can tell you without question that I am where I am today in the USC football writing world thanks to Garry reaching out to me and giving me a chance to write again as a second career after being a teacher and a varsity coach. To be able to write about USC football after being around the program since 1962 and to be able to have spent the last 19 years covering the Trojans was and still remains a dream come true. Whoever thought that I would be writing for ESPN.com along the way? It’s all due to a great guy named Garry Paskwietz who was willing to take unknown and sometimes well-established writers and turn them into household names in the USC football media world.
Garry had such an impact on so many people that words can’t adequately do it justice. I do know this, that there won’t be a football stadium, USC event, recruiting camp or showcase where I won’t think about Garry. FYI, I will devote this Friday’s O/NSO column to how I met Garry and some other items that I hope readers will find uplifting and informative.
Probably most important to me, it is my hope that the USC Athletic Department will give serious consideration to inducting Garry posthumously into its media section of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. For what he did as a pioneer of and for USC football on the internet is deserving of consideration.
Lizelle Brandt: WeAreSC Contributor
I am heartbroken. Garry has been such a huge part of my life since 2005, and it’s not just covering USC — although that was certainly a major part. He was a friend in the truest sense of the word. We’ve been through a lot together, navigating site changes including to and from ESPN, the evolution and acceptance of internet sports media. He was always there for me, was instrumental in helping me to start my own law firm. I miss his laughter. I miss his enthusiasm for USC. I miss his random text updates on athletes and coaches we covered over a decade ago. I miss my friend dearly. I am still processing his passing, and will have more of a tribute to Garry coming later this week.
For two decades, really since the dawn of the internet age, Garry Paskwietz has been the authoritative source on USC football. There is, of course, more to a person than his or her professional life. I grieve for Garry’s family and friends, those with whom Garry shared his life, the people for whom Garry’s role as USC football reporter and expert was a secondary matter.
Still, it is right to recognize a man for what he has done professionally and, in Garry’s case, for what he has built. For many of us, for literally thousands of Trojans like us, Garry was irreplaceable. He was both one of us – a USC alum and fan who shared our love for the Trojans – but also more than that: he was the preeminent source of rock-solid information. Garry did not trade in rumor or innuendo; he did not have a taste for sensationalism. For many years now, any time an important USC football event took place, whenever any type of uncertainty surrounded the program, I have always had the same reaction: What does Garry have to say?
Because I knew Garry was always careful, prepared, and dedicated to the truth. If Garry said it, we could all rely on it. And Garry’s contributions were not limited to the reporting of facts. His analysis of events was also second-to-none. He truly understood the subject matter of his reporting. And he understood how to convey his opinions with class. Garry was not afraid to criticize. But his criticisms were unfailingly fair and always tempered with grace.
We can all be thankful for the community that Garry has built here on WeAreSC. I believe this site is the most-civil of USC football fan sites, and I attribute that to Garry. It’s not that we don’t argue, for we do.
But Garry was the glue that held the community together. No matter your opinions on USC football, from the harshest of critics to the most consistent of sunshine pumpers, we all had deep and abiding respect for Garry, the model of decorum and respect.
Thank you for all you did, Garry. We will miss you.
I’m so incredibly sad that my friend Garry passed away. I have been blessed to be shooting USC pictures with Garry over the past couple of decades. Garry was infectiously passionate about recruiting and USC football, and on top of that, he was a kind and generous person. He always asked about my family – with genuine interest. I loved how he often found time to meet for lunch near my office to “check in” and give me a little inside info. I enjoyed carpooling to practice or games with Garry, often with Greg Katz or David Baker (Sam Baker’s Dad), where we had some dedicated time to talk about Trojan football and how things were going in one another’s lives. Garry has been the glue that binds us together. I hope the WeAreSC community grows stronger in his honor. Garry, miss ya man. Fight On!
This is a tough one. Even when you know a person is a giant in your community, you don’t think about how much of an impact that person has made until they are longer here.
Garry’s impact in the USC family and the high school sports community in Southern California will truly be missed. He was someone who made USC and Prep sports more accessible to the regular fan as founder of WeAreSC publications and his television production work.
