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Fall Report: Southern California

Fall Report

Jason Gill was hired away from Loyola Marymount in July to take over the Southern California program and put it back on the right path. In 2006, USC unceremoniously pushed national championship-winning head coach Mike Gillespie out after he had his second losing season in 20 years. Since then, the Trojans have had more head coaches (Gill is the fourth) than winning seasons (two).

Gill knew from the moment he accepted the job there would be lofty expectations.

“When I got hired here, I’m like, what are the expectations? Expectations come from standards that were set,” Gill said. “The standards at this school are the highest standards in the United States of America: 12 national championships and more big leaguers than any school in the history of the game. We have the highest standards that are set.”

Gill doesn’t think anyone will ever be able to replicate legendary USC head coach Rod Dedeaux’s early 1970s run of five straight national championships. However, he sees no reasons why USC can’t consistently be a top 15 team.

“That can be achieved,” Gill said. “It’s going to take special people, special players that want that, that want to put in the time to get that done, because they have the talent and whether it’s this year, next year, two years from now, or if I’m lucky enough to be here eight years from now, we’re going to bring it back. Cause it’s here. It’s just been lost. Somewhere, in the last 15 years, [the standards have] been lost.”

Gill has no grandeur that him being named head coach suddenly makes the Trojans an immediate national championship contender. Instead, he said it will be up to the players.

“I can only pass on information [coaching] that’s been given to me through people that were smarter than me and hand it to them,” said Gill, referencing his time spent playing and coaching under Augie Garrido and George Horton. “[The players] choose whether they take that or not, and they choose whether to apply it or not. Not me. If they choose to take it and apply it, they’re setting standards.

“It’s their responsibility to bring back those standards, so when they do something and they do it very well, I tell them, ‘Hey, today you set new standards. Way to go.’ Now I can hold you to those standards. So when you do it below that standard, you’re going to hear from me because you’ve already set the standard. So I don’t set that standard. They do.

“It’s my responsibility to police it. I police the standards, but their responsibility is to bring back those standards,” Gill said. “Get them back up and I’ll police it for you. I’ll tell you when you’re not doing it and I’ll tell you when you’re doing it. But I can’t change the culture. I can’t go inside your brain and say think this way. You have to change the culture.”

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