Sigma Chi brother John Colich went from throwing shot put to building the Trojan's incredible new track and field building
NEW: Hear the Colich track & field podcast here
When Alpha Upsilon undergrad John Colich threw his shot put 58 feet 8.75 inches for third place helping USC beat UCLA in a dual meet in 1971, he never could have imagined that more than 50 years later he’d be cutting the ribbon to the John and Janine Colich Track and Field Center on the USC campus.
There was a lot of hugging afterward.
“I was just completely relieved that it got done!” said brother Colich after he cut the ribbon to open the $16 million facility September 10, 2021, “That I’m leaving something that I can be proud of.”
Colich was an undergrad Sig from 1967 to 1971 and threw shot put as well as discus. Coach Verne Wolfe gave him half a scholarship.
"I didn't deserve it," Colich told the USC Heritage Association. "I wasn't that good. But he gave it to me anyway. So that's one of the reasons why I want to give back to the school." During opening ceremonies USC President Carol Folt said. “It’s a program with heart,” according to USC Annenberg Media. “And that’s what you’re going to see, with a generous family, with equally huge hearts who make it happen.”
In fact, John’s family has long ties to Trojan track and field. His father built USC’s original weight room in the basement of the physical education building in 1966.
He recalls being in the old, outdated track and field facility where the showers were so bad that some of the athletes preferred to go home to shower after workouts. That was the moment he decided to pursue a new track and field facility.
This is the latest building on the USC campus named after Sigma Chis, including the Fred V. Keenan MBA Career Resource Center, the General William Lyon University Center and the Rufus B. von KleinSmid Center for International and Public Affairs (recently mired in controversy).
John still stays in touch with fellow AU brothers Jim York (1969), Ken Cosgrove (1968) and Michael Budincich (1976) who John taught to throw the shot. “It’s nice making friendships from 50 years ago whose company you still enjoy.”
Colich took a pipeline company founded by his grandfather and expanded by his father to a sweeping new level during his career. Colich and Sons has now become a General Engineering Contractor specializing in underground wet utility construction, pipeline rehabilitation, pump stations, plant work, emergency repair work, shoring, bypass systems and heavy equipment.
John and Janine have become extraordinary philanthropists. The USC track and field house, for which he says he donated the lead gift and then led the capital campaign, is the latest. It’s among the finest in America and features a deck overlooking the track where John has offered the Trojan Sig Foundation a venue for an event. Stay tuned for more on that