On the website, Garry guided WeAreSC through many platform changes throughout the years. But one thing always remained constant – Garry’s dedication to presenting USC athletic news and updates with integrity. In this age of reporting rumor and innuendo as fact just to be first, he made the consistent effort to eschew the rumors and regurgitation of news just to have something to post to the WeAreSC site. I can think of dozens of times that he put the athlete and their family’s privacy first, over the opportunity to report something that had not been confirmed. Garry also knew the importance of following USC’s administration protocols as a requirement to keeping athletes and fans out of harm’s way.
At the same time, Garry created a space where the fans could just be fans; free to express their joys and frustrations about USC athletics. I got to know Garry as a regular poster who visited USC football practices. And whenever we talked, the conversation always lasted longer than expected because we would inevitably drift back to well known (and not-so-well known) USC and high school players and games of the past. I was stunned when he asked me to be a periodic contributor to the site. The opportunity to join Garry and other contributors at skill camps, 7 on 7 competitions, and WeAreSC social events was a true honor.
For those who may not know, Garry’s “media tree” of those he mentored and worked with reads like a great coach’s “coaching tree”. He gave so many individuals a chance to hone their skills as contributors to WeAreSC, and then move on to careers in various aspects of the media. Garry rarely touted his own impressive resume. His interest was in the athletes, the games, and enjoying the competition with others.
Garry, for one final time, we in the Trojan Family salute you for making USC a better place.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) January 21, 2019
Owner and Publisher of USCFootball.com
It is hard to believe that Garry and I started our websites covering USC football over 20 years ago. And it is harder to believe that I will never see Garry at a practice, football game or recruiting event ever again.
I have read and heard a lot of sentiments describing Garry today and the one I like the best is that he was a gentle soul. I think that fits perfectly. Everyone got along with Garry, he made it almost impossible not to. There are simply too few truly nice people in our industry and unfortunately we now have one less than we did yesterday.
Until today I never told anyone about how Garry truly changed my life. I just realized I never even told Garry. I wish I had.
When we first got our sites started, I was a full time engineer learning to be a journalist and running my site as a hobby. Garry had studied sports information at USC and had already worked in the media and covered recruiting. I also wasn’t a lifelong USC fan like Garry, I was an East Coast kid who came out to USC for college. By the time Pete Carroll got USC rolling both Garry and I had the top USC sites on the internet, but I was unable to cover the Trojans as thoroughly as Garry by going to workouts and other events because of my day job as an engineer.
That ended up being a crossroads for me, back in 2004. Did I want to quit my engineering career of 11 years and focus on the site or give up the website altogether and let someone else take it over. With Garry publishing WeAreSC. I knew I couldn’t do my site justice working on it part time, so I had a big decision to make. I ended up leaving engineering behind and running my site full time and Garry’s presence was a big reason why.
Over the years many people would ask me if Garry and I got along. We always did. We were in competition for readers and subscribers, but we were also partners in a way. Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the landscape of sports media was changing and Garry and I would work together, talking with USC sports information director Tim Tessalone, trying to gain acceptance. I was emailing with Tim today about it and he said he made us pay our dues and earn our stripes so we could get access to practices and games as fully credentialed members of the media. Tim saw the work we put in and we earned his trust and acceptance. Today the majority of media covering USC are of the online variety, but back then that wasn’t the case. Guys like Garry worked hard to make that happen.
RIP Garry P. You were the truest of Trojans and you will be dearly missed.
USC Hall of Fame Journalist
It is rare to find someone as passionate about anything as Garry was about USC football. He literally lived and breathed it. A happy, buoyant guy, he truly loved what he did for a living. He was respected throughout the state for his deep knowledge of the Trojans. I’m sure everyone in the Trojan family will join us in mourning his loss.
USC football radio play-by-play announcer
He was my best friend for years at practice. We talked all the time about not just SC stuff but all manner of life subjects leaving nothing out. I will sorely miss my friend. We all will. Gone way too soon.
USC Sports Information Director
He was an intern for me. Held a special place in my heart. And he was a pioneer in the online coverage. Will miss him.
Former USC strength and conditioning coach
His insights on incoming recruits always gave me a leg up when I met them in person – knowing personal information about these young players made conversations easier.
Garry was also a great salesman for the program – his stories about the players and coaches helped make the team more well known to the alumni, boosters and fans.
