Friday, November 24, 2006

the Quotable McKay | by Jay

Some great memories here in this LA Times article, with guys reminiscing about the ND-Southern Cal matchups of yore. J.K. McKay (legendary Trojan coach John McKay's son) recalls, "In our house, we had a good Christmas if we beat Notre Dame. And a crummy one if we didn't."

John McKay. In addition to being quite possibly the best coach Notre Dame ever faced, McKay had one of the sharpest wits around. Some quotes from the McKay file, culled from his coaching days both in college and in the pros:

In response to a question about the team's execution: "I'm all for it."

After walking off the field in his final game and being cursed by Jets players for his decision to surrender a score so James Wilder could try for a record: "How embarrassing to hear language like that in the NFL."

On the prospect of a late-season game in Wisconsin: "Going to Green Bay is like winning the 98th prize in a contest with only 97 prizes."

On USC's effort after a 51-0 loss to Notre Dame: "The bus leaves in an hour. Anyone who needs a shower, take one."

On that same loss to Notre Dame: "I told our players there were 700-million Chinese who didn't even know the game was played. The next week, I got five letters from China saying, 'What happened?' "

On Leeman Bennett, his replacement: "It's going to be better for Leeman Bennett if he and I don't get real close. If we do, it might get him shot."

On sports writers: "I said on my TV show they didn't know a quarterback from a banana stand, and someone sent me a crate of bananas. This week, I'm going to say most sports writers don't know a quarterback from a Mercedes."

On a play in which a Bucs running back fumbled as he crossed the goal line, and an opponent recovered as the Tampa Bay players stood with their arms in the air: "We looked like the Italian army out there."

On comparing St. Louis quarterbacks Jim Hart and Steve Pisarkiewicz: "Hart is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Pisarkiewicz is hard to spell."

On kickers: "Kickers are like grass. You can find them anywhere."

On kicker Garo Yepremian, who accused McKay of dodging him after he was waived: "[Bleep] Garo Yepremian. How old he, 37 or 12?"

On kicker Bill Capece, who missed a short field goal against Detroit: "Capece is kaput."

On kicker Peter Rajecki, who complained that McKay made him nervous by watching: "Please inform Mr. Rajecki that I plan to attend all of the games."

To a reporter after a 55-14 loss to Green Bay: "Get the hell away from me or I'll punch you in the mouth."

On an interception thrown by Steve DeBerg: "It was thrown to nobody. Well, it was thrown to somebody -- Harry Carson. But he happened to be playing for the New York Giants at the time. It would have been a good pass if Harry was playing for us."

On leaving a practice and hearing a fan yell "Four more years!": "I didn't know what he meant. He might have thought I was Ronald Reagan."

On the difficulty of his childhood: "There weren't many cookies floating around."

On his first job, when he had to help coach Len Casanova, who was in a body cast, change his pants: "Damn it. I should have read the fine print in that contract."

On USC being ranked No. 1 by Playboy: "Playboy knows a lot more about the female formation than the T-formation."

On rival Stanford: "I'd like to beat Stanford by 2,000 points. They're the worst winners I've ever gone up against."

Before playing No. 1-ranked Notre Dame: "If we play our best and don't make any mistakes, we'll definitely get a first down."

On Bear Bryant: "When you scrape away all the hayseed, there's a royal flush underneath."

In a pregame speech to his players: "It's obvious you aren't going to win this game for yourselves. So how about winning it for the coaching staff's eight wives and 23 children?"

After watching a kick returner fall untouched: "My God, they shot him."

To his wife, Corky, who mentioned she didn't sleep all week before his Southern Cal team played UCLA: "Why? I didn't plan on using you."

On going 0-14 his first year: "Who cares? It doesn't matter if you aren't first. Seattle won two games. Should we throw them a party?"

On his last season, when the defense missed Hugh Green, who was injured when his car was hit by another driven by an interior decorator: "It's the first time I've ever been done in by an interior decorator."

After a USC running back admitted he wasn't tough enough: "Finally, I've found an honest man."

After the Bucs broke their 26-game losing streak: "Three or four plane crashes and we're in the playoffs."

On pressure from the fans: "I'll never be hung in effigy. Before every season I sent my men out to buy up all the rope in Los Angeles."

On recruiting son J.K.: "I had a rather distinct advantage. I slept with his mother."

On intensity: "Intensity is a lot of guys who run fast."

Why O.J. Simpson carried the ball so much: "Why not. It isn't very heavy. Besides, he doesn't belong to a union."

After his unbeaten '69 team, the Cardiac Kids, beat UCLA 14-12 on a touchdown pass by Jimmy Jones with 1:32 to go: "I've checked my heart, and I don't have one."

Told by son J.K. and quarterback Pat Haden that they were considering going to Stanford: "If it was between Stanford and Red China, I would pay your way to Peking."

In 1965, USC had to wait on the field for 20 minutes before Notre Dame came out. In '67, McKay said he wasn't coming out before Notre Dame. The referee threatened the Irish would win by forfeit 2-0: "That would be the best deal we've ever gotten in this stadium."

On losing: "Boy, do I hate to see that (movie) scene in the dressing room where a player gets up with tears in his eyes and says, 'We'll get 'em next year.' Damn it, I think, why didn't we get them this year? Don't worry about the next one. Next year may come and we may all be dead."