Yesterday, the official USC Athletics Twitter account made note of a laudable feat in NCAA team sports.
Over the past three seasons, the Trojans have collected seven NCAA team national titles, which is tied with Florida for the most by any school over that period.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) June 30, 2014
Such a statistic shines light on the strength of USC’s athletic department as a whole. All due congratulations to the winner of those titles — men’s and women’s water polo, women’s golf and men’s tennis, whose title will be etched in the history books as USC’s 100th.
However, the success of those programs, particularly the consistent success of men’s water polo and tennis also puts the big three sports on notice.
We’re looking at you football, basketball and baseball.
We are here to win championships and our work toward a championship has already begun.
This coming season is the tenth anniversary of the Trojan’s most recent championship on the gridiron. That’s correct. On the fourth of January following the 2014 season, it will have been ten years since Pete Carroll hoisted that crystal trophy over his head in triumph.
On the baseball diamond, USC hasn’t lifted a trophy since 1998. The 16th anniversary of that football-score 21-14 victory over Arizona State was back on June 6. As it happens, Trojan baseball hasn’t even made an appearance in the College World Series since the spring after Trojan football brought home the title in 2005.
On the hardwood, no Trojan team has ever prevailed on the biggest national stage.
Steve Sarkisian knows that the wait has been too long.
“We are not rebuilding. We are here to win championships and our work toward a championship has already begun,” Sarkisian said during his introductory press conference.
Of course, Sarkisian has never won a championship as a head coach. Neither has baseball manager Dan Hubbs nor basketball head coach Andy Enfield, all hired within that three year period USC boasts other programs were winning championships.
All three share two qualities. First, they’ve shown the ability to get more out of less.
Hubbs thrived as a pitching coach at Cal and helped the budget-challenged and nearly-disbanded Golden Bears to the CWS in 2011.
Enfield transformed Florida Gulf Coast into a March Madness Cinderella by his second season in charge.
Sarkisian took the win-less Washington Huskies and guided them to four bowl games in the last four seasons.
Second, they have time.
Hubbs’ predecessor Frank Cruz was given two years before getting the ax, though Chad Kreuter before him was given four years without ever posting a winning record. Hubbs accomplished that this year though the Trojans just missed out on a return to the CWS.
Enfield certainly cannot afford another season like 2013-14 campaign, but he has no doubt injected energy into the program and with big time recruits like Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu coming in the future looks bright enough.
Besides, given his tournament record — he took FGCU to the championship game of the Atlantic Sun Tournament the year before his Eagles won the tournament and stormed into the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament — there’s the sense that just finding his way into March Madness could yield dividends.
As for Sarkisian, his job is the toughest of the bunch. The weight of expectation will only grow heavier even as he goes about transforming the Trojan offense.
At the same time, Sarkisian will be given the greatest resources to achieve his ultimate goal. With a top ten recruiting class and the end of sanctions upon us, dreams of crystal footballs will resume once more.
The clock is ticking.
In the meantime, keep them coming water polo, tennis and golf. Keep them coming.