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Taj Turns 29

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USC men's basketball alum Taj Gibson, the 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, turns 29 today.  While he has gone on to fame and fortune in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, he was always the underrated warrior at Troy.

He had many signature moments in Cardinal and Gold, including dominating North Carolina in the Sweet 16 as a freshman and going 10-for-10 in an NCAA Tournament victory over Boston College, but perhaps most memorably, he shut down James Harden one-on-one to seal Pac-10 Tournament title.


Photo Gallery: 2014 Football 101

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USC's annual hands-on football tutorial for fans of the Trojans was another huge success as novices of the game were able to learn the ins and outs from Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff.

Attendees can click here for their photos.

Here are the Pierson Clair photos from a fun day in Troy:


Club and Country

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With World Cup fever rampant this month, USC women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Munday and assistant Devon Wills are representing Team USA the best way they know how by leading the Red, White and Blue on the field.  Already two-time world champions (2009 and 2013), Munday and Wills were named to the 38-player roster for the 2014-15 exhibition matches readying the U.S. National Team for the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup to be held in Surrey, England.

Click here for the complete release.

From the sidelines, Munday (pictured) and Wills are building USC lacrosse into a fast-rising national power.  The Women of Troy went 9-9 in year two of the program, including registering a Top 25 win for the first time.

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Returning Advantage

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Coming off a 10-win campaign, USC leads the Pac-12 in returning starters for the 2014 season. The Trojans boast 18 returning starters (eight offense, eight defense, two special teams), leading the conference which averages 15 returners per team.

Colorado and UCLA are both returning 17 starters while South division champion Arizona State returns just 10. Eight 2013 All Pac-12 First Team players will return to the field this year, including Trojan defensive lineman Leonard Williams and fullback Soma Vainuku (awarded All-Pac-12 for special teams).

While the Trojans will feel the loss of playmakers Marqise Lee, Silas Redd, Devon Kennard and other NFL departures, the national spotlight has shifted to returning starters poised to make an impact. Junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who like Williams is an Athlon Sports Preseason All-American, redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler, and junior running backs Javorius Allen and Tre Madden are expected to headline an electric Trojan offense. On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Hayes Pullard, sophomore defensive back Su'a Cravens, and senior defensive back Josh Shaw are among the talented returning core of the Trojan defense. 

(Returning starters chart photo credit to ESPN.com)

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Football Ticket Mini-Plans Now Available

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Trojan fans can now purchase mini-plans for the 2014 football season, providing the ultimate flexibility to design a plan to fit their schedules. Starting at $96, fans can choose between two and five games as part of 2- and 3-game packs, and Nickel Plans while saving off the gate price of tickets.

USC starts the upcoming season the way it ended the last, facing Fresno State on August 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Coliseum. The Trojans' home schedule features Oregon State, Arizona State, Colorado, California and a regular season finale against rival Notre Dame. Additional start times will be announced between 6-to-12 days before each game.

For more information visit www.gettrojantix.com or call 213-740-GOSC (4672).

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4-Year Scholarships for Revenue Sports

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USC will offer four-year athletic scholarships to all scholarship student-athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's and women's basketball in lieu of the current practice of offering one-year renewable scholarships, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced today.

Haden said this policy will be effective July 1, 2014, for all current and future scholarship student-athletes in those sports.
    
"In taking this action, USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field," Haden said.

Haden also reaffirmed the university's commitment to assist those scholarship student-athletes in good academic standing that have exhausted their intercollegiate eligibility to obtain their undergraduate degrees. USC has assisted more than 250 former student-athletes with undergraduate degree academic support over the last decade. 
 
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T&F: 13 Earn Pac-12 All-Academic

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Sophomore Jaide Stepter (pictured) and senior Thea Weiss headline the list of 13 USC student-athletes named to the 2014 Pac-12 Track & Field All-Academic team. Stepter, a first-team selection for the first time, is the 2014 Pac-12 400m hurdles champion and boasts a 3.86 GPA. Weiss is a first-teamer for the third consecutive season with a cumulative GPA of 3.95 in a double major of Neuroscience and English. The senior ranks sixth all-time in pole vault with a clearance of 12-4.50.

The Trojans had one selection to the All-Academic Second Team in senior high jumper Doug Bogie. An impressive ten Trojans made the Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention list including: Errin Baynes, Charity Bruce, Alexandra Collatz, Lauren Grego, Felicia Horvath, BeeJay Lee, Ashley Liverpool, Will Robinson, Kira Soderstrom and Jenna Tong.

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Photo Gallery: New Member Day

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC is excited to welcome new support group members to the Trojan Athletic Fund family!

The new members were treated to a special day including a Q&A with new head football coach Steve Sarkisian and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football J.K. McKay. They also stepped into the shoes of the Trojan football team as the coaching staff ran the new members through drills in the state-of-the-art John McKay Center practice facilities as well as on the Howard Jones practice field. 

Check out the photos below courtesy of John McGillen that captures a fun-filled day in recognition of our new members. 

2014 Women's Soccer Schedule

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

The 2014 women's soccer schedule has been released, and the Women of Troy face a tough, but promising schedule in new head coach Keidane McAlpine's inaugural season. Fans will get to see the new head coach and team in action often as the Trojans have 10 home games including their final regular season game against crosstown rival and reigning NCAA champions UCLA, which will be played under the lights at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 7th at 7:30 p.m. 


The Women of Troy will also have 10 of their games televised as they face tough competition early on against Notre Dame and later against conference rival Stanford. The Trojans start off with a tournament at USD followed by the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational in order to prepare for conference play which begins on September 26th at Arizona. 

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Chad Gets Called

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Former USC baseball player Chad Smith got the call of his dreams on Wednesday when the Detroit Tigers informed the right-handed relief pitcher that he'd be coming up to the big leagues. Smith, 24 years old, is the 109th Trojan big leaguer, adding to a USC legacy known for producing the most big leaguers all-time of any college program. The pitcher joins eight other Trojans who are currently playing in the majors.

Smith was a 17th round draft pick of the Tigers in 2011 shortly after having Tommy John surgery. His rise to the big leagues has been quick, spending just one season in Class A ball, seven outings at Double-A and 15 games at Triple-A Toledo. In those 15 Triple-A games, Smith boasted a 4-2 record with a 1.64 ERA.

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