Craig Fertig says John McKay never lost his sense of humor. The last thing he heard McKay say was a one-liner.
He and two other former members of McKay's coaching staff, Dave Levy and Dick Beam, visited McKay last month at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert.
Fertig said McKay kept dozing off but was able to tell them that his son-in-law, Bob Florio, a former golf professional married to McKay's daughter Terri, was having his own health problems.
To lighten the mood, Fertig asked if he had the shanks, an imaginary ailment that supposedly affects one's golf swing.
"Coach said, 'No, nothing that serious,' " Fertig said.
Always prepared: John Robinson, who succeeded McKay as USC's coach in 1976, said, "He was my hero and the most influential person in my career.
"One thing he taught me was that if you're going to be a good coach, you have to think about coaching all the time. In order to be able to diagram a play or write down your thoughts, he said you should take a yellow legal pad with you wherever you go, even into the bathroom. And that's what I did."
Trivia time: McKay won the first of his four national championships at USC in 1962. What were the years of USC's previous titles?
Perfect lie:WhiteLight LLC has created something for golfers who live and die with the sport.
The closely held custom casket company from Dallas is unveiling a new model to coincide with this week's 101st U.S. Open: "The Last Hole," which features artwork of a golfer launching a tee shot into the sunset.
Patrick Fant, WhiteLight co-founder, said "The Last Hole" is a follow-up to the company's "Fairway to Heaven" model, which featured an idyllic golf scene with mountains rising in the background.
WhiteLight has sold about 800 of the "Fairway to Heaven" caskets at about $2,500 each. "The Last Hole" will cost the same.
What next? Want to pretend to be a real play-by-play announcer or radio talk-show host? Adam Epstein, a New York attorney and former sportswriter, has created a Web site, http://FanCast.com, that allows you to do that. You can be heard by others signed on to the site.
The site lets you add your own sound effects, such as generic crowd noise, or use the site to host your own sports talk show.
By July, Epstein hopes to begin charging $5 to make game calls, but he says he won't charge anybody to listen or charge any game-caller who attracts at least 20 listeners.
Epstein, 27, told USA Today that as a kid, "I'd often think it would be interesting to hear someone my age calling games. And since the sports audience is so diverse, why do we have one-size-fits-all broadcasting?"
Hey, let me finish: NBC's NBA Finals analysts Bill Walton and Steve Jones must be auditioning for a day gig on "The View," said Dana Pennett O'Neil of the Philadelphia Daily News.
"How else to explain their constant need to step all over each other when they give their analyses? I get the yin yang thing, but these two come off like a pair of hens arguing over the values of Tupperware.
"At the end of their pregame bit on Shaquille O'Neal, they both kept talking, ignoring the fact that the other one's mouth still was moving."
Trivia answer: USC won national titles in 1928, '31 and '32 when Howard Jones was the coach. USC has won one other, in 1978, under Robinson.
Looking back: On this day in 1970, former Gardena High star Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates hurled a 2-0 no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres. Ellis walked eight and hit a batter, and Willie Stargell hit two homers.
And finally: During Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, former President Clinton talked to fans through a chat on http://NBA.com. Clinton, asked who he was rooting for, said, "I can't say--both Philly and L.A. voted for me twice." But he wasn't as diplomatic when asked to name his favorite player in the Finals and why. "Iverson," he answered. "He's small, plays big."