Clay Helton, Pat Haden, Donald Trump and Other Disappointments!




Watching our New England Patriots lose in overtime to the ne’er-do-well Denver Broncos Sunday night was very disappointing.  Brock Osweiler was bad in Oregon and he is still the same in Denver.  How he was able to defeat the great Belichick Patriots was caused by four bad ref calls and three injuries to the Patriots.  The satisfying win of the Seattle Seahawks over Pittsburgh Steelers, however, did make up for it a bit.  We love the Seahawks and the Patriots and will be pulling for them the rest of the season.

In a shot from the campus webcam, Dec. 1 at 7:05 a.m., a man in a teal coat apparently offers a small child as a blood sacrifice to Tommy Trojan in the hope of securing divine aid to defeat Stanford in this weekend's Pac-10 Championship game.  OJB doubts that even that would work.  In any event, we're not even entirely convinced that he's holding up a child at all.  The ways of USC are mysterious to us.

In a shot from the campus webcam, Dec. 1 at 7:05 a.m., a man in a teal coat apparently offers a small child as a blood sacrifice to Tommy Trojan in the hope of securing divine aid to defeat Stanford in this weekend’s Pac-10 Championship game. OJB doubts that even that would work. In any event, we are not fully convinced that he’s holding up a child at all. The ways of USC are mysterious to us Bruins.  (Note: yes, I am just yanking Ron’s chain here for making me put up a picture of Tommy Trojan.)

There were several other disappointments this past weekend and it was certainly a shock to hear that Pat Haden, the Athletic Director at USC and determined in his wisdom to hire the Steve Sarkesian lookalike Clay Helton as the permanent Coach at USC, after defeating UCLA last Saturday.  Interesting, when you consider that Haden held no special reserve for Coach Ed Orgeron … but then he did lose to UCLA.  USC seems to be going down an old road.  We call it the “Truck Driver Coach Syndrome”.  When Jess Hill took over at USC at the end of the 1950’s as the Athletic Director, he brought in John McKay to Coach the USC Football Team.  McKay, a Catholic came from Oregon and had an extremely clever elitist demeanor.  McKay however, was a man of the people and loved his players – hand selected them from the best Catholic Schools and was the man that could compete for recruits that would have gone to Notre Dame.

McKay’s first year wasn’t so great, but once his recruiting skills came into play – his coaching staff and players just kept winning – until he went to the pros and took over an expansion team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he broke a record for losing.  The McKay quips and comments rival those of Yogi Berra:  When asked :”What about your Defense today Coach?”  The McKay reply was: “Did they show up – I don’t remember?”  McKay was a presence and an immense personality.  John McKay set the modern standard for coaches at USC.

John McKay had broken every record and even went to Alabama to play Bear Bryant with some of the first Black football players at a major university in America.  Student Body Left won National Championships and secured the reputation of a USC with a fan base around the world.  in 1974 McKay handpicked John Robinson to follow in his footsteps.  Robinson was the first coach known as “the Truck Driver.”  Robinson-coached teams won, primarily due to the great recruiting base that John McKay had established.  Folks like O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen ruled and continued the great winning tradition at USC.  When John Robinson started to slip after seven years, in spite of his winning records, including an 8-3 record in year seven, he was unceremoniously dumped.  Folks like Ted Tollner, Paul Hackett and the infamous Larry Smith followed.  They brought back Robinson for four more years, then brought back Paul Hackett and finally in desperation hired Pete Carroll in 2002.  Carroll brought back the elegance to the USC program and secured a legacy strongly competing with that of John McKay.

One thing to remember:  John Robinson may have been considered a “Truck Driver”, but his language was never vile or vulgar.  He had learned well from John McKay how to be a gentleman in front of the sports press.  Ted Tollner was a nice guy, just no fire.  Paul Hackett was a great mind wrapped in a non-publicity conscious package.  Larry Smith was everything that USC is not – a Southerner with a defensive-aggressive attitude.  He created the Disco-GQ-Trojans who apparently, were afraid to get their uniforms dirty.  They were all cute guys that were the heart throb of every cheerleader – who could lose to anyone.   Finally, the great Pete Carroll years came and almost destroyed the entire NCAA.  The anger was immense.  The guys around the Pot Belly Stove in Norman were fuming.  They had to take this guy down or he could win for another 10 years.

Fast forward to the days of Pete Carroll on the cheap!  Pat Haden replaced the acerbic Mike Garrett as AD….on a supposedly short term basis.  That was five years ago.  Haden brought in the great professional defensive coach Monty Kiffin to assist his not so bright son, Lane to coach the Trojans to an unimpressive four-year stint.  Monty left in year four and Ed Orgeron came in and they wound up with a 10-4 record before Kiffin got dumped in favor of the great one from the north, Steve Sarkesian.  Overweight, vulgar and living off a non-winning record from Washington, where he had some serious personnel and personal problems.  “The Sark” couldn’t take the limelight and the pressure was intense.  His marriage, health and mental breakdown was sad to watch.  It all came down to a bad personnel choice by Pat Haden.

In our opinion, Haden is doing it again. Clay Helton even looks like Steve Sarkesian.  If you didn’t watch closely, you would think he was the same guy.  Pat Haden and his apparent successor J.K. McKay seem to forget the legacy of John McKay.  Maybe the performance of Pat Haden as the Rams Quarterback in the famous “Mudbowl” at the Coliseum against the Vikings, or the fact that J.K. McKay was cut as a wide receiver in the pros, or the fact that Pat Haden was the color commentator for “The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame” for 12 years, or that the University of Southern California is a little bigger than any personality — especially theirs — needs to be reiterated.

Trojan football is not just about X’s and O’s.  It is about the myth.  The legends and myths and tales of great men like Howard Jones and the Thundering Herd, John McKay and Student Body Right, and Pete Carroll and the “Winning Tradition”.  USC has a worldwide trademark and it requires a worldwide representative.  Guess we need Donald Trump “To Make the Trojans Great Again”!  Our prediction:  Not for a while!  We will keep our 10 Trojan Game Day Flags in storage until we get a coach…..that we can relate to … and hope that Pat Haden and J.K. McKay will find employment elsewhere – as soon as possible!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.