Personally, Garry was one of my good friends – every few months we would touch base – he was always positive and uplifting . I will miss Garry.
Former USC punter
24 years ago at a recruiting combine at UCLA, a writer from Students Sports Magazine approached me asking if he could write an article about my recruiting progress and highlight what schools I was looking to attend. That writer was a young Garry Paskwietz and from that moment on I would forever be in Garry’s debt. The articles he wrote on my behalf garnered the first real interest I ever had from Division 1 schools, and I spent the next 24 years thanking Garry any chance I could for taking an interest in helping a young unknown recruit earn a scholarship. I was only one of many Garry helped, and only one story in the larger fabric of generosity that is Garry Paskwietz.
That initial meeting would lead to a 24 year friendship I would cherish. When you know Garry, you not only have a lifelong friend and colleague, but an advocate, a rock to lean on, and a mentor to learn from. I had the pleasure of attending many USC events with Garry and the privilege of occasionally introducing him to eager audiences who would hang on his every word. I would tease Garry, sometimes referring to him as the “human rolodex,” as he always seemed to remember your birthday, parent’s names, the city you grew up in, and every one of your stats on a whim, just like that. Legend had it when Garry called you he would simply dial by memory. And these were the days before smartphones and convenient “Facebook reminders.”
Garry will always be a titan in the sports and collegiate recruiting industry, but I most admire the way he received his success. No matter how great his success or how vast his influence, he always remained Garry: the same authentic, gracious, guy that just wanted to talk some USC football with you, always wanted to know how your family was doing, and generously gave of his time if he was ever needed or could do anything to help. He was the embodiment and personification of “Trojan Family.”
In life there are those people you meet that have tremendous influence and impact on its direction; I’m proud to say Garry was one of those influencers in my life. I’ll miss him tremendously, and I will be forever grateful I had the opportunity and privilege to call him a friend. RIP Garry, God Bless You, and FIGHT ON.
Man this one hits home. Gary P was such a great Trojan. Always good to my family. RIP Gary. We will miss you! https://t.co/kLq9EEuKlK
— Matt Leinart (@MattLeinartQB) January 21, 2019
Former WeAreSC Contributor
I met Garry in 1996 soon after my playing time at USC was over, and he and I remained friends for over 20 years. It’s been a tough day learning of his passing, and I will miss him very much.
Beyond USC, Garry was a fantastic person. Caring. Kind. Highly ethical, do-the-right-thing kind of guy. That said, it’s hard to talk about Garry without talking about USC as it was such an integral part of his life. He lived it every day and tied his existence to covering USC and the football program. And if you step back and think about USC and those hard to define, immeasurable traits that have made USC so special to so many Trojans for decades, there are always those that seem to really “get it” – – Garry was one of those guys. He was hugely committed to the Trojan family, respected and valued USC’s traditions (and wanted to see others respect them as well), was a positive voice in supporting players – even through tough times, and connected with many of us (players, alumni and fans) because he always believed in the greatness that USC could and should be, even if the teams and administrations of the times were missing the mark. The return of USC to the highest ranks was always right around the corner, because it should be!
Fight on, Garry! When those next championships come, I will think of you, knowing that you are watching and smiling!
USC Associate Professor of Professional Practice
The entire Trojan Family, and the world of So Cal high school sports, lost a five-star friend and difference-maker in life with the passing of our dear Garry Paskwietz. I shared many panels, roundtables and platforms with Garry over the years, and he was always positive and encouraging with students and aspiring sports media professionals. It was truly a joy to see his smiling face on high school football sidelines every fall—and he was always smiling because he loved what he did, and he loved life. He saw the very best in people, and where there were obstacles, Garry could see opportunities. He worked hard at his craft and never lost his enthusiasm for bringing great stories and the latest and best information to his audiences. More than anything, I am eternally grateful for his friendship. If you were a friend of Garry Paskwietz, you were a very lucky person. RIP and Fight On and On, Garry….
