Fundraising Underway For John McKay Endowed Football Scholarship
April 11, 2002
Former USC quarterback and current trustee Pat Haden is spearheading the campaign to endow a football scholarship in former coach John McKay's name. And he's called his own number in a big way.
Haden has donated $25,000 himself and has also solicited another $25,000 donation from the NFL.
'With my $25,000, I'm issuing a challenge,' he said. 'I'd like to challenge my teammates to match my gift as a group or individually.
'Heading up this campaign is a small way of recognizing the contributions that Coach McKay made to USC as an institution. And I say institution, specifically, because, for this university, he was more than a football coach.
'He connected with a much larger community than football fans and brought USC to the lives of people who may or may not have been football fans.'
Haden lived with the McKay family as a high school senior after his parents moved to San Francisco, because he wanted to continue to play with McKay's son, J.K., his close friend and chief pass catcher at Bishop Amat High School.
Other college coaches who came to McKay's house to recruit Haden were often met at the door by the USC coach.
'It was very awkward for a lot of those coaches,' Haden recalled with a smile. 'When some schools knocked on the door, he wasn't home. But he always knew when Notre Dame, or Stanford, or Nebraska, or Alabama were coming by. For schools like that, he always answered the door.'Here, the coach from Notre Dame or Stanford is coming to recruit me, and the head coach of USC is answering the door. It was very interesting.'
McKay, of course, was elated when Haden and J.K. both decided on USC.
'Coach McKay changed my life,' Haden said. 'I probably would not have gone to USC, had it not been for him. I would not have met my wife Cindy, my lifelong best friend, who was a USC student.
'I probably wouldn't have gotten the Rhodes Scholarship, which was another life-changing experience. I probably wouldn't have ended up playing professional football.
'Life is a funny thing sometimes. I moved into a neighborhood in 1964, where we happened to have the McKays as neighbors, and by fortuitous circumstances, my life has been made much better.'
Haden realizes he has a big job ahead of him. To endow a scholarship at USC takes $400,000, and the campaign is about a third of the way there.
But he's determined to succeed to honor the man who won more games than any coach in USC history, plus four national championships and nine conference titles.
To join Haden's endowment team and honor John McKay, please call either senior associate athletic director Don Winston or associate athletic director Ron Orr at (213) 740-4155 to make a donation.