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Run DMC

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USC football officially announced the hire of Deland McCullough as the new running backs coach and run game coordinator to replace Tommie Robinson. McCullough spent the last six years at Indiana, grooming tailbacks that broke 19 school records during his tenure.

"We are thrilled to welcome Deland to the Trojan Family and fortunate to have him on our staff," said head coach Clay Helton. "He had great success recruiting and then developing prolific running backs at Indiana who were NFL ready. The Indiana run game during his time was effective, efficient and productive.  He understands the running game and was himself a very skilled runner as a college and pro player. He relates well to his players and has a unique background dating to his days working in education as a principal."

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At Indiana, he tutored three future NFL running backs in Stephen Houston, Tevin Coleman (who scored a touchdown in Super Bowl LI) and Jordan Howard, while Devin Redding is likely to get drafted this year.  Coleman (2015) and Howard (2016) became the first Indiana running backs to be drafted in consecutive years since 1990-92. In 2015, All-Big Ten first team honoree Howard (1,213) and Redding (1,012) each eclipsed 1,000 yards, a first in program history, and Redding did so again in 2016 (1,122) to become the first Hoosier to accomplish that since 1990-91. In 2014, Coleman was a unanimous All-American, All-Big Ten first teamer and Doak Walker Award finalist when he finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting and ran for a school record 2,036 yards.

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Top Dogs

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number 1.jpgHeading into tomorrow's matchup with CSU Bakersfield, USC women's water polo owns the No. 1 spot in the nation, and is one win away from tying the NCAA record for consecutive victories.

USC knocked off top-ranked Stanford in an overtime thriller last week to usurp the top spot in the national rankings. That win was also USC's 45th in a row, dating back to the final game of the 2015 season. Should the Trojans win again tomorrow, they'll tie the NCAA women's water polo win streak of 46 that UCLA set from 2007-09. The current USC streak is the longest in program history -- men's or women's.

While USC is 18-0 this year, CSUB is 8-7 on the season and ranked No. 23 in the country. In USC's last matchup with the Roadrunners (April 3, 2016), the Trojans came out on top, 16-3.

Click here for the full game preview!

The reigning national champions kick off tomorrow's game at 1 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

Cooper-Dyke Resigns

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USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke announced today (March 3) that she has resigned after four seasons guiding the Women of Troy.

"I absolutely love USC and I always want what is best for this university," said Cooper-Dyke.  "What is best right now is that I step aside as the women's basketball coach and let someone else lead this team.

"I appreciate the opportunity I was given to coach at my alma mater, a university that has meant so much to me since my days as a student-athlete.  I wish we had more success, but I am thankful for the effort given by the players, coaches and support staff and am fortunate to have worked alongside them.  I also want to thank our fans for their loyal support.  I will always love USC and will be cheering on the Women of Troy in the future as they accomplish great things."

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"We thank Cynthia for her dedication, hard work and service, and we wish her the very best," said USC athletic director Lynn Swann. "She is a great Trojan and will always be a valued member of the Trojan Family. 

"The USC women's basketball program has a tradition built on national championships, great players and outstanding coaches.  We look forward to bringing in a coach who will add to that legacy, one who will move our program forward while doing so in one of the world's greatest cities, at one of the country's finest academic institutions and in the nation's premier women's basketball conference."

Cooper-Dyke posted a 70-57 record in her tenure (2014-17) as USC's head coach.  The Women of Troy were 14-16 overall in the just-completed 2017 season, including a season-ending 71-58 loss to California in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday, and they finished in a 4-way tie for ninth place in the Pac-12 with a 5-13 record.

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2017 NFL Combine Preview

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The NFL Combine invited eight Trojans to the annual scouting showcase in Indianapolis which will be televised March 3-6 on NFL Network.

USC will have half of its players featured on day one, starting with All-American offensive tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler as well as offensive guard Damien Mama. RB Justin Davis will cap the first day.

On Saturday, the wide receivers will be on display, giving Darreus Rogers and JuJu Smith-Schuster an opportunity to flash their speed and show off their hands. USC's two leading receivers combined for 126 catches last season.

After an impressive Senior Bowl display, DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu will be the lone Trojan under the bright lights on Sunday. And last but certainly not least, Adoree' Jackson will attempt to win an island on Monday if he can run the fastest 40 in NFL Combine history.

The Trojans are already in Indianapolis, interviewing with teams and getting their measurements taken. To follow the coverage this weekend, check out @USC_Athletics on Twitter and @usc_athletics on Instagram.

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Primetime in South Bend Again

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The greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, USC and Notre Dame, will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 21, in South Bend. The game will be broadcast live on NBC.

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Trifecta

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Three members of USC women's lacrosse were named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list, the organization announced this week.

The Tewaaraton Award is given annually to the top male and female collegiate lacrosse players in the nation, and the organization has tapped goaltender Gussie Johns, attacker Michaela Michael and defender Lydia Sutton as potential candidates.

Johns is following up an outstanding sophomore season by leading the MPSF in ground balls (4.5 per game) so far this year. In 2016, she led the nation in goals-against average and this summer, she'll compete with Team USA at the 2017 Women's Lacrosse World Cup.

Michael is on the watch list for the second straight year. So far this season, she leads the team with nine goals and is second in the conference in draw controls (8.25 per game).

Sutton, meanwhile, has forced 1.67 turnovers per game this season, which ranks eighth in the conference.

The Tewaaraton Foundation will announce 25 nominees on April 27. Before then, though, USC has 13 games to play, starting with next Wednesday's battle with Boston University at McAlister Field.

It's Time for Trojan Baseball

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Tomorrow, the USC baseball team kicks off competition in the Dodgertown College Baseball Classic.

The Trojans will play back-to-back-to-back games from Friday to Sunday against USD, Michigan and UCLA, with the final game taking place at Dodger Stadium.

Last year in the finale of the Dodgertown Classic, USC and UCLA battled for 14 innings before the Bruins edged out USC by a 5-3 margin.

The Trojans, who are 6-2 on the season after splitting a road trip to the Tar Heel State, will be hungry for a win over the Bruins on Sunday. Before that, they take on 4-2 USD and 7-2 Michigan at Dedeaux Field.

So far this season, sophomore Lars Nootbaar leads the undefeated-at-home Trojans with a .462 BA and 4 HR.

Nootbaar and the Trojans kick off the event tomorrow at 6 p.m. vs. USD. Exactly 24 hours later, USC takes on Michigan. USC vs. UCLA at Dodger Stadium begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Meet Bryshon

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Bryshon Nellum.jpgNicknamed the "Conference of Champions," the Pac-12 has produced teams and athletes that have had success on some of the world's biggest stages. That's why the U.S. Olympic Committee announced yesterday that it would honor one Team USA Olympian from each of the 12 conference schools at next week's Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament.

USC track and field legend Bryshon Nellum will represent the Trojans in Las Vegas, where the Olympians will sign autographs, engage with fans and be recognized at halftime of the semifinal game on Friday night.

Nellum became a household name at the London Olympics in 2012 when the world learned his inspirational story. In 2009, during his sophomore season at Troy, the fledgling star suffered a shocking and devastating injury. Shot three times in the legs in a drive-by shooting, Nellum was told by doctors that he'd never return to form. But after taking a redshirt year to recover, he earned All-American honors and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

At the London Olympics, Nellum ran the leadoff leg for the U.S. in the finals of the 4x400 relay, setting up Team USA for a silver medal.

At the culmination of the Games, Los Angeles native Nellum was selected as the flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony to honor his perseverance in the face of adversity.

Nellum is just one of many incredible Olympic athletes to prep at USC. Troy boasts more all-time Olympians, medalists and gold medalists than any other university in the country. The 44 Trojans in Rio last summer, from DeMar DeRozan to Katinka Hosszu and in between, were once again more the most American university could claim, and a Trojan has won a gold medal at every Olympics since 1912.

Other Olympians to be honored at the tournament include Dana Vollmer (Cal, swimming), Kerri Walsh Jennings (Stanford, beach volleyball) and Bernard Lagat (Washington State, track and field).

Nellum will sign autographs from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 10 on the concourse of T-Mobile Arena. Click here for more information!

Follow USC men's basketball on Twitter for information on the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament.

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Ines Guinard

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

USC-WOMENS-TENNIS-2017-PHOTO-DAY-MCGILLEN-3916.jpgName: Ines Guinard
Class: Senior
Sport: Women's Tennis
Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
GPA: 3.7

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Can you describe the Industrial and Systems Engineering major and what most people do with that degree when they graduate?

Ines Guinard (IG): The main focus is to optimize a system. And you can define a system in many ways. Your system could be an entire manufacturing plant, so how can you make a piece of machinery most efficiently and with the fewest number of errors? Or you can look at software as your system and see how you can run it faster, error-free. So the underlying concept is optimization of a system.

AK: How did you become interested in this subject?

IG: In school, I was always good at math and enjoyed it. I was always a numbers person, and I wanted something that let you be creative while you were working with numbers. And engineering kind of has that builders' 'You can create what you want' mentality. In terms of industrial and systems within the engineering majors, it's probably the most broad in terms of what you can apply it to. I enjoy that because I wasn't a person who grew up and wanted to build cars like mechanical engineers -- I didn't know from the start. So that's why I picked industrial engineering specifically. I started as a biomedical engineer. I did research at UC Davis in high school and I was in the biomedical department there, doing tissue engineering, so for the meniscus and for the TMJ disc. I got into that through the sports appeal, and  I loved the medical device side of it and kind of quickly realized that the biological and chemical aspect of it didn't really appeal to me as much. So I switched out after a semester and at that point it was either mechanical engineering or industrial, and I didn't want to pigeonhole myself into one area.

AK: It sounds like you were ahead of the game in high school, working on a college campus, and it helped you earn a Trustee Scholarship. What did that process entail?

IG: In terms of getting the scholarship, the process is just applying before Dec. 1 to be considered for a merit scholarship and then you receive a notification that you've been nominated. I was actually nominated for the Presidential Scholarship (half tuition), and then you come in and do a full day of interviews with different people. Then, through my interviews, I actually got bumped up to a Trustee Scholar. So that was exciting. I'm a Merit Research Scholar here, too. I think there are like 12 of us per year, so it's a pretty small group, and it's basically you get $3,000 of grant money to put towards undergraduate research ... I spent a couple years doing research on cancer metastasis in aerospace and mechanical engineering. This one was building mathematical and computational models of cancer metastasis, so how it spreads from one part of the body to another site, and basically using probability and math to predict that.

AK: It sounds like you have experience in a lot of different areas. How did everything come together to help you choose the job offer you just accepted upon graduation?

IG: The general theme has been that ability to be creative and not be pigeonholed in one area. So cancer sounds very medical-related, but really I was building mathematical models and coding, so that's a skill that can be applied anywhere. Same thing with industrial engineering. The other piece that I thought was missing from the puzzle was finance, because I thought it would be interesting to go into my own business venture sometime, and if you understand both the engineering and the finance, I think that puts you at an advantage. My older brother went into investment banking, and I learned about it through him. So my freshman summer, I did my first internship in Houston in oil and gas investment banking. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't want to be in oil and gas. I worked for Bank of America in New York my sophomore summer in financial sponsors ... and then I did the same thing in San Francisco this past summer, where I accepted my job ultimately.

AK: You've worked in a bunch of different cities and lived in different countries --- how has that influenced who you are as a person?

IG: That's one of the things I'm most grateful for. My mom's Spanish, my dad's French, so they embraced the aspect of being able to speak multiple languages and call multiple places home. That's helped me in being part of a team, being a leader and communicating with people from different backgrounds, whether it's with engineers or finance people or people in a completely different industry. I've definitely taken all those experiences in and applied them to my school setting, tennis and work.

AK: This is your first year on the tennis team, right? When and how did you become a member of the team?

IG: I started playing tennis when I was eight. I did the whole junior circuit, I played several hours a day growing up, and then when I got to college, I felt like if I wanted to do engineering and wanted to do it really well, it was going to require a lot of time. But I loved the sport, so I kept playing three or four days a week. This fall, Richard Gallien saw me hitting and came up to me, and the first step was having me be a point of contact for the girls if they wanted someone to hit with on outside hours. About a month later, West Nott and Zoe Scandalis, our two assistant coaches, saw me again and had me hit with Zoe. They started asking more questions and right away said, 'I think we need her on the team.' The next day, I got a call in the morning to come in, and by that afternoon I had signed everything and was on board. It was super special and I'm super excited about it. The beauty of it is that the one thing that was kind of missing from my college experience in terms of the things I love, was tennis. So I couldn't be happier about it.

McGillen Gallery: USC vs. WSU

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The Trojans were all smiles after putting on a clinic against Washington State on Wednesday night. USC men's basketball bounced back from four straight losses (three of which game against Top 10 opponents) with an 87-64 victory over the Cougars.

USC team photographer John McGillen was at the Galen Center to capture all the action.