For a USC baseball team presently ranked last in the Pac-10, it's not incredibly likely that the Trojans will be receiving a plethora of awards and honors anytime soon. But Thursday brought a welcomed change to a Trojan program that presently holds an NCAA record 12 national championships, as legendary coach Rod Dedeaux was one of three coaches named to the official College World Series Legends Team earlier this afternoon. From the official team site:
The 28 members of the Legends Team, pared down from an original list of 95 nominees, were selected after more than 100,000 votes were cast by college baseball fans, college baseball writers and Division I head baseball coaches. The members of the Legends Team are former student-athletes and coaches who had the best CWS performances throughout the 60 years the event has been played at Rosenblatt Stadium Voting for the team was based solely on the former student-athletes' performance when they were competing in the NCAA College World Series, and not for any regular season or post-collegiate performances.
The 28 CWS Legends Team members will be invited to attend the final College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium as guests of the NCAA. The members will be formally honored on-field during the CWS Opening Ceremonies on June 18, and invited to attend the first day of CWS competition on June 19. Mock baseball cards of each member featuring their collegiate photos will be posted on NCAA.com/cws.
It's certainly not a surprise that Dedeaux was selected. After all, many consider the former manager the greatest coach in the history of college baseball. Even from a neutral perspective, it's had to refute the success he had after 45 years at the helm of the 'SC program. During nearly half a century with the Trojans, Dedeaux orchestrated 10 national title runs while compiling a .699 winning percentage.
When he passed away in 2006, his successor Mike Gillespie, who is now the coach at UC Irvine, had this to say about Dedeaux, "Rod not only was college baseball's greatest coach, he was the sport's and USC's greatest ambassador."
That sounds just about right. The recent struggles under Kreuter have made it easy to forget that for the better part of the 20th century, USC was the premier program in all of college baseball. All things considered, it's a shame it isn't at that once high-level and is competing with the likes of Washington State to simply earn a postseason berth.
But nonetheless, Congratulations to the Dedeaux Family!