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USC: An Olympic Heritage

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"No other university can match USC in its rich Olympic heritage."

That's the tagline for a new book documenting the University of Southern California's 108 years of athletic greatness on the world stage.  USC has produced more Olympians, overall medalists and gold medalists than any other university, and a Trojan has taken home gold from every Summer Games since 1916.

Click here to buy the book!

From 1904, when USC student Emil Breitkreutz won bronze in the 800m, to 2012, when Trojans accounted for 25 medals including 12 golds, every bit of USC's Olympic heritage is covered.

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Meet Khaliel Rodgers

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Rodgers-AZ-McG.jpgName: Khaliel Rodgers

Position: Offensive Line

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-3

Age: 20

High School: Eastern Christian Academy

Scouting Report: Rodgers appears to fit best at guard where he can maul opponents and spring the running game with his bulky physique. He came into USC without a ton of recent football experience, so he benefited from sitting out his redshirt year.  But now, he expects to be a key cog in a retooled offensive line emphasizing physicality under Tim Drevno.

Prep Career: As a senior, Rodgers played an abbreviated three-game schedule at Eastern Christian Academy but was a highly touted prospect as he was named to the Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Rivals Top 100 and Scout 100. He also played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 

Spring Ball: Rodgers is competing for one of the many open spots on the offensive line and is currently playing with the ones at right guard.

To quote Rodgers: "I can't wait until the spring game comes. It's my first ever college spring ball game so I can't wait."

Instant Impact

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For some coaches, it takes years for their system to take hold.  While Caryl Smith Gilbert has big long term plans for USC track and field, the program is already seeing immediate dividends thanks to some of the progressive changes.

After winning the decathlon this past weekend in San Diego, senior Viktor Fajoyomi was named the Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of the Week.  He is already the third Trojan to be honored in the first two weeks of the outdoor season joining Remington Conatser and Jessica Davis.

Davis is the perfect example of the impact Gilbert has had on the program.  She burst onto the scene as a freshman earning All-American honors before injuries sapped her confidence the last two years.  As a senior, Davis is flashing elite speed again and leading the Women of Troy to a strong start.


Coach Sark Camp

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian and his decorated assistant coaching staff are hosting the USC Coaches' Clinic on Saturday, April 12.  Coaches of all levels and fans of the game who want to learn more will enjoy going inside the program to breakdown Sarkisian's championship schemes, watch roundtable presentations and attend position meetings.

Click here to sign up now!

Plus, the clinic will feature guest speakers Brad Seely and Vic Fangio from the San Francisco 49ers.  Finally, attendees will watch the game plans come to life on the USC practice field.


Quintero Leaves His Legacy

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USC men's swimming and diving finished eighth overall at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, carried on the broad shoulders of senior Cristian Quintero who wrapped up his collegiate career by becoming the first Trojan to earn All-American honors in the 100y, 200y and 500y free since Hungarian great Bela Szabados in 1999.

Click here for the recap.

Quintero won the individual national title in the 500y free and followed that up by leading the 800y free relay team to the top of the podium.  The Trojan quartet of Quintero, Reed Malone, Dylan Carter and Dimitri Colupaev won USC's first 800y free relay title since 2002 and its eighth in program history with a wire-to-wire 6:13.09, just off the school record of 6:12.54, USC's winning time at the Pac-12s.

"We were disappointed to finish eighth after taking fourth last year, but we came away with two national titles and a lot of experience for next year's team to build upon," said head coach Dave Salo. "Cristian has been a workhorse all season long and put up some great performances to lead the team."

Quinter0.jpg(Photo via Swimswam.com)

Rowing Opens 2014 Campaign

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No. 6 USC women's rowing made an impressive season debut this past weekend at the Pac-12 Women's Challenge at Redwood Shores by winning all eight of its races.  Despite harsh weather conditions, the Women of Troy pushed past No. 16 Louisville and No. 18 Clemson.

Click here for the recap.

On Sunday, the Varsity Eight suffered its first loss of the season as No. 3 Virginia narrowly beat USC to the finishing line.  The Women of Troy did get a win from its second Varsity Eight boat.

The season is in full swing now as the Trojans look to defend their title at the San Diego Crew Classic set for Saturday and Sunday (April 5-6) in Mission Bay.  The USC V8 is the three-time defending champion of the prestigious Jessop-Whittier Cup.

The Women of Troy won all three women's collegiate varsity division trophies last year in San Diego.
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Photo Gallery: Baseball Goes Extras

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USC baseball endured a rough weekend getting swept by the Washington Huskies.  After blowout losses on Friday and Saturday, the Trojans battled for 14 innings to salvage the series on Sunday before giving up 5 runs in the final frame.

