USC hasn’t lost a game at the Coliseum since John McKay’s ashes were spread on the field there in the fall of 2001, which might say something about the power of the legendary Trojan coach.
And even his star players could feel intimidated by him.
In the 1964 game against UCLA, senior quarterback Craig Fertig, who spoke at Friday’s Pasadena Quarterbacks Club luncheon, recalled that McKay, who liked and respected UCLA coach Bill Barnes, pulled the starters with USC leading, 34-0.
“A group of us seniors got together on the sidelines,” Fertig said. “We wanted to go back into the game, and since I was a team captain, I was selected to go tell Coach.
“When I went over to tell him, he whispered, ‘You want to keep that scholarship, don’t you?’ I went back and said, ‘Boys, we’re done for the day.’ ”
The final score was 34-13.
Trivia time: Pat Haden was USC’s starting quarterback in 1973 and ’74. His backup in ’73 was Rob Adolph. His backup the next season ended up playing 15 years in the NFL. Who is he?
Good choice: Fertig is among a few Trojans who annually bet with former UCLA coach Terry Donahue on the outcome of the USC-UCLA game. The winner gets a free lunch, and also gets to pick the site.
“This year, I’ve already picked Honolulu,” Fertig said.
Scary moment: One year, when Donahue was still coaching at UCLA, Fertig won the bet and picked Julie’s, a USC hangout near the campus.
“I had maybe been to Julie’s once before when I was an assistant coach,” Donahue said, “and certainly didn’t feel comfortable going there as the head coach.
“Then when I arrive, a film crew is there. I could just see it on the 11 o’clock news -- ‘UCLA coach hanging out at Julie’s.’ ”
Actually, the crew was there to film a movie, not Donahue.
Not too far off: Former UCLA quarterback and current radio commentator Matt Stevens was also at the Pasadena Quarterbacks Club luncheon.
“I’m so excited about parking at the Coliseum,” Stevens said, “because someone gave me a 25% off coupon.
“So parking should only cost me about $300.”
One sure tactic: Former UCLA quarterback Tom Ramsey, a guest of Dave Smith’s on radio station 1540, was asked what the key was for the Bruins to win today’s game.
“Hope Reggie Bush misses the team bus,” Ramsey said.
Not likely: “Reggie Bush is so popular right now,” says comedian Alex Kaseberg, “President Bush has asked a genealogist to determine if they are somehow related.”
Looking back: On this day in 1979, USC’s Charles White won the Heisman Trophy.
Trivia answer: Vince Evans.
And finally: White, a guest on radio station 570, said of Bush: “He reminds me of Gale Sayers, who, I recall, scored six touchdowns against San Francisco [in 1965]. I haven’t seen anyone close to that. Reggie Bush is awfully close.”
Larry Stewart can be reached at email@example.com.