2017 Rose Bowl: Ricky Ervins, Tommy Prothro highlight Hall of Fame inductees
PASADENA, Calif. – On Sunday afternoon, former USC running back Ricky Ervins was one of four 2017 inductees to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Perhaps it was fitting that the ceremony was held in the parking lot outside of the stadium. Exactly 30 years earlier on New Year’s Day, Ervins was a high school senior working as a valet, moving cars for 11 hours to make some extra spending money.
After growing up in Pasadena and attending nearby John Muir high school, Ervins eventually worked his way into scholarship at USC and played in three straight Rose Bowls from 1988-90. Back at the storied stadium on Sunday as a Hall of Famer, Ervins had to pinch himself.
“It was never in the plans,” Ervins said. “Me being a homeboy from this town, I never knew I would be MVP. It’s so humbling. Going to John Muir high school we had to run down to this place and touch the gate for training and go back up to practice. All the hard work that we put in, and now it comes down to this moment for me. … This right here, I never thought that this would happen. Twenty-six years later was the last time I played in the Rose Bowl. Now I get to be called a Hall of Famer, I don’t know what to say.”
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 1, 2017
Ervins capped off the 1990 edition of the 'Granddaddy of Them All' with a late, 14-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans a 17-10 win over Michigan. Ervins finished that contest with 126 rushing yards on 30 carries while adding five catches for 44 receiving yards, en route to winning game MVP honors. Surrounded by his family and friends on Sunday, Ervins became emotional as he addressed the crowd.
“It’s not about me,” Ervins said. “It’s about the people that helped me get here.”
[Related: Complete 2017 Rose Bowl coverage]
Joining Ervins as inductees of the 2017 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame class were former Oregon State and UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro, former Minnesota standout Bobby Bell and longtime sportswriter Art Spander.
Prothro, who passed away in 1995, was inducted posthumously, as former UCLA player and coach Terry Donahue accepted on his behalf. Prothro played in the 1942 Rose Bowl – which took place in Durham, N.C., due to security concerns after the Pearl Harbor bombing – as a quarterback for Duke. He also guided the OSU Beavers to the Rose Bowls in 1957 and 1965, before taking UCLA to the Rose Bowl in 1966, where the Bruins upset top-ranked Michigan State, 14-12.
“Coach Prothro was a very imposing figure, both physically and intellectually,” Donahue said. “He was a soft-spoken man but he was very direct, extremely direct and could get his point across in very few words. ... He could motivate a team. He was a very, very interesting coach, well-deserving of this award and it’s long, long overdue.”