$1 Million Surprise

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USC athletics received a surprise gift from former USC track & field thrower Dr. Robert Sbordone, who died in August of 2014, a $1 million bequest to the Trojan Athletic Fund, which will provide critical support for student-athlete scholarships.

Click here to learn more about supporting student-athlete scholarships.

The loyal Trojan donated 25% of his estate to the athletic department after his powerful experience at Troy guided him to become a decorated neuropsychologist, treating, researching and teaching about traumatic brain damage, Alzheimer's disease, and many other debilitating disorders.

Click here for his complete obituary.

Sbordone, who turned down a scholarship from Harvard to come to USC, specialized in the javelin on the track & field team from 1959-61. He was an alternate on the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team.

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No Retreat for Coaches

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The USC head coaches endured Navy SEAL team-building training during their annual staff retreat in Rancho Palos Verdes last weekend. The leadership exercises included communication, toughness and teamwork, all attributes that the coaches hope to bring out in their student-athletes.

"The Navy SEAL training was an incredible experience," said women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Munday. "The SEALs not only pushed us to our physical edge, they provided us with mental training techniques to help us through the exercises.

"They inspired us to inspire ourselves and use our teammates in order to get better as a whole. It was not just about the individual, it was about the team. I truly learned a lot from our experience and am extremely grateful to have participated."

Coaches from left: Andy Enfield, Richard Gallien, Dave Salo, Zenon Babraj, Chris Zambri, Jeff Nygaard, Anna Collier, Peter Smith, Lindsey Munday, Mick Haley, Andrea Gaston, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Keidane McAlpine and Jovan Vavic.


2014-15 Year in Troy

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The 2014-15 USC athletics' season is officially over. Before we move on to 2015-16, celebrate a tremendous campaign, which culminated in the 123rd national championship in school history.

Athletically, our student-athletes were drenched in glory, including 47 All-American first team selections, seven individual NCAA champions and two National Players of the Year. In the bigger picture, the spring was a record-setting academic semester, highlighted by a 3.0 GPA across the department.

Of the 21 teams, 13 finished in the national Top 10, while 18 were in the Top 25. Along with sand volleyball's AVCA national title, women's tennis, women's indoor track, men's swimming and diving, and men's tennis were conference champions.

The words will never do the moments justice, so enjoy another "Year in Troy" before we turn the calendar.

2014-15 Hansen Medal Winners

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Men's swimmer Cristian Quintero and women's tennis player Zoe Scandalis checked every box during their time at USC. For their exemplary performance and achievements as scholars, athletes and leaders, the two seniors were awarded the 2014-15 Tom Hansen Conference Medals.

Click here for the full story.

Quintero's list of accolades is hard to fit on one screen. The 17-time All-American carried the Trojans to their first Pac-12 title in 36 years this season. Over his career, he won six individual NCAA championships and seven conference crowns. He earned Pac-12 All-Academic second team honors this spring after getting honorable mention in 2014.

Scandalis was a four-year fixture near the top of the Women of Troy's lineup. A three-time Pac-12 All-Academic First Team honoree and a 2014 Capital One Academic All-District Team pick, Scandalis also is a two-time ITA All-American, the 2014 ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion and was a team captain in the Trojans' run to the NCAA Semifinals this season.

A Legacy of Extraordinary

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A tribute to Michael L.J. Apuzzo, MD, PhD (hon) by Russ Romano, Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Medicine

images.jpgMichael Apuzzo, affectionately referred to as Dr. "A", can be considered the original modern day Sports Neurosurgeon.  He has volunteered his time and expertise with USC Athletics for nearly four decades.  He is retiring from USC in July and will embark on the next chapter of his life.  I am forever grateful for his contributions to USC Athletics, which preceded me long before I arrived over 21 years ago.  

Dr. Apuzzo did not serve USC to fill time or self promote. In fact, it was the exact opposite.  Dr. Apuzzo is recognized as one of the world's best known and respected neurological surgeons.  Among his enormous accomplishments at USC Keck School of Medicine and the LA County General Hospital, he revolutionized approaches to brain surgery, merged technologies to improve invasive and non-invasive techniques, and proved a true academician.  An author of over 800 peer reviewed journal articles, he has written books on Brain Surgery and served as the editor for the most prominent neurosurgical journals to advance the field of neurological surgery from an academic perspective.  Dr. A has mentored countless neurosurgical residents, faculty physicians, athletic trainers and athletic equipment managers to push themselves to be extraordinary. 

Doctor A is also our "original" team neurosurgeon at USC.  He volunteered his time and expertise long before the emergence of topics like dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, post concussive syndrome and other long-term effects due to brain injury.  Due to his leadership, USC Athletic Medicine has always been on the cutting edge of sport-related neurological issues.  Serving as a neurological consultant for the New York Giants for 16 years and the National Football League Committee on Head and Spinal Trauma, he established the exchange of the most current evidence based concepts for player safety with USC and those organizations.  Dr. Apuzzo was appointed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to give the 2007 keynote address on the topic of concussion to all NFL medical personnel.

