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    Class article on Tim Floyd - USA Today

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/colle...sc-focus_N.htm


    Floyd's USC comeback all about heart
    By David Leon Moore, USA TODAY
    LOS ANGELES This could be the best year of basketball coach Tim Floyd's life.
    After getting fired from his last two jobs, he has proved again that he's a winner.
    Aided by a new 10,258-seat on-campus arena, he has rejuvenated the traditionally mediocre Southern California basketball program, leading the Trojans to a 23-11 record and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. They open Friday against No. 12 seed Arkansas in Spokane, Wash.
    Floyd has even enthused a USC student body that became accustomed to worshipping the one and only true Trojan god football. He has signed what some basketball experts deem the No. 2 recruiting class in the country.
    All that pales in comparison, though, to what happened to Floyd on Feb. 25
    On that day, Floyd turned 53. For a male in his family, that was a record.
    His father, former Southern Mississippi basketball coach Lee Floyd, died at 51.
    His grandfather, uncles, great-uncles, even his great-grandfather none made it to 53.
    "Heart attacks," Floyd says. "All of 'em."
    For whatever reason, though, his heart is still ticking.
    "Sometimes," theorizes his 83-year-old mother, Alice Bishop, "you get your mother's genes and your mother's heart."
    Heart. The demise of so many male Floyds, but a good place to start in describing the basketball turnaround at USC, which had posted three consecutive losing seasons before Floyd took over last season.
    USC went 17-13 last year, then became one of the surprise teams in college basketball this season, finishing tied for third in the deep, rugged Pacific-10 Conference and going 8-4 against ranked opponents.
    "He's brought a tremendous change in culture," says USC football coach Pete Carroll, who attends games regularly. "The kids play with great energy and display great attitude, and they look like they're having fun. He's elevated every aspect of the program."
    Floyd has done it before, not counting his 3?-year journey as Phil Jackson's successor with the post-Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls (49-190 record) and his one-year stint with the New Orleans Hornets (41-41 in 2003-04).
    Before that, Floyd was a winner at Idaho, the University of New Orleans and Iowa State. He took UNO to two NCAA tournaments and Iowa State to three, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1997.
    Floyd was unemployed when USC was looking for a coach after firing Henry Bibby four games into the 2004-05 season. He was interested, but USC athletics director Mike Garrett chose Rick Majerus instead.
    Less than a week after accepting the job, Majerus changed his mind and backed out.
    Floyd was hired.
    He made strides last season, but the team was dealt a horrific blow when starting freshman guard Ryan Francis was killed in a drive-by shooting in May in his hometown of Baton Rouge.
    Floyd traveled to Baton Rouge to help console Francis' family and brought the entire Trojans team to the funeral.
    "I was really impressed with how Tim handled that," says former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, a longtime Floyd friend. "He did it the way you're supposed to do it."
    All season, the Trojans have worn a black patch with Francis' number 12 on it.
    Working up the ranks
    His father always advised Floyd not to go into coaching. Floyd's dad even quit his job at Southern Mississippi in 1954, shortly after his son was born.
    "I was the third child," Floyd says, "and he said he couldn't afford to raise a family on a coach's pay. So we moved to his hometown, El Paso, and he opened a gas station."
    They lived there for eight years, then Southern Mississippi called and convinced Floyd's dad to return. He coached again at the Hattiesburg school from 1962 to 1971.
    As a 16-year-old, Floyd got a summer job with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, who held training camp in Hattiesburg.
    "I worked for $5 a day as a guy washing jocks and socks in the equipment room," he says.
    A year later, his father died. The Saints, who had moved their training camp to Vero Beach, Fla., invited Floyd to come to Florida.
    "They figured I needed something to do," Floyd says. "I spent the next six summers with them."
    Manning was the quarterback. The late Hank Stram was the coach. In Floyd's last two summers with the Saints, he was Stram's administrative assistant.
    "He was Hank's No. 1 gopher," Manning says. "We think he's the only guy who ever saw Hank without his toupee on."
    Floyd played college basketball "I was not a good player at all," he says at Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech. He then turned down Stram's offer to work full time and, in one bold move, set his career in motion.
    He put aside his father's advice to stay out of coaching. Instead, he remembered something else his father once told him.
    "It was in 1966, when I was 12 years old," he says. "I remember lying on the living room floor listening to the NCAA title game between Texas Western and Kentucky. The game wasn't televised in Hattiesburg, but we were listening because my dad was a Texas Western alum.
    "My dad said, 'If you do coach, and you get a chance to coach for Don Haskins, do it, because he's the best coach in the country.' "
    Haskins led Texas Western, which later became Texas-El Paso, and its five black starters to a victory against all-white Kentucky in the game featured in the recent film Glory Road.
    "I wrote Haskins a letter and just quoted what my father said," Floyd says. "I said I'd work for free. So that's what I did. He gave me a chance."
    Floyd worked at UTEP under Haskins for nine years. "It was the greatest thing that happened in my career."
    Following Haskins' lead
    Like Haskins, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 and retired in 1999, Floyd emphasizes defense.
    "He's a great guy," Trojans senior guard Lodrick Stewart says. "But if you don't play defense, you won't be able to play for him."
    Offensively, the Trojans are not overpowering, although they attack with three fearless perimeter shooters Nick Young (17.4 points a game), Stewart (14.0) and Gabe Pruitt (12.6).
    Defensively, the Trojans were the only team in the Pac-10 this year to hold opponents below 40% shooting.
    They got shot full of holes Saturday, however, in getting trounced 81-57 by Oregon in the Pac-10 tournament final.
    Floyd gave the Trojans off Sunday and Monday, then planned to work them hard Tuesday.
    "I don't know anything else to do but come back and work hard," he says. "We'll just get back to where we can guard people. That's what got us here."
    That and heart.

    FLOYD'S NICE PRIZE: O.J. MAYOLOS ANGELES -- Second-year Southern California basketball coach Tim Floyd in November signed what is considered the No. 2 recruiting class in the country.

    The prize catch: 6-5 guard O.J. Mayo of Huntington, W.Va., arguably the top player in the country.

    What ingenious ploy did Floyd employ to attract Mayo?

    He answered the phone.

    And when Mayo asked to come, Floyd said yes.

    Mayo chose USC, Floyd says, because he wants to leave his name on a program instead of being the next big deal at Duke or North Carolina or UCLA; because he likes the marketing opportunities in Los Angeles and because he likes that Floyd coached in the NBA.

    "The kid never wavered, never," Floyd says. "I talked to him four times all year. Four times. He said, 'Coach, you don't need to call me. Don't worry. It's over.' "

    Mayo is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this season he was suspended for three games after tempers flared in a game and he was ejected. He was cited Friday for a misdemeanor possession of marijuana, but that citation was dismissed Monday.

    By David Leon Moore, USA TODAY



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    Re: Class article on Tim Floyd - USA Today

    nice article. tim is a great coach! he really knows how to gets the most out of his teams. really liked the part about oj mayo wanting to leave his own stamp at a non-tradional basketball program.



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    Re: Class article on Tim Floyd - USA Today

    Nice article. Tim was the best defensive coach we ever had. I always hoped we'd find a guy with Johnny Orr's offensive style but Tim Floyd's defensive mind.

    I wish nothing but the best for that guy(except when he plays ISU!)



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    Re: Class article on Tim Floyd - USA Today

    Tim Floyd is a stud.



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