In memoriam: Roy Irvin, MVP on 1954 men’s basketball Final Four team

The 6-foot-5 center still ranks in USC’s top 10 for both rebounds and rebounding average.

May 24, 2019 USC Athletics staff

Roy Irvin, the MVP of the 1954 USC men’s basketball team that finished in fourth place at the NCAA Tournament, died on May 19 in Orange, Calif. He was 86.

Irvin, a 6-foot-5 center, earned All-American third team and All-Pacific Coast Conference first team honors as a junior in 1954 while guiding the Trojans to a 19-14 record and the PCC title in addition to the NCAA Final Four appearance. He led USC in scoring (13.0) and rebounding (7.8) that year; he also made the NCAA All-Tournament team while averaging 18.8 points in 4 games.

After coming to USC from Montebello (Calif.) High and Fullerton (Calif.) Junior College, Irvin was a three-year (1953-55) letterman for the Trojans. He set the USC career records for rebounds (768) and rebounding average (9.1), marks that today rank eighth- and seventh-best, respectively. He was USC’s co-captain as a 1955 senior, topping the team in rebounding (12.4) while averaging 13.2 points. He twice won USC’s Most Improved Player Award (1953-54).

He was a ninth-round pick by the Rochester Royals in the 1954 NBA Draft, but did not play in the pros.

After USC, Irvin worked in the oil industry.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; sons Jeff and Chris; and five grandchildren (Courtney, Ben, Jack, Cole and Dale). His grandson Cole is a pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.