For a team with offensive stars like Anthony Davis, Pat Haden and J.K. McKay, the 1974 USC football team was not the ideal place for placekicker Chris Limahelu to stand out in a crowd.
But stand out was exactly what the 5’5”, 135 pound kicker did.
In two seasons as a starter for the Trojans, from 1973-1974, the Indonesia-native kicked himself into the school’s history books.
In 1973, Limahelu went 14-of-18 on field goal tries, and while this percentage today would likely not earn a kicker high praise, his 14 successful attempts were six more than any kicker at the university had ever made.
At a time when football was a much more touchdown-oriented game, Limahelu’s unheralded achievements changed the way team’s approached facing the cardinal and gold. In addition to his record-setting 14 kicks, Limahelu also nailed a game-winning kick to beat Stanford, and a USC-record 47-yard strike in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.
A year later, Limahelu continued cementing his legacy at USC with an extraordinary 50-yard kick against rival UCLA. For his efforts on the little-appreciated special teams side of the No.1 Trojans in 1974, Limahelu received all Pac-8 honors (went 10-of-17 on field goals and 39-of-43 on PATs).
While his career ended in 1975 with a higher level of fanfare than it began with, Limahelu went on to become an accountant in Pasadena where he also volunteered for the Tournament of Roses the past 15 years.
On Wednesday, after a long battle with prostate cancer, the former USC great passed away at the age of 59.
Although today’s generation of Trojan’ fans are more familiar with names like Mario Danilo, David Buehler and Jordon Congdon, it was the remarkable foot of Limahelu that captivated the USC faithful during the glory days of the 1970s.
The university announced that a private funeral service will be held for friends and family, as well as an additional public memorial for fans who want to pay tribute to one of the program’s most remarkable success stories.