Ex-USC Basketball, Football Player Tom McGarvin Dies

June 24, 2005

Tom McGarvin, who played on the first USC men's basketball team to appear in the NCAA tournament and on Howard Jones' last Trojan football team, died on Saturday, June 18, in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of natural causes. He was 88.

McGarvin also is the only USC athlete to ever face Notre Dame in both football and basketball. He did so in 1940, when the Trojans beat the Irish in basketball, but then lost in football.

A memorial service for McGarvin will be held on July 7 at 2 p.m. at Gates Kingsley-Gates Mortuary, Santa Monica. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name and sent to the USC Athletic Department, Heritage Hall, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-0602.

McGarvin was a three-year (1938-40) letterman in basketball at Troy. In 1940, USC appeared in the NCAA tourney for the first time and finished in a third-place tie after falling to Kansas, 43-42. That season, he earned All-Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division first team honors. In his tenure, USC went 57-17 and won the PCC Southern Division title twice (1939 and 1940).

He also lettered as a left end on the 1940 football team, Jones' last Trojan squad before the legendary coach's unexpected death the following spring.

After USC and a stint in the Army during World War II, where he received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star, McGarvin began a coaching and sports administration career that stretched for four decades. Beginning in 1946, he served in various capacities at Santa Monica (Calif.) High, including athletic director, head boys basketball coach and assistant football coach. Then, in the early 1960s, he went to Santa Monica City College, where he was the head men's basketball coach and then athletic director until retiring in 1979, when he moved to Palm Desert, Calif.

He is survived by sons Tom and Bruce, daughter Marci and three grandsons.

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