USC Trojans All-Time Lists

Ranking The Best USC Football Coaches of All-Time

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14. Sam Barry

Sam Barry, who was one of the innovators of the “Triangle Offense,” coached USC basketball to the final four and baseball to the College World Series. So perhaps he could be forgiven for a disappointing tenure as the USC football head coach.

He came to USC via a connection to Howard Jones and Iowa. While serving as the Hawkeye’s basketball head coach, Barry had done double duty as an assistant on Jones’ football staff. Jones left Iowa for USC in 1925 and when the Trojans needed a new head man on the hardwood in 1929, he recommended Barry.

As it happened, Barry led USC through long-forgotten glory days and stands above all else as the greatest head coach in Trojan basketball history. All the while, he lent a hand to Jones on the football side of things, so when Jones died from a sudden heart attack, it was Barry who took over.

Unfortunately, Barry’s one season in charge was marred by injury and a dismal 2-6-1 record. Perhaps he might have turned things around, but shortly after the conclusion of the 1941 season the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and Barry, like many Trojan athletes of the era, enlisted for military service and thus his service as the head coach of USC football ended.