On Sunday morning, the USC baseball program and the University of Southern California unveiled a new statue of all-time great head coach Rod Dedeaux.
Standing with his hat held over his head, the bronze representation of Rod Dedeaux will forever greet Trojan fans upon entering the gates at the campus baseball field named for him.
The famed baseball coach led USC to 11 national championships during his 45-year tenure from 1942 to 1986. He spent nearly 60 years in cardinal and gold, enrolling as a freshman in 1932 while the Olympic Games were being held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
He was the starting shortstop from 1933 to 1935 and was a team captain on the 1935 squad that won USC's first conference championship. Dedeaux made it to the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but a back injury ended his career.
Rod Dedeaux didn't let that kill his baseball dreams, coming back to USC where he became the greatest college baseball in history. Dedeaux amassed more than 1,500 wins in a Trojan uniform, coaching more than 50 future Major Leaguers, including stars such as Tom Seaver, Fred Lynn, Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson.
USC baseball collected 28 titles and 11 championships, including an unprecedented five in a row, under Dedeaux. He was named the Coach of the 20th Century by Baseball America.
Legend has it that he coached for the annual salary of $1 since he was also a successful business man, having founded Dart Transportation in the 1930s. Dedeaux was also an ambassador for the sport of baseball, helping to get the sport sanctioned as an Olympic event in 1992. In 2000, he watched good friend Tommy Lasorda lead the US national team to its only gold medal.
Lasorda, son Justin Dedeaux, Athletic Director Pat Haden, USC president Max Nikias, current USC head coach Dan Hubbs and Major League Baseball great Randy Johnson, who contributed to the cost of the statue, each spoke in the nearly hour-long ceremony.