Starting the Coaches Tour with a bang

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IRVINE -- Well that was fun.

And quite funny, too.

Coach Carroll and men's basketball coach Tim Floyd kicked off the 2009 Coaches Tour with an engaging and informative evening of Trojan football and hoops talk -- with some good-natured ribbing added in as well -- in front of nearly 600 fans at the Hyatt Regency Irvine on Wednesday night.

Moderated by FSN broadcaster and former Trojan wideout John Jackson (who will give way to TV personality Lindsay Soto for the six remaining Coaches Tour stops), the event featured a spine-tingling highlight video about the football and basketball teams' previous seasons, plenty of insightful commentary from Carroll and Floyd, even more playful banter between the two charismatic coaches and a 30-minute Q&A session with the fans.

Carroll talked about everything from Spring Practice to the new coaches and A Better LA, while Floyd chatted about everything from the upcoming season to his distaste with players leaving early and his exploration of the Arizona head coaching opportunity in April. The duo, sitting on director's chairs on a small stage in a festive hotel ballroom, even shared their thoughts on each other's sport and asked questions of the other, magnificently playing off one other as if they were old buddies.

They also spliced in plenty of humor throughout the night. Floyd and Carroll each pulled some surprising and hilarious video-based pranks on each other, while also cracking many jokes -- with no sacred cows. Floyd jabbed at Carroll's turquoise tie and old age (the hoops coach is three years younger than the football coach), and Carroll routinely teased Floyd, even saying that basketball has surpassed football as "the elite program at USC now."

Brilliantly orchestrated by assistant athletic director Jen Noriega and other development staffers, including Kathleen DeCristo, Sam Tulin, Teresa Verbeck and Elyssa Espinoza, the Coaches Tour, which now visits seven cities across California, dates back to the John Robinson era.

Six stops remain on the 2009 Coaches Tour, so register now to be a part of one of these can't-miss events. And if space is available, program-only tickets for $25 will open up 48 hours before each stop.

Nearly 600 fans fill a hotel ballroom for the first stop of the 2009 Coaches Tour in Irvine on Wednesday night.

FSN broadcaster John Jackson (left) moderates the talk between Coach Tim Floyd and Coach Carroll.

The Trojan Marching Band and USC Song Girls perform at the Coaches Tour event in Irvine on Wednesday night.

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What an evening! Both Coach Carroll and Coach Floyd were in rare form and John Jackson did an excellent job in asking them questions...some of which elicited very humorous answers. The multiple big screen clips were of particular interest and truly humorous and memorable.
All USC alumni should attend this evening of laughs and fun whenever it is in their area.

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