My USC Football Story: Anthony Daye
I had an idea while writing an article on Stanford for USC247. Wouldn’t it be cool to catch up with Trojan football alumni and see what they’ve done in life in since leaving Troy. It sounded interesting to me, I figured it be interesting to you. So many Trojan football alums have great success stories to tell. It wasn’t until I recorded my first conversation with Trojan football alum Anthony Daye, that I realized how little I knew about his background, and I spent 5 years playing with him. My idea evolved into what I’m going to call “My USC Football Story”. An all-encompassing look at my fellow Trojan football alumni. Every week Ill interview a former Trojan football player and tell you his USC story. This week I bring you My USC Football Story: Anthony Daye.
Anthony Daye #54 played at USC for 1998-2003 as a defensive linemen, and linebacker, recruited out of small division Laguna Beach HS. He wasn’t your typical Orange County football recruit. Anthony was born in North Carolina, and moved numerous times during his youth following his father’s high-powered executive job placements. It was while living in Chicago during middle school that Anthony realized football may be his ticket to college. Anthony said, “Sometime in middle school I realized that not only was I bigger than everyone else, I was also faster”. I call this a football epiphany, every college player I ever talked to has had one, a moment where you realize you have something others do not. Anthony and his family eventually settled in Laguna Beach for his high school years. While a Laguna Beach, Anthony became a star fullback and linebacker. Winning All CIF, All Orange County, and All American honors during his Junior and Senior seasons. In 1997, he led his team to a CIF Division 8 title. Eventually John Robinson came knocking and offered Anthony a scholarship to USC. Anthony said what sold him on USC was how wanted Charles White and John Robinson made him feel. Often times arguing over which side of the ball he would play on. Anthony committed to USC very early in the process, mostly because he feared John Robinson would pull his scholarship if he waited. He was also recruited by Stanford, ASU, and a host of other Academy and Ivy League schools on the account of his excellent grades, but didn’t take any other trips after committing to USC. Anthony arrive at USC in 1998, just months after Paul Hackett was hired. During his time at USC, Anthony bounced back and forth between linebacker, defensive end and even dabbled at fullback for a little while. He played five season for the Trojans, for both Paul Hackett, who in his words “should have never been a college coach” (a sentiment I share having played during that same period) and Pete Carroll who he described as “a man who knew how to get that extra 10 percent out of all his players”. He had many position coaches, the most impactful being defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who he credits with “teaching me toughness and how to take on adversity like a man”. His greatest Trojan memories were meeting his wife (a former USC soccer player), his days living on Menlo Ave with his teammates and having cookouts on Thursday nights. His fondest football memory was helping turn Trojan football program around in 2002, with an Orange Bowl victory over Iowa. Anthony had some great insight on the impact of this victory on Trojan football, “People forget how bad we were during the 4 year stretch between 1998 and 2001. We’d only been to 2 bowls games, and lost them both. In 2000, we had one of the worst season in USC history. Petros talks about it on the radio all the time. It wasn’t easy for us during those year. We struggled, it reminded me of the story in the Bible where God banishes the Israelites to the desert for 40 years. They struggled, but the ones who made it out were strong. We spent a 4 years getting beat up on and ragged on, we didn’t even want to show our faces on campus, but those of us who stuck it out became strong as steel. Those were the players who led the turnaround in 2002. That win sparked a historic run for USC. Everything turned around after that especially recruiting. It was nice to feel like we were the ones who ignited that and spared the younger guys the difficult experience we had”.
From a Trojan legacy standpoint Anthony’s strength in the weight room remains the stuff of legend. He’s best known for holding the USC record in the bench press. Lifting 550 pound as a senior (a feat I witness myself). Following his tenure at USC Anthony hung up his football cleats for good, opting to direct all his energy into intellectual pursuits. After completing his political science / psychology degree, he spent a year working in a law office and studying for his LSAT. Anthony finished his Law Degree at University of San Francisco. Following the passage of his bar exam in 2007, he worked for several law firms before moving back to Orange County and starting his own practice The DAYE Firm, focusing on employment law. Anthony is married to his college sweetheart and together they have two handsome sons. Anthony gives back to the University as a member of the USC athlete-mentoring program and is a two-time president of the USC Football Alumni Association. As a personal aside, I would like to say a few thing about Anthony as a person. We played at USC at the same time and much of his experience reflects my own. He was my roommate and the first friend I made at the school, and one of the best people I know. He embodies everything that is good about USC. He turned his struggle as a football player into opportunity that has propelled him forward into so much success. He has given back to the legendary USC network and it has given back to him.