On Sept. 2, USC will open the college football season against Auburn without the toughest Trojan of them all, former captain and assistant coach Marv Goux, who died last month of cancer at 69.
From 1957-82, Goux was an assistant to coaches Don Clark, John McKay and John Robinson. During his tenure, the Trojans won five national championships and played in 11 Rose Bowls, winning eight.
Known for his motivational speeches to players and fans, Goux was passionate about the annual USC-Notre Dame game. As a freshman wide receiver for the Trojans in 1982, I made the mistake of sitting in one of the chairs reserved for Goux's defensive linemen at halftime of a game against the Irish and, as a result, felt the wrath of Goux. It was an honor to be chewed out by Goux in his last game as a USC coach.
"On Friday nights, he would get up before a crowd of people and we all would be riveted by his words," said Ken Del Conte, who played on USC's 1962 national championship team. "He made you want to go out on the field and sacrifice everything for the team. You didn't know whether to cry, yell or wet your pants ... or all three."
Trivia time: Who holds the NFL record for kickoff return yards in a season?
Trade spin: Randy Hill of Foxsports.com on the NBA off-season: "The [Philadelphia] Sixers traded center Dikembe Mutombo--[Allen] Iverson's Georgetown crony--to the New Jersey Nets for Keith Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch and 15 minutes after the trade was announced, witnesses say they saw Philly Coach Larry Brown standing outside First Union Center ... naked."
Hothead: Former Seattle Mariner Kevin Mitchell, managing the minor-league Sonoma County Crushers, has been suspended for three games for bumping an umpire who had called strike three on Mitchell's cousin, outfielder Keith Mitchell. It marks Kevin Mitchell's third suspension from the Independent League--including the entire 2000 season for punching a rival owner.
But possibly aces: From the Caught on the Fly column in the Sporting News: "Finally, a Phils phan's ultimate throwaway hand: Scott Rolen and J.D. Drew--a pair of Cards, no hearts."
Looking back: On this day in 1996, Cigar's bid for a 17th consecutive victory ended when longshot Dare And Go passed the super horse in the stretch and pulled away to win the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Cigar, who finished three lengths behind Dare And Go, failed to break a tie with Citation for the record winning streak by a North American-based horse in the 20th century.
Trivia answer: MarTay Jenkins, who had 2,186 yards for the Arizona Cardinals in 2000.
And finally: Tampa Bay Buccaneer Coach Jon Gruden doesn't mind being compared to the Chucky doll from the "Child's Play" movies because he understands where his scowling demeanor comes from.
"I don't know if people know my name is Jon anymore," Gruden told the St. Petersburg Times. "I'd really like everything to go so smoothly that you never have that side of you. I'm sure if one of you has a bad day, or gets caught in traffic or shanks your three-iron, I guarantee you if they put the camera on you, you'd look very similar to Chucky. You should see my mom. I probably got it from her."