National Recruiting Editor for 247 Sports
When I was first hired in this industry in 2003, Garry was one of the first people I met, when we were still at The Insiders (which would become Scout). We worked a Nike Camp together and he was so helpful in pointing guys out to talk to, introducing me to coaches and players and just being a sounding board on players. We would see each other numerous times a year at events, games, camps, all-star showcases, you name it, and Garry was always smiling and happy. Even when we worked for competing sites, it wasn’t competition with Garry, it was a friendship. When my daughter was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2015, soon after, Garry texted me and emailed me and would send me messages throughout her fight saying he was praying for her and for our family and thinking about her. Even as he dealt with his own health, he would ALWAYS ask how we were doing, how my daughter was doing, and there were readers of his who would read about Avery and send us messages because Garry had told them about her fight and shared her story. He had the warmest heart, he was selfless, always asking how YOU were doing, never wanting to talk much about himself, but asking how YOU felt and always cared genuinely. In an industry that has some sharks out there, Garry was one of the very few who was universally loved and respected because he was such a great person and friend more than anything. He will be so missed.
Former SCPlaybook Publisher
The passing of Garry Paskwietz is a huge loss for the Trojan Family. Garry was a voice for the fans that will never be replaced because of the passion that he brought to his coverage of all things USC.
The advent of the internet sites like WeAreSC gave fans new insight into the players and coaches that made up their favorite program and no one captured that in a more pure and joyous way than Garry.
As USC ascended back to the top of the college football world during the Pete Carroll era, Garry took thousands of fans along for the magical ride, one top recruiting class at a time.
He connected with so many because he was a true professional with the spirit of a diehard fan. The enthusiasm for his beloved Trojans jumped off the page.
I was lucky enough to roam the sidelines with Garry at various practices and games over the years and will remember him as a kind, generous man that was always quick with a smile and a good story.
Radio Host and Analyst
When you think of a champion, you think of Garry Paskwietz!! OK both on and off the field! Always a smile, always says yes to my request!! Very very good at what he did! Very loyal and dedicated! He would’ve been a starter for me on any team!! How can you not love him! There should be a special chair on the practice field and in the press box, named after Garry Paskwietz!
Garry Paskwietz was one of the kindest, most supportive, egoless people I’ve met in my career. He’s helped me in countless ways. He’s sent others to me, in need of help. He didn’t care about credit. He cared about people. He cared about USC. It’s a sad day for us Trojans. https://t.co/PNnTSkFWwU
— Lindsay Rhodes (@lindsay_rhodes) January 22, 2019
College Football Recruiting Analyst at 247 Sports
It was always great to see Garry on the sidelines at Howard Jones Field and football events across the Southland. Whether it was during USC practice or Rising Stars Camp, Garry had a wealth of knowledge about the program and endless stories to share. He helped me a ton early on in my career in the recruiting industry and I’ll miss seeing him around. Fight On, Garry.
Former USC Director of Football Operations
I am beyond shocked and saddened to learn of Garry’s untimely passing. He was an outstanding journalist who embodied all the characteristics of a great Trojan. He did so much to champion the branding and messaging of Trojan Football during the PC era, and was a trusted resource for our staff on the recruiting front. His efforts and insight were welcomed and appreciated. I was elated to see Garry following our game at The Coliseum in September, where he was all smiles and in great spirits. It is that image that will forever Fight On in my heart.
Rest in peace, Garry. Your voice and humor and presence will be so very much missed. We will take you and your wonderful spirit with us wherever the USC family gathers. https://t.co/3LDLF19erp
— Daniel Weber (@dweber3440) January 22, 2019
Former WeAreSC Staffer
As a young and hungry sophomore on the women’s swim and dive team, eager to become a sportscaster, I was referred by Pat Haden to schedule a meeting with Garry. I sent Garry an email and met him on the USC football practice field after morning practice the very next day. From my first conversation with Garry, I was instantly inspired and ready to pursue this dream but of course with that would come challenges. Pat told Garry, “Throw Natalie to the wolves.” And oh, you bet Garry did just that and I love him so much for that. My very first interview for WeAreSC was with former Trojan – DE -Leonard Williams, now NY JET at PAC-12 Media Day. I am 5’6 and he is 6’5, although Williams-“The Lion” is as gentle as a kitten, I was so nervous. After that interview Garry sat down with me and coached me on how to attack my next one.
Garry knee I was tough and always up for constructive criticism.
