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Building a Winner

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

Check out who's on this month's Sports Illustrated for Kids cover! USC QB Cody Kessler is featured in the special college football preview edition alongside other elite players like TCU's QB Trevone Boykin, Ohio State's RB Ezekiel Elliott and Auburn's WR D'Haquille Williams. 

Kessler is the man with a plan to bring home a national championship to USC, but it all starts by winning one game at a time with Arkansas State up first on September 5 at 8:00 p.m. PT. 

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Sark Sightings

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

On Wednesday, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian will be making the rounds in Bristol for the annual ESPN Pac-12 Car Wash. The coach's busy schedule includes television segments, radio interviews, photos and more.

Here's the schedule for all of today's Sark Sightings:
  • 8:20 a.m. PT - SportsCenter
  • 9:00 a.m. PT - Mason & Ireland (ESPN Radio)
  • 10:00 a.m. PT - Russillo (ESPN Radio)
  • 11:00 a.m. PT - College Football Live

Follow @USC_Athletics on Twitter all day for a behind-the-scenes look at Coach Sark's day.

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Influential Strokes

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USA Swimming released its list of the 30 Most Influential People in Swimming over the Past 30 Years on Tuesday and six former or current USC swimmers and coaches made the cut, including current head coach Dave Salo. 


The late Peter Daland, who coached USC for 35 years and led the Trojans to nine NCAA team championships, joins Salo on the list as well as former USC head coach and former USA head coach Mark Schubert. Rounding out the crop of Trojans who made the list are former USC All-American and current Cal head women's coach Teri McKeever, USC graduate and all-time swimming great Janet Evans and current volunteer assistant coach Jon Urbanchek. 

The list was created in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the partnership between USA Swimming and Speedo USA with the hopes of honoring those who have transformed the sport. 

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#ALLinNOW: Tre Madden

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Every team wants to win a championship, but the focus and drive to be ALL IN NOW will separate the contenders from the pretenders in the end. The 2015 Trojans' goal is to focus on dominating every moment, every second, and being accountable for what is in their control.

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Returning from injury even stronger than before is one of the most difficult objectives in sport. However, that's exactly what redshirt senior running back Tre Madden is looking to accomplish this season. Sidelined in 2014 after undergoing surgery for a foot injury, Madden watched as Buck Allen took over the starting role in the backfield. Now with Allen taking his reps in the NFL, the wealth of carries will be distributed between Madden and junior Justin Davis, making this offseason one of the most important in Madden's career.

"I've really just been making sure that I stay focused," he explained in a recent ESPN article. "Coach Nansen told me that he wanted me to have the best offseason, and I feel like I have as far as getting conditioned and dropping the weight that I put on after surgery."

The running back isn't intimidated by the work that lies ahead. Feeling 100 percent heading into camp, Madden is ready to hit the ground running on what he hopes is his best season yet.

The Big Unit Enshrined

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed another Trojan into its legendary halls as Randy "the Big Unit" Johnson was inducted into Cooperstown on Sunday. He became USC's third alumnus to receive this recognition joining Tom Seaver (1992) and Pat Gillick (2011).


"So many of the reasons I was inducted into the Hall of Fame are long gone now," said Johnson in his acceptance speech. "I no longer have a fastball. I no longer have a bad mullet. And my scowl is long gone. I'm so happy to be elected to the the Baseball Hall of Fame and be in the greatest fraternity of all time, and [thanks] to you, the fans, for sharing this great moment with me."

Johnson finished his 22-year major league career ranked second on the all-time strikeouts list with five Cy Young Awards including four consecutive from 1999-2002 on his resume. Most notably, the Big Unit led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series championship in 2001 earning co-MVP honors for his pitching performances. Finally, he joins the short list of 23 pitchers who have thrown a perfect game and he is one of just five pitchers to throw a no-hitter in both the American and National leagues. 

A Trojan from 1983-1985, the left-handed pitcher finished his collegiate career with his best season, leading the USC pitching staff with 118.1 innings pitched, 99 strikeouts and six starts. 

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Open Waters to Rio

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC women's swimming will be represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics thanks to Trojan swimming legend Haley Anderson who qualified for the Games after finishing ninth in the 10k on Tuesday at the FINA World Championships. Her finish makes her the first female American swimmer to qualify for next summer's Olympic Games. 


Anderson's resume includes All-American recognition, an individual NCAA championship and an Olympic silver medal in the 5k open water event in 2012. She is also the first American woman to win multiple gold medals in the open water events at the FINA World Championships. 

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Cover Dynasty

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Former USC head coach and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll graces the cover of Sports Illustrated this week just two weeks after USC soccer alum Amy Rodriguez was on the cover of famous sports magazine after the U.S. Women's National team won the World Cup.

The first-time SI cover boy is the 134th Trojan to be on the cover and only the third USC head coach to be featured. The last time a coach with USC ties earned a cover spot was Mike Holmgren in 1997, while the first was John McKay in 1967. 

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Polynesian Pride

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC_FOOTBALL_COLORADO_MCGILLEN-6275.jpgUSC's Su'a Cravens, Toa Lobendahn, JuJu Smith and Viane Talamaivao are a quartet of talented Trojans, but they have even more in common than their excellence on the field. The four players share the same heritage and are all on the 2015 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List.

Click here for the complete watch list.

Cravens is already on preseason watch lists for several awards, but today's announcement was the first of its kind for Lobendahn, Smith and Talamaivao. Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was the award's first-ever winner in 2014.

Single Game Tickets Available NOW

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The 2015 USC football season is on the horizon and with just over a month to go until kickoff there's still time to snag a seat in the Coliseum for one of the Trojans' games.

Single game tickets for six of USC's seven home games are now available at GetTrojanTix.com or through the USC ticket office at 213-740-GOSC (4672).

Tickets are available for games against Arkansas State (Sept. 5), Idaho (Sept. 12), Stanford (Sept. 19), Washington (Oct. 8), Utah (Oct. 24) and Arizona (Nov. 7). Individual tickets start at $30 depending on the game. Tickets for the crosstown rivalry game against UCLA must be purchased as part of a mini-plan or season ticket package, both of which are still on sale.

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#ALLinNOW: Max Tuerk

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Every team wants to win a championship, but the focus and drive to be ALL IN NOW will separate the contenders from the pretenders in the end. The 2015 Trojans' goal is to focus on dominating every moment, every second, and being accountable for what is in their control.

USC_Strength_conditioning_072215_MCG1017.jpgUSC senior captain Max Tuerk understands the importance of a focused offseason. The center - who is already in the national spotlight with a place on the Rotary Lombardi Award, Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy preseason watch lists - aims to set a standard as a leader every time he steps foot in the weight room.

"Physically I have been focusing on getting stronger and faster every day and gaining weight," explains Tuerk. "This has been the best offseason I have been a part of since being at USC. The guys have really bought into Coach Ivan's program and there have been huge improvements both mentally and physically."

As a center, Tuerk anchors the offensive line, but his veteran presence both in the locker room and on the field helps guide the rest of the team as well. With all eyes on him, the senior knows its his responsibility to push first.