Decades later, USC’s ‘jock rally’ tradition still hits right notes
By Joey Kaufman
LOS ANGELES — Dr. Arthur Bartner, USC’s longtime marching band director, was in his first year at the school when he received an invitation to mix the pageantry with football.
Marv Goux, an assistant coach, asked Bartner to bring the 80 or so members of the band into the basement level of the Physical Education building, which housed the team’s locker room. Bartner said sure.
It was on a Friday before the Trojans’ first home game of the 1970 season. They met after the coaches and players finished their walk-through on the nearby Bovard Field, the end of a week of practice.
Bartner and the band greeted them with a couple of their signature songs in a foyer outside of the locker room and coaches’ offices.
Then Goux, in his gruff voice, addressed the team in a spirited pep talk.
“Marv screamed and hollered and basically used every four-letter word,” Bartner said.
It was not an unusual address, though new to a rookie 30-year-old band director from the University of Michigan.
Bartner recalled how close together the team and the band were, packed in the cramped quarters to listen to Goux. It was a 7-foot ceiling, one former coach estimated.
“It was basically the Marv Goux show,” Bartner said.
Goux was always fiery. The basement had one main lightbulb that hung from a chandelier. Amid his speech, Goux often knocked it out and continued to address the team in the darkness. Another time, he yanked off the front door of a locker. He frenetically waved his arms. He sought to motivate the team, or rip into their opponent. A favorite line was to burn their barns.
“He was an exciting guy,” said Dave Levy, an assistant alongside Goux for 16 seasons under John McKay. “He would use colorful language. He would also just challenge the others to speak, call a […]