This relationship strengthened through my time at USC and developed even stronger after graduating. After graduating in May 2016, I moved to Clarksburg, WV to become the WBOY-TV weekend sports anchor.
I would call Garry catch up with him and he would give me strength and confidence, knowing how difficult that move was.
Garry would remind me of the importance of this job and why I am doing it- to feed my genuine curiosity of athletes and their journeys to success. My time in West Virginia was short and sweet, just as Garry told me it would be. After just over a year, I was moved to the weeknight sports anchor/director at ABC8 in Richmond, VA.
Garry believed in me from the start.
My coach, my mentor, my forever friend. I love you, Garry. Thank you for your friendship and teachings, I will cherish forever.
Former WeAreSC Staffer
I had the pleasure of working with Garry on WeAreSC for almost 15 years starting way back when with Scout. I approached Garry cold at a practice to offer help on the technical side of things should he ever need it. I had never meet him before this, but as was his way he didn’t dismiss me out of hand nor politely decline, rather he immediately engaged me with very specific questions on could be done to improve the site and what I thought of it overall.
By the end of practice, we had exchanged numbers and before long I was in conference calls with Garry with Scout, ESPN and others, being trusted to ask the questions that were necessary for him to be able to make the right decisions about the future of his beloved site.
Garry was obsessed with his work and he loved every minute of it. I will remember fondly the late-night phone calls we would have about the site that would sometimes last hours. Talking about everything from the platform, updating the logo, how to moderate the boards in general to dealing with specific posters.
What I will remember most about Garry though was the person that he was. Warm, friendly and patient to a fault. His nature attracted a staff that was a reflection of himself (with the probable exception of myself). He was, trusting and loyal and always had a smile on his face. His nature helped form what type of leader I became in my own career. Thank you Garry for all you did to enrich my life and the lives of everyone that is fortunate to be a part the community you created.
Founder and Publisher of Irish Sports Daily
I knew Garry for over 20 years. He got into the business right around the same time I did. Out of all the publishers I’ve known who have done this for a living, Garry was my absolute favorite. He was just a gem of a guy. Truly genuine. Honest. I can’t tell you how many hours Garry and I spent on the phone together talking about recruiting, or the ND/USC game coming up, but mostly about our futures in this business. We spent a lot of time discussing that, and he was a great friend to bounce ideas off and to talk to about what was working and what wasn’t.
If there was any way he could help me, he always did, and I did the same.
I can assure you he loved this business, the community he built, and especially USC. He truly loved what he did for a living, and appreciated everyone who allowed him to do this for a living. Many times he’d tell me how thankful he was for this opportunity.
I’m truly shocked by the news. I wish the best for everyone involved in WeAreSC.com, and for his family.
USC truly lost a five-star in Garry P.
Garry Paskwietz has passed away.
In my nearly two-decades at ABC, I was blessed to spend countless hours at practice and games talking and LEARNING from Garry!
RIP Garry – you will be dearly missed!#abc7eyewitnesshttps://t.co/GQKIbWjAs1
— Curt Sandoval (@abc7curt) January 21, 2019
Father of the late Ryan Davidson
Former WeAreSC Recruiting Editor
We were sitting down for my first work on radio, when Garry looked at me and noticed I wasn’t my usual self. I made the mistake of visualizing myself falling flat on my face. With his signature smile, he reminded me that “Dude, are you kidding? We’re about to talk Trojan football. It doesn’t get much better than this.” He was just cool like that.
The nerves left me before he could finish laughing. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious. I wish I had the opportunity to know more people like Garry. The world is better off with more people like him.
Founder of USC Alumni Network TEN
One of my favorite days on the Trojan Entertainment Network’s calendar for the past two years was the day our alumni community got the chance to attend our annual USC preseason football practice and a big part of my excitement was knowing that before we saw the team, Garry Paskwietz was going to break down everything we needed to know going into the fall. The schedule, every position group, scouting and depth, you could spend the whole season impressing your friends with little details Garry told you that day. Garry was a crucial early supporter of our TEN Sports division that strives to build a more connected community for USC alumni working in the worlds of sports and sports media, which is no surprise since he was such a great leader in that community for so long. I don’t think you can replace him, but that TEN got to benefit from his wisdom and enthusiasm at all was a gift.
