LA5 Rotary Hosts UCLA-USC Pre-Football Game Luncheon

From l, Coach John Robinson, Tommy Hawkins, and Coach Terry Donahue.

From l, Coach John Robinson, Tommy Hawkins, and Coach Terry Donahue.

On Tuesday, Nov. 26, LA5 Rotary, the fifth-oldest Rotary Club in the world, hosted a sold-out crowd of over 400 Rotarians and their guests at the LA Live Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, preparatory to the UCLA-USC football game on Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Highlighted by a bravura 20-minute performance by the USC Song Girls and band, after lunch former UCLA coach Terry Donahue and former USC coach John Robinson answered questions posed by moderator Tommy Hawkins that were sometimes serious but which at times drew answers that had the crowd in stitches laughing. The schools alternate each year providing band and song-girl support. This year it was USC’s turn, although four UCLA Song Girls appeared along with Joe and Josephine Bruin.

Former players in the audience were introduced and each contributed a remembrance and told what the game meant to them.

At 65+ years, this event is one of the longest-running traditions of LA5. Coaches Donahue and Robinson have been the keynote speakers at this event a record 21 times, but this was the first time for each since retiring as head coach of their respective schools.

LA5 President Ken Chong, a UCLA alumnus who has been the chair of the event for 9 years, said, “To both chair the event and be the President while having a rivalry between 2014-15 LA5 President-Elect Alan Bernstein, an SC alumnus, has been fun.” He added, “It was a wonderful opportunity to hear both coaches tell stories of their incredible careers and see the obvious respect and friendship they have towards one another.”

Prizes like signed helmets and other souvenirs were auctioned off, the proceeds going to LA5’s endowment fund, and Chong presented $5,000 checks to each school’s Athletic Department.