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I am 44 years old and the State has had an antagonistic relationship with the University my whole life. It did not start with Morris..he is just the latest incarnation of the thorn. I have herd stories about McGuire and the State beat writer almost coming to blows in a parking lot.
We all know that the situation with the State paper and the University was odd..and out of character for what the relationship should be. Most of us..myself included want nothing more than a fair shake..but sadly that has not been the case for longer than I have been alive. We also know that the approach the State has taken has hurt the progress of our state flagship university.
If this thing is handled and a new relationship is built that has a more fair orientation....I think this may be one of Spurrier's greatest accomplishments here at USC. It is hard to build a program when the local writers are spewing negativity at every turn. It is harder to attract the best and the brightest when most of the information writen is not something you find appealing...with very little writen to counterweigh it.
In the end...I think this will be one of those things that always held us back...fixed....hopefully.
The adversarial relationship between the State and USC athletics dates to the 1950's. Jake Penland, then the State's sports editor, had a brutal relationship with USC head football coach and athletic director Warren Giese. Giese had succeeded Rex Enright at the position and the two were different as night and day. Enright had been your jovial grandpa, treating the press as his old buddies. Giese was extremely direct and all business. He played everything close to the vest, never opened practices and pretty much answered everything "no comment." Penland took it very personally and became more and more bitter as time went by. He liked to refer to the Roundhouse where Giese's office was located as "the Kremlin."
In the early years of Coach McGuire's term he had an excellent rapport with State sports editor Herman Helms. Coach considered Helms a friend and as he always did with the media, he gave him carte blanche with the program.
We finished the 1969-70 ACC season 14-0 in the regular season and lost on a terrible call in overtime of the ACC tournament finals with an injured John Roche.
As the 1970-71 season started we faced an increasingly hostile ACC. Chip Case of Maryland punched John Ribock in a game at the Coliseum in December, 1970 and our guys promptly finished the fight. The crowds in other ACC arenas became increasingly hostile, the worse being clemson where the crowd chanted "N....r, N.....r" at Casey Manning and hurled insults about Frankie at Coach McGuire. After reaching number one in the polls and being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on January 4, 1971 we opened the new year at North Carolina and were blown out of Carmichael by the Tar Heels, our first ACC regular season loss in two years. We also lost at State and were upset at Maryland in the return game of the fight in Columbia. Maryland coach Lefty Drisell stated publicly that he couldn't guarantee our safety if we came to College Park and armed Maryland National Guardsmen were at the game. Long before the 30 second clock, the Terps held the ball and we trailed 3-2 at halftime. We ended up losing the game 32-30 in overtime.
At this time Helms decided to write a column criticizing our team for the way it was handling pressure and questioning our character. Coach McGuire was beyond angry. He felt our guys, who never started a fight but always finished them, were being unfairly characterized as thugs, and that the ACC schools needed to better police their crowds. Most of all he was stunned that Helms, whom he trusted, would publicly criticize the Gamecocks without coming to him first. After the Maryland loss we stopped off in Charlottesville to play UVa. We lost on a last second shot by Barry Parkhill. Leaving the floor, Coach McGuire detoured by press row where Helms was sitting. Coach reached over, grabbed Helms by the jacket, told him what he thought of him and dared Helms to stand up and repeat to his face what he had written about our team and settle things right there. Helms of course declined and Donnie Walsh and Tom Price led Coach to the locker room.
Years later after he retired, Helms wrote that he was scared to death he would lose his job. The criticism from USC fans was brutal of course, advertisers publicly dropped their business and most USC fans never forgave Helms. The basketball team righted itself and went on to finish second in the ACC regular season, win the ACC tournament and finish the season 6th in the nation. A few weeks later, Helms' boss, the publisher of the State called Helms into his office. He told Helms that Coach McGuire had talked to him. Helms said he began thinking how he was going to tell his wife that he was unemployed. To Helms amazement, the publisher related that Coach said he was aware of how much criticism Helms was getting and he wanted the publisher to know that from his point of view the matter was closed. He said that he didn't tolerate unfair criticism of "his boys," but he had addressed the matter that night in Charlottesville and considered everything over. Helms said that the publisher related that Coach said that what the fans and advertisers did was none of his business, but that he wanted no part of a man with a wife and kids to support losing his job and he wanted the State's management to know that.
Helms said he was absolutely amazed by what Coach did for him. The two were never close again, but had a civil relationship after that, but nothing more. Helms was critical of both Paul Dietzel and Jim Carlen at times, but strictly for x's and o's decisions, never personally. USC fans who never forgave Helms for his famous attack on McGuire's basketball team were very antagonistic with Helms over his critiques of Dietzel and Carlen. Ironically, some people close to Helms felt he was actually hard on Dietzel and Carlen because of the two football coaches' battles with McGuire and a desire, never publicly expressed, to make things up to Coach McGuire.
I tell all this just to set the record straight, to show as the OP said, how long this has been going on, but also to point out that MoRon's personal vendettas against Lou and SOS really are a whole different level of garbage from the previous controversies
It appears that Spurrier, like Coach McGuire before him, has decided to directly confront things, the way real men do, and like the OP, I hope this brings things to a head and settles some things once and for all.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by 81 Alumnus 22 months ago
Wow! Very interesting post. Thanks for the insight!
This is not The Syvelle Newton, just his number one fan!
Now that's some big time info right there, thanks 81.
Two grand boys, Two state championships. 5-peat USC
Excellent history above concerning Helms but I worked at the RECORD while going to USC in the mid-60s and while not all-in to our sports as I worked all the time.......I do recall that Helms really made a bad impression on me as we wrote something nasty about our football practically every day of our seasons. He's always been a pariah in my book
This post was edited by GarnetOP 22 months ago
I had a chance to interview Helms, when I was in school in the late 70's. He was not a warm, fuzzy guy. My goal was to simply set the record straight and to point that there is a long, long history of conflict between the State and USC, but at the same time MoRon has taken it to another level.
I also had a chance to have a long conversation with MoRon a few years ago. He was very open and forthcoming which I appreciated. What he did for Bob Fulton is amazing, too. But he was incredibly petty with his comments and made it clear he had no respect for our athletic program and regarded USC fans as mouth-breathing inbreds. I'm usually pretty direct and it was only my respect for what he did for Fulton that kept me from asking why in the world he took the job in Columbia.
Great post here
Great post 81. Thanks for sharing,
Thanks for sharing that, 81! I wish guys like you would post more often. I love hearing about the history of our sports program.
MoRon does have some sort of agenda, in that he takes pleasure in ticking off all of the fans. He loves to try to belittle everything that our coach does, simply because we adore him so much. There is always jealousy involved when such pettiness is used, so MoRon must be jealous that the tarholes do not have Spurrier or something like that.
This post was edited by steve miller 22 months ago
Ally will beat the crap out of Uga.
Great post, 81. Really enjoyed reading that. As for any other historical USC stories you may have, please start a thread and share them (if you're up to it).
"We played in a place called DeathValley, I looked up in the fourth quarter & the only ones still alive were the Gamecocks." Steve Spurrier
Good stuff, '81. Really appreciate it.
2012 Season stats: 143 carries, 662 yards, 11 TD's; 26 catches, 173 yards;
Praying for a full recovery, Marcus. God Bless You!
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