ESPN 710 and WeAreSC contributor
This year was my favorite year with Garry. I’ve always liked him, then again, who didn’t. We go back 30 years. I’ve never heard a bad word about him. Hard to believe about a reporter. He was always smiling, always in a good mood no matter what the circumstances. I would go to practice almost every Wednesday at USC and inevitably instead of watching practice I found myself talking with Garry P. We talked about everything, life, family, and of course, USC football. I found myself walking into practice looking for Garry, like a school chum looking for his best friend everyday at school. He makes you feel good. He makes you feel special. That’s what I’ll remember about Garry. Love you brutha! Rest well. No more pain. Only peace.
“I’m just really glad I got to call him a friend. I will miss seeing him before USC games. He was always so nice to me.”
— Steve Mason (@VeniceMase) January 21, 2019
Daughter of the late John Magnus, namesake of the WeAreSC off-topic board
One of the best guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Someone my dad looked up to and that was enough for me. His contagious smile will always be etched in my mind. He did more for us than he will ever know and I’m forever grateful for that. Huge Fight On Garry, I am sure you are already talking football with my dad and Ryan.
Founder of BruinReportOnline
I was stunned to hear about Garry.
Despite being college rivals, Garry and I were friends. In this business, often times he and I relied on each other for support, counseling and business strategy. When we were first starting out with the sites, many times it was kind of Garry and I against the world in many ways.
It’s easy to get contentious with a rival, but Garry, with his professionalism and class, made it impossible.
I’m in shock and deeply saddened. RIP, Garry.
President, Trojan Club of San Gabriel Valley
I’d like to say that the Trojan Club of the San Gabriel Valley is so grateful to GarryP for the many years that he gave us as a featured speaker at our events. He never once turned me down when I asked him to speak to my group. He was one of the most knowledgeable personalities in all of high school and college football. USC Senior Athletic Director would just be in awe of how much information Garry could present off the top of his head. He never had to look at notes. He just knew so much about recruiting. USC Athletic Support Group member Kevin Dawson said that he most enjoyed hearing Garry correctly pronounce Polynesian players names. I often told Garry that he was so good at what he did but he really had to slow down his delivery. I talk fast and I can understand what he’s saying, but those older than me might have a hard time understanding him. As he continued to speak at our club events he got so good at taking his time so that everyone in attendance could understand him. GarryP was a treasure and the Trojan Family has lost a great man.
No one loved the Trojans more than Garry Paskwietz – 1st met him in 2005 & his spirit always uplifted anyone around him. A constant smile, a true optimist, a gifted storyteller. Much love to him, his family & all that were fortunate to have met him along his impactful journey✌🏼❤️
— Yogi Roth (@YogiRoth) January 21, 2019
Former USC Director of Football Operations
One thing that stood out about Garry was his ability to connect with the USC community as a whole. There are so many lives he has impacted on such a positive level.
I lost a truly good friend yesterday in Garry P, and am having a very hard time with this news. I am still in disbelief. This will take quite some time to sink in. When one thinks of the amount of friends one has as the true currency of life…Garry was a multi-trillionaire. He defined altruism. When I think of all the folks who loved USC & USC football, and wanted to stay involved/engaged in some capacity after graduating…Garry was the cardinal & gold bridge. He gave me the opportunity in the Fall of 2000 when the internet sites were new (and crashing much of the time). I did not know in what role I could contribute, as I am certainly not a very good writer, and could not skip my regular work position to be at practice (etc) on a regular basis. However, I did know how to search for Trojan related information on the internet, and Garry created a board for me. He had found roles for others with the mindset of staying involved too…from Greg Katz going back to Tom Daniels, Johnny Curren, Lizelle, Scott Schrader, Erik McKinney, Petros, JJ…I could go on. Garry created and/or opened doors for all of us to contribute!
Garry knew a Trojan heart when he came across it, and would always make time to talk his two favorite passions = USC & USC Football. He loved being around the game (on Friday nights for many years doing the High School Game of the Week on Fox), and of course for SC. Coach Carroll favored/went with Garry as his primary internet outlet early in his time at SC. Garry & Greg Biggins got their arms around the Prep prospects/future Trojans through the camps and games leading the way with the camps we see today. Carroll many times leaned on Garry for this knowledge, especially with the June camps on campus.
