The USC Trojan Family lost one of its all-time greats earlier this summer.
Former USC All-American running back and football legend Frank Gifford passed away of natural causes Aug. 9 at the age of 84.
Gifford lined up primarily in the Trojan backfield from 1949 to 1951, earning All-American and All-Conference honors in his final season, before being selected in the first round of the 1952 NFL draft by the New York Giants. Gifford led the team in scoring, rushing and total offense in his last year with the Trojans.
“He was the ultimate three-way player,” Sarkisian said. “We lost a great Trojan.”
Current USC quarterback Cody Kessler is connected to Gifford. Both came to USC from the town of of Bakersfield, and Kessler roomed with Gifford’s son, Cody, a former USC walk-on receiver, during his freshman year.
“RIP to Trojan great and Bakersfield football legend, Frank Gifford. You have always been an inspiration to me in my football career,” Kessler tweeted.
In 12 years with the Giants, Gifford garnered eight Pro Bowl selections, one NFL championship ring and one NFL MVP award.
The Santa Monica native later transitioned into the broadcast booth and became a marquee voice of football, serving as a commentator on “Monday Night Football” for over 25 years.
Gifford’s legacy in football is cemented at every level. Gifford made his way into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. The former Trojan was chosen for the first USC Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1994, and had his jersey retired by the New York Giants in 2000.
Gifford is survived by his wife Kathie Lee; his five children, Cassidy, Cody, Jeff, Kyle and Victoria; and his five grandchildren.