It may have cost a cool $70 million, but the Trojans may have done it, changing the landscape of recruiting.
No detail was spared in the making of their new athletic facility, the John McKay Center, dedicated to the late Trojan football coach.
And no words were minced either.
“Through this portal enters the world’s greatest athletes,” are the words passed under when walking through the doors of the building.
It’s a bold statement, but the Trojans believe their history backs it up.
The building is lined with plaques of historic Trojan greats, photographs of current student-athletes, and who could forget the plentiful amount of trophies.
If seeing the history lining the walls isn’t convincing enough, words and quotations are written on seemingly every other wall, reminding USC student-athletes and visitors just who the Trojans are, what they do, what they’ve accomplished, and even where they are going.
“We Own L.A.” reads the top of the football team’s meeting room. “We Own the Rose Bowl,” is in bold life-size font in the team’s lounge, backed by the fact the Trojans have the most Rose Bowl wins in the history of college football.
Though current student-athletes enjoy the amenities of the McKay Center, including an indoor practice field and multiple computer labs with the latest technology, the facility is very much targeted toward recruits.
Walking into the building, you’re greeted by a larger than life video screen, 33-by-15 feet to be exact.
Walk downstairs and there is another large video screen, displaying current Trojan uniforms.
Want to know what you will wear as a USC football player or volleyball player? Just pick the team and watch the virtual display dress itself for home and away games.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin is already seeing the effects of the new building when taking prospective athletes on tours, “We've already seen the impact of it,” he said.
“Before it was built, the videos of what it was going to be like, which would tell the story of how it is today.”
Kiffin says the building provides a peace of mind to out-of-state families, especially mothers, who can see where their children will be spending most of their time at USC.
“When you walk through and you feel that your own child is going to be in there, especially from an academic standpoint,” Kiffin explained, “everything's there.”
Everything, including two classrooms, multiple computer labs, a training room with the latest equipment, the weight room, a study lounge, and the all-important players lounge to take naps in between classes and practice.
“I think (players) love the players' lounge,” Kiffin said. “It gives them the time - it's not as much because of the stuff in there, videogames and stuff, it's just not having to trek back (to home).”
It’s much improved from the old facility the football team used to call home, Heritage Hall, where Kiffin says he often saw athletes curling up to any corner for a nap, trying to avoid spending their time walking between their dorms and the facility.
“There was nowhere to go,” he said in terms of what athletes could do to spend the time between practice and class. “Literally our players, you'd see them laying on the floor of Heritage Hall when they'd have an hour, or down in the locker rooms, laying on the floor.”
Naps on the floor will now be a thing of the past, there are even new plush recliners in the lounge embroidered with “SC”.
“It's a huge advantage,” Kiffin said of the new McKay Center and the benefits it provides to recruiting. “Not only did we catch up, because we were way behind our conference and (the) country, I think we not only caught up but we probably passed everybody."
Even if the building didn’t pass everybody, the message certainly is clear to anyone who passes through those doors, the Trojans at least own L.A.