I was in Houston, Texas for work and got a call from Garry. He told me Drean Rucker was missing and most likely had drown in HB while celebrating with high school friends. I have not felt like that since (until yesterday). It took quite some time to register. I grabbed the next flight back and went straight down to the beach where Drean’s family was camping out, and there was Garry doing his best at grief counseling/support. I asked him how long he had been down there (his face was beat red), and he said “Oh, just a little while”. The family had not even thought about funeral arrangements (etc). I called Garry the next day to discuss this situation. Since Drean was two weeks out from starting fall camp at SC, there was not much the school could do since he wasn’t officially a Trojan yet. Garry got on the phone and made some calls to SC alumni. He put together the arrangements for a first class funeral at the beach for Drean from flowers to family to friends to USC coaches & teammates.
Garry was a person who owned his character 24/7/365. I remember several times where he chose to do the right thing rather than the easy thing. Garry will need to forgive me in borrowing the following quote from a bruin (John Wooden), but it fits him to a “T”: “Worry about your character, not your reputation. Character is what you really are, Reputation is what people say you are.”
I am a better person for knowing Garry P. I am going to miss my friend tremendously.
WeAreSC message board poster
For anyone who logged on to this board every day….or even once in awhile, maybe you didn’t think about it, but we were all logging on to Garry’s lifework, his passion, his desire to have a community all brought together over USC Football. If you ever have known someone who is doing the exact job they were meant to be doing, then know G-Diddy was in the perfect job and we were all the lucky recipients of that.
If you didn’t know Garry…you missed out on a beautiful person and a gracious, generous, loyal man. It was without a doubt, one of the easiest friendships I’ve ever had. For several seasons, as Samsson and I would tailgate, we would plan our walk over to the ESPN booth to chat with Garry. He always had a nugget of insider info to share and always with a big smile. When my daughter was fund-raising for her travel softball team, she asked Garry if WeAreSC would help sponsor. In less than a week, we received a generous check. After every board transition, despite the expected problems and issues, Garry was always outwardly patient, but so worried over upsetting his loyal posters. The OT is named after Samsson because Garry recognized heart when he saw it.
Truly this board will never be the same. To Greg, Lizelle, and Joe Andras who have been along pretty much from the beginning, my sympathies for the unimaginable loss.
Darrell Rideaux: WeAreSC staff
I was introduced to Garry Paskwietz (“GP”) in 1996 as a Sophomore at Long Beach Poly. As we prepared for a Playoff game against Mater Dei, I interviewed by John Jackson and as the interview concluded, I said “thank you Sir” to Mr. Jackson, of course it must have made JJ feel old being in his early 30’s having started his career as a prep high school commentator for Fox Sports West along side Jim Watson.
My natural thought was to thank everyone for taking the time out to interview our team and getting my thoughts for the game against Mater Dei, as I proceded to shake hands and give thanks the camera man happend to be Garry Paskwietz.
Throughout my years in highschool I developed a trust and friendship with GP and once I made the decision to become a USC Trojan the relationship has carrried strong for over 23 years.
As my career at USC launched so did the Thundering Heard, a group of devoted Trojan fans and Alumni who supported the Trojans through the dark days of the Paul Hackett era and the Glory days thereafter. The Thundering heard occupied the closed side of the Coliseum, their voice could be heard chanting “We…Are…SC!,” as we, the players, walked in Triumph or Defeat in and out of the Coliesium Tunnel.
That marked the the early stages of the website WeAreSC.com. It was tough on GP early on as there was not many, if any at all, who had ventured into the exclusive coverage of one team. But any chance I had to help him by offering up a sound bite or introducing him to new players I did with pleasure.
GP was a pioneer, one who bridged the gap of information from inside of practice to the living rooms of high school recruits. His efforts and relationships with prep players and coaches provided an uncanny insight and perspective to USC football for fans who could not attend practice, or was seeking upto the minute coverage of all that is recruiting.
GP, is such a great friend, mentor, and unofficial football psychiatrist! When I was released from the Indianapolis Colts in 2004, Garry was the first call that I made, and after an hour of ranting over the phone and feeling sorry for myself, GP asked me was I ready to get my media career started and then made calls to Fox Sports West and ESPN Radio both of whom hired me at the time to cover high school football and college football.
