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THE INSIDE TRACK | Page Two / Randy Harvey

Party Winding Down for This Festive Old Gal

December 11, 1996|RANDY HARVEY

Not that John McKay was attached to Julie's or anything, but when he left USC to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the owners of the restaurant down the block from the Coliseum disassembled his favorite booth and shipped it to him.

That's also the restaurant where former USC basketball coach Stan Morrison once promised to dive from the roof into the pool fully clothed if the Trojans were invited to the NCAA tournament. They were, and he did. (The reason for a restaurant having a pool is another story.)

Over the last 57 years, Julie's became the favorite gathering place before and after home games for every true Trojan, including Traveler. Honest, the horse occasionally paraded through.

Now Julie's, like other local landmarks before it, such as Chasen's and Schwab's, is closing, a victim of the changing face of the city and the people who eat lunch here.

If the garment manufacturers on the other side of the Harbor Freeway hadn't begun leaving the area, if UCLA, the Rams and Raiders hadn't moved from the Coliseum, if the Clippers attracted bigger crowds, if three-martini lunches were still in fashion, perhaps the Obradovich family could have kept the kitchen open.

"What were we going to do?" said Steve Obradovich, a former Trojan football and volleyball player whose family bought the restaurant from Julie Kohl 18 years ago.

"We used to average 300 lunches a day on weekdays, and now we're down to 60. We're packed when USC plays at the Coliseum, but that's only four or five Saturdays a year. We're worn out."

Julie's last full day of business will be Friday, although the restaurant also will be open before Saturday night's Southern Section Division I title game at the Coliseum between Santa Ana Mater Dei and Loyola.

Obradovich said the family may organize an auction to sell pictures and memorabilia decorating the walls, but the only things of true value at Julie's are the memories.

*

Of the many rumors about Terry Donahue's coaching future, the one that won't go away is that he wants to take over the San Diego Chargers if Bobby Ross leaves. . . .

Sidelined with two yellow cards, Paul Caligiuri of Diamond Bar may be replaced on the U.S. soccer team's roster for Saturday's game at Palo Alto against Costa Rica by Marcelo Balboa of Cerritos. They are tied for the lead in all-time international appearances for the national team with 113. . . .

Gold-medal gymnast Dominique Dawes is appearing on Broadway as Patty Simcox in "Grease!" through Dec. 31. . . .

Teammate Kerri Strug has been invited to read "A Christmas Carol" on Dec. 20 in Phoenix, alongside Paul Harvey and Stevie Nicks. . . .

USC had a chance to tie UCLA in NCAA titles at 74 last weekend in the water polo championship game, but the Bruins won for the second year in a row. . . .

Prince Hal Bedsole, the USC wide receiver three decades ago who could have taught Keyshawn Johnson lessons about flamboyance, is recovering from throat cancer surgery at his home in Aliso Viejo. . . .

Even with a convincing victory in Sunday's $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, Windsharp isn't likely to make much of a dent in balloting for the Eclipse award as female turf horse of the year. Wandesta all but clinched the title with her victory over Windsharp in Hollywood Park's Matriarch. . . .

Kansas Coach Roy Williams might have had to sit through a dull game Saturday at Pauley Pavilion, but his trip here wasn't a waste. He saw Santa Monica Crossroads guard Baron Davis play twice. Davis is believed to have narrowed his choices to Kansas and UCLA. . . .

Entering tonight's game at the Forum against Indiana, the Lakers are 0-5 on Wednesdays. . . .

Charles Barkley says the Boston Celtics are only two players away from greatness: Bill Russell and Larry Bird. . . .

*

Just when we thought it was safe to celebrate the end of ties in college football comes word that they might not have joined leather helmets and Lou Holtz in extinction.

In the interest of player safety, the American Football Coaches Assn. is considering a proposal that would limit overtimes to three.

Also, the Pac-10 may adopt a rule allowing the referee to call overtime games for darkness. There are no lights at California, Stanford and Washington.

*

While wondering if Jerry Jones is the one handling Eddie Robinson's retirement, I was thinking: Danny Wuerffel must really be looking forward to the rematch with Florida State, Brian Hill figured to go before Bob, the Washington Redskins should be prosecuted to change their nickname, Oscar De La Hoya is as classy as they come.

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