By Aaron Lyons
Athletic Director Terry Barnum knew he wanted to play football at the University of Southern California when he was 6 years old and he and his dad watched the Trojans take on Ohio State at the Rose Bowl.
“I remember just falling in love with the school at that moment and wanting to be a part of it,” he said.
So when Barnum received a scholarship to play at USC, it was obvious to him that he was going to accept it.
Barnum was a standout athlete at Alemany High School, where he played football, and ran track. Barnum thinks that had he not run track, he probably wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship offer to USC.
“The two sports really go hand-in-hand,” Barnum said. “Being fast helps you in football.”
Barnum was recruited to USC as a running back but was switched to a more defensive role by then-head coach Larry Smith. However, after the switch, Barnum was not getting a lot of playing time.
There was a coaching change, and Barnum asked the new coach, John Robinson, if he could switch back to the running back position.
“I decided if I were to not play, I wanted to not play where I was best,” Barnum said. “I thought I was more of an offensive player by nature.”
Barnum was voted team captain during his senior year. He believed it was because people saw him as a leader who could unify all of the players on the team.
In the 1996 Rose Bowl against Northwestern University, Barnum caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter to give the team the momentum it needed to win the game 41-32. It is Barnum’s best memory throughout his football career, he said.
Barnum wanted to play football professionally but was not drafted. He just was not big enough or fast enough, Barnum said. Instead, he continued on to graduate school.
He now attends USC games when he can, but it is difficult because of all the Harvard-Westlake sports that go on during the week.
However, he tries to make it to at least one game a year and talks about football with his son.
Brian Flacks ’06 now leads both the boys’ and girls’ water polo programs this year as the new water polo head coach.
The athletic department conducted an extensive search last year and brought in people from around the world in hopes of finding a qualified coach.
In 2004 and 2006, Flacks assisted the Wolverines as a player to two CIF Division I quarterfinals and one CIF Division I semifinal. After high school, he played at University of California, Los Angeles.
There, he red-shirted his freshman year then returned and played in seven games. He scored his only collegiate goal in an 18-3 win over Occidental in the Inland Empire Classic.
Flacks then went on to coach for the Los Angeles Water Polo Club for the past six years and was the graduate assistant for the Loyola Marymount University boys’ team for two years.