It was therapeutic, He helped build my confidence and gave me an outlet as I transitioned away from playing football by living vicariously through covering football.
There are so many memories that continue to flash through my mind but it is the moments we shared just watching the game and texting during the games that I will miss most.
I was in Hong Kong for the opening home game of the 2017 Football Season versus Western Michigan so Garry gave me access to his internet user name and password so that I could watch the game on line. We then did a post game podcaste with a 15 hour time difference. Covering the Trojans never felt like work, just a couple of friends talking USC football. All of this feels surreal and I know like many of you, the closer we get to football season the more I am going to miss the joy I felt being around Garry.
After his recent stroke we spoke by phone, you could tell that the stroke had impacted his speach but he remained upbeat and ready to embrace the path of recovery. I used that moment to express to him just how much I loved him and thanked him for being one of the best parts of my life. My wife, Cristelyn, was in the car as Garry became emotional and overwhelmed from the support that he had been receiving. He was particularly grateful for the way that his colleagues at WeAreSC continued to keep the fan base engaged and informed as that has always been the hallmark of his wishes, to build an information portal that would foster an environment for Trojan Fans and Former Players to feel safe to express their passion for USC football.
I will miss Garry Paskwietz and may he join the Trojans in Heaven and sit at the roundtable discussing USC football with the late great Trojan Legends!
Darrell W Rideaux
Kevin Bruce: WeAreSC staff writer
This is a sad an emotional time for me and the rest of the Trojan family. Garry P. meant so much to me and to try to get the right words on the page is a gut-wrenching assignment. But as Garry would surely say, “Fight on and get it done.” What was obvious about GP was his passion and love for Trojan football. Equally obvious was his deep knowledge and expertise regarding Trojan football and his uncanny ability to express himself with such grace while being so fact-based and direct. I only wish I could have learned more from him for a much longer time. It has been a joy for me to have been asked by Garry to write for his site (it will always be his site just under new management). That opportunity morphed into Defensively Speaking and importantly gave me many opportunities to talk and text with Garry. Always he was willing to talk and share his insights with me as I did same. During games, I would text real-time to only three people and he was one. His texts were priceless including one after a particularly galling 3-n-out by our offense he sent, “Maybe our perimeter passing game is over-used…” Classic Garry. He was right of course, it was over-used and he expressed it with both grace and urgency. How did he always do that? He was gifted. He was doing what he was called to do. A lesson for all of us to learn. We are better for his many contributions, foresight and insights. But we miss him, I want him back. The team needs him…now. But his time to Fight on is over. Ours is not. While we are better because of who Garry was and did, we are lessened by his absence. So, what would he have us do? Fight on, my friend, fight on.
Johnny Curren: Former WeAreSC staff writer
Like so many others, Garry gave me my start in the sports media world, and It’s safe to say that I couldn’t have a had a better mentor to teach me the ins and outs of the business. The impact that he had not only on myself in this regard, but to countless others, is a true testament to the kind of person that he was – knowledgeable, patient and giving.
The Trojan Family lost a great one. I’ll miss him tremendously.
Chris Penrose: Former USC men’s basketball player
I first met Garry when he was starting to cover USC basketball my senior year in 2007. After I graduated Garry (and Lizelle) took me out to lunch at Engine Co. 28 in DTLA and asked me to help them with their video content with regards to SC Hoops. I had no camera experience and literally had no idea what to talk about, but Garry made me feel confident that I could pull it off. Being on camera with Garry was such an incredible experience and he was able to really help me with my analysis and how to relax. After putting together multiple videos for the WeAreSC website with Garry, he recommended me for a guest spot on Trojans Live with Lindsay Rhodes (back then Soto). In all honesty, I was way over my skis and had no business being on national TV at that point in my career, but Garry was the one that pushed for me to gain that experience. Because of him, I did 8 national shows with Fox Sports talking USC Hoops – an experience I will never forgot. Garry was the type of guy who always supported you and always had you back. His kindness, generosity and big smile is something that I know we will all miss. A tremendous person that was taken from us too soon. FTFO GP!