USC Spirit Leaders

USC Student Affairs



The USC Spirit Leaders are an integral part of school spirit at all Trojan athletic events. The Spirit Leaders are a co-ed squad responsible for leading stadium-wide chants and increasing crowd participation at Trojan football, basketball, volleyball, water polo, soccer, lacrosse and baseball games. The Spirit Leaders have been part of both a Rose Bowl victory and a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in basketball. The USC Spirit Leaders have been featured on ESPN College Gameday, Hell’s Kitchen and the Jeopardy! College Championships.

The USC Spirit Leaders have also provided Trojan spirit at the Rose Parade, Disneyland, Dave and Buster’s, Universal Studios, all On-Campus Rallies, RecFest and Swim with Mike. In fact, at the annual Swim with Mike event, the Spirit Leaders swim over 1,500 laps to raise money for physically challenged athletes.

The USC Spirit Leaders are also sent to every away football game in order to maintain a Trojan atmosphere while playing in hostile environments. Working in proud partnership with the Trojan Marching Band and the USC Song Girls, the USC Spirit Leaders help to create a winning atmosphere for all Trojan athletes.


How it all started: Lindley Bothwell and the USC Yell Leaders

Lindley Bothwell started the USC Yell Leading Squad in 1919 in his first year as a student at USC. He felt that together, with a few friends, he could aid in “firing up” the crowd during football games.

The squad created all of their own cheers, including the “Floating T,” which quickly became a favorite. When it was called, the crowd would pick up the balloon assigned to their chair, either cardinal or gold, and release it when told. The effect was at first a giant golden ‘T’ rising into the air, shortly followed by the cardinal field with a hollow ‘T’ in the middle.

Lindley also created card stunts that spelled out T-R-O-J-A-N-S. The card stunts quickly caught on at other schools but Lindley Bothwell owns the title of the very first one. USC holds the record for the largest stunt ever created: during Homecoming in 1978, USC placed a record in the Guinness Book of World Records by performing a card stunt involving more than 8,000 students.

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