On behalf of USC Athletics, I want to recognize Dr. Apuzzo publicly with this article.  He is a fantastic doctor who put his patients first, a scientist who modernized brain surgery with technological advances, an academic whose contributions will live forever and an amazing human being with a warm spirit.  Dr. Apuzzo recognizes the potential in all people who cross his path to become extraordinary.  I wish Dr. A the best in the next chapter of his life as he transitions back to his home state of Connecticut and his continued involvement with our program from his distinguished adjunct faculty position at the Yale School of Medicine.  Thank you Dr. A, you are a giant in your field, a mentor to all of us and a true friend.  Fight On!

London Calls, Stevie Answers

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USC men's tennis alum Steve Johnson picked up his first ever Wimbledon win today by defeating Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Johnson has reached the third round of the other three major tournaments, but this is his first foray into round two at The Championships.

While he has made a habit of playing five-set matches during his young career, Johnson, ranked No. 52 in the world, will need to freshen up his legs for a tough match-up with No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday. Thankfully, he kept many of the points short against Lacko, smacking 33 aces and 80 winners. All the Wimbledon action is live on ESPN this week.

Before the tournament began, Johnson got to know the locals by judging the Wimbledon Dog Show. Spoiler alert: Molly the beagle wins it!

Monica's Mark

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

As a senior, USC women's water polo's Monica Vavic closed out her collegiate career with just about every accolade possible. Already the USC and the MPSF all-time leading scorer, Vavic tallied one more impressive mark last week, becoming the program's first player to be named to the All-American First Team four times. Teammates Stephania Haralabidis and Eike Daube joined Vavic as repeat honorees while Ioanna Haralabidis, Victoria Chamorro and Brigitta Games made the list for the first time.

Click here for more

Vavic scored in every game this year, totaling an even 100 goals on the season (the second most by a Trojan in a single campaign). Her 291 career goals broke both the USC and MPSF career scoring records. A member of USC's 2013 NCAA Championship team, Vavic was also the first Trojan to ever be named a four-time All-MPSF First Team honoree.


USC to the GFL

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

IMG_2761(1).JPGUSC is known for its unparalleled NFL presence, sending more alumni to the league than any other school in the country. Something a little less known, however, is that the Trojans are represented in international football leagues as well.

Estrus Crayton, a USC tailback from 1991-92, played in the German Football League for nearly 19 years, winning seven German Bowls in his career playing for seven different teams. One of the all-time greats in Germany, Crayton is part of the "Tailback U" tradition as the Trojans leading rusher in 1992 (700 yards).

Watch Out World

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC made a statement last weekend at the USATF Outdoor and Junior Championships in Eugene, with Trojans capturing four Junior Titles, seven spots on the U.S. Junior Team and five tickets to the World Championships in Beijing.

For a complete recap and list of results from last weekend's two meets, click here.

An outstanding group of young Trojans proved that the future is bright for USC Track & Field at the USATF Junior Championships last weekend in Eugene. Freshman Randall Cunningham won the men's Junior high jump title at 7-2.50 while freshman Dior Hall (pictured) won the Junior 100m HH title in 13.02. Fellow freshmen Kendall Ellis and Deanna Hill won the Junior 400m title and Junior 200m title respectively, clocking times of 52.32 and 23.03.

Joining them on the U.S. Junior Team are freshmen Marquis Morris, who placed second in the men's Junior 110m HH, Ky Westbrook, who finished second in the women's Junior 200m and Robert Ford, who secured second in the men's Junior 800m. The seven Trojans will compete at the Pan Am Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada from July 31 to August 2.

To read more about the young Trojans' fantastic weekend, click here.

The Trojans were well-represented at the USATF Outdoor Championships as well with senior BeeJay Lee becoming the first Trojan to reach the U.S. 100m and 200m finals in the same season since 1981. He placed sixth and fourth respectively, just missing the cut to qualify for a spot on the U.S. National Team, but five other Trojans will travel to Beijing to represent Team USA.

Redshirt senior Conor McCullough took second in the men's hammer throw and will compete alongside former USC athletes Allyson Felix (400m champion), Aleec Harris (110m HH), Bryshon Nellum (400m) and Jesse Williams (high jump) at the World Championships from August 22-30.


Sky's The Limit

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

It's been a long road to her childhood dream for former USC women's basketball guard Jacki Gemelos, but last week the 26-year-old debuted in her first-ever WNBA game for the Chicago Sky, reminding everyone what the meaning of 'Fight On' really is.

"This has been a day I've been waiting for since I was 7 years old," Gemelos said, as quoted by the AP's Doug Feinberg who profiled Gemelos' return from five ACL tears in an article last week. "I'm ready for this, this is the next step in my career."

Click here to read Feinberg's complete article.

Gemelos was continually resilient as she sustained knee injury after knee injury at USC, ultimately being selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2012 WNBA Draft. She continued to battle injuries and was cut from the team's training camp in 2013, prompting her to move overseas to pursue her basketball career. Gemelos thrived in the Italian League last season, averaging 14 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Umbertide, which opened up the opportunity to train back in America with the Sky. On June 17, she officially signed her first WNBA contract and two days later played in her first WNBA game.

jacki.jpgPhoto credit: Ned Dishman/NBAE