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The UCLA-USC connection

Some players and coaches have ties with each school.

November 27, 2009|By David Wharton
  • Marc Tyler, a running back for USC, did not follow in his father's footsteps. Wendell Tyler was a star at UCLA before an NFL career.
Marc Tyler, a running back for USC, did not follow in his father's footsteps.… (Anne Cusack, Los Angeles…)

In the relatively cloistered world of college football, Demetrius Papadakis qualifies as a blasphemer.

His father, John, played at USC in the early 1970s. One older brother, Taso, played linebacker for the Trojans and another, Petros, was a tailback. The family restaurant, Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro, is a USC hangout.

So how did Demetrius end up as a walk-on fullback at UCLA?

"My family has been very true Trojans," his father said. "But what can I say? UCLA noticed him and encouraged him."

With only about 15 miles separating the campuses, there might be no way to avoid the occasional cross-pollination, whether it involves players or, more often, the coaching staffs.

Some of the links between the rivals are well-known, others not so much:

Rick Neuheisel: In between playing for and coaching the Bruins, Neuheisel attended law school at USC, earning his degree in May 1990.

Norm Chow: USC fans still bemoan the day he left as their team's offensive coordinator. The split only feels worse now that he's in Westwood.

Ken Norton Jr.: USC's assistant head coach made a name for himself as an All-American linebacker for UCLA. Some Bruins fans were miffed when their team did not hire him as a fledgling assistant.

Wayne Moses: Moses has flip-flopped between the schools, coaching at USC in 2001 and now in his second stint with the Bruins as the running backs coach.

Jethro Franklin: The Trojans' defensive line coach held a similar position at UCLA in 1999.

Bob Palcic: Palcic coached the USC offensive line in 1992. He now holds the same job at UCLA.

Brian Schneider: The Trojans' special-teams coordinator spent three seasons in Westwood, working with linebackers, safeties and special teams.

Brandon Sermons: UCLA's freshman defensive back has an older brother, Rodney, who played tailback for the Trojans in the mid-1990s.

Marc Tyler: His father, Wendell, was a star at UCLA in the mid-1970s. Now Marc is a redshirt sophomore tailback for the Trojans.

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