Click here for the recap.

USC (13-13 overall and 3-6 in Pac-12 play) is next in action Tuesday at Dedeaux Field against Long Beach State (6 p.m. first pitch).  Here are the John McGillen photos from Sunday's marathon:


Baseball v UW gallery - Images by John McGillen

Lonnie White Dies at 49

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Record-setting USC football kick returner and award-winning Los Angeles Times sportswriter Lonnie White died Saturday at the age of 49. 

Click here for his LA Times obituary.

White played receiver at USC from 1982-86, but he starred as a kickoff return man setting a single-season record with 716 return yards, which stood until 2010 (Robert Woods). He made the New Orleans Saints in 1987 before beginning his journalism career, which landed him at the Times for two decades.

"It's a tremendous loss for the entire Trojan family," USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone told the LA Times. "Lonnie was always one of the favorite sons of USC, and we've always been very proud of his post-USC accomplishments.

"He had a tough go the last few years, but he was a true Trojan and fought on and battled through a lot of things."

Said Marcus Allen: "Obviously he was a loyal Trojan, that's for sure, even though he'd be as objective as he possibly could as a writer. I thought he did a good job of walking that line.

"He had a job to do. He wasn't writing for the Trojans, he was a Trojan who was writing. I thought he did a good job of balancing that. It's just sad. It's terrible."

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2014 Spring Practice #6: Notes

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For the first time this spring, the Trojans enjoyed the spacious confines of the Coliseum.
  • With a couple hundred USC fans in attendance, the Trojans put on a decent show highlighted by a perfect 65-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kessler to Nelson Agholor, which drew a roar from the crowd.
  • Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 3.52.36 PM.pngOn the defensive side, "It looked like today was our first day of live tackling," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. "Guys were a little sloppy when it came down to fundamentals and technique."
  • The offense certainly appeared to win the day as Agholor was a prolific force.  "Nelson is a really good player," said Sarkisian. "He is a dynamic football player. I've been very impressed by him."
  • Agholor was in full flight today with a little boost from the Coliseum atmosphere. "When you label it scrimmage, it just gives it more of a game atmosphere," he admitted. "When you're out here, it's so much more juice. You get to celebrate a little bit."
  • Agholor and Kessler have developed tremendous chemistry on the field, and the junior quarterback was particularly sharp today. "Cody's got a really quick release, tremendous arm strength and he's really accurate down the field," said Sarkisian.  The head coach is emphasizing "anticipation of throws" as the next step in his development.
  • Max Browne struggled at times today, including throwing an interception to Kevon Seymour, and some separation is starting to show. "Cody has gotten better every day. Max is improving as well, but maybe not at the rapid pace that Cody has been so far," Sarkisian assessed after two weeks of spring.
  • The running backs were able to face some live contact today, and Tre Madden stood out with his smooth and powerful running style.  In this run-first offense, there should be plenty of carries for arguably the deepest unit on the roster.  "Whoever plays us should be worried.  We've got monsters in the backfield," said Agholor about the running back corps. "If I was the coach, I would feed them also because when you have a great run game, the pass game opens up even more."
  • As of today, the starting offensive line features RT Zach Banner, LT Chad Wheeler, OGs Khaliel Rodgers and Toa Lobendahn, and C Max Tuerk. The biggest surprise in the group might be Banner who is coming back from surgery on both hips. "I can't tell you enough how good it feels, one, to be out here with the team, but two, to be out here with a new body," said Banner. "I don't know how to explain it. I feel no pain."
  • At 6-foot-9 and 350 pounds, Banner is half man, half mountain, but he wants to trim down to 320 pounds. "I obviously have to get in shape," he said. "I love what I am looking like right now, but I also know what I want to look like in the future."
  • Speaking of big men, NG Antwaun Woods is emerging as the breakout defensive star of spring ball. "Antwaun is arguably playing as good as anyone on the field at nose," said Sarkisian.
  • PK Andre Heidari was rock solid today drilling a 51-yard field goal.
  • Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods (pictured) attended practice with NFL Draft prospects Marqise Lee, Devon Kennard, Xavier Grimble, Silas Redd and Dion Bailey.
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice presser...


Old Foes

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No. 1 USC women's water polo and No. 3 Stanford know each other all too well.  The Women of Troy overcame the Cardinal in five overtimes to win the NCAA Championship last spring.

For the first time since then, the two old foes will meet again this Sunday in Palo Alto at 5 p.m. PT.  The match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.

USC is coming off a 21-5 win over Hartwick on Thursday, and the Trojans will first play San Jose State on Saturday.  But barring a major upset, USC will roll into Stanford as the undefeated defending champions.

Here is a match preview: