Marv Marinovich, Former USC Football Captain, Dies at 81

Marv Marinovich, who captained Southern California’s national championship football team in 1962, has died.

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Marv Marinovich, who captained Southern California’s national championship football team in 1962 and famously employed his strength and conditioning methods to groom son Todd into becoming quarterback for the Trojans, has died. He was 81.

The university said he died Thursday of natural causes in Mission Viejo.

Marinovich grew up in the Northern California city of Watsonville. He moved south and attended Santa Monica College, where the team went undefeated and won the 1958 national junior-college championship. From there, he transferred to USC.

Marinovich lettered for the Trojans in 1959, 1961 and 1962 as a two-way lineman. The 1962 team went 11-0, including a 42-37 victory over Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl, where Marinovich was ejected for fighting. As a senior that year, he was named the team's most inspirational player and was chosen to play in the Hula Bowl.

After a three-year career with the Raiders, Marinovich was hired by owner Al Davis as one of the NFL's first strength and conditioning coaches. He also worked in similar roles with baseball's St. Louis Cardinals and the World Football League’s Hawaii franchise.

Marinovich later opened his own sports performance, training and research center in Orange County. His philosophy was based on Eastern Bloc training methods that focused on speed and flexibility. Among the professional athletes he trained, in addition to son Todd, were Troy Polamalu, Jason Sehorn, Tyson Chandler and Steve Finley.

Marinovich’s other son, Mikhail, was a defensive end at Syracuse.


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Under his father's tutelage, Todd Marinovich became a high school star. He went on to quarterback the Trojans, leading them to a Pac-10 title and a victory over Michigan in the 1990 Rose Bowl. But he began to rebel against his father's strict methods and after being a first-round NFL draft pick, the younger Marinovich's career was eventually derailed by drug problems and years of arrests.

Besides his sons, Marv Marinovich is survived by his daughter, Traci Marinovich Grove, brother Gary, and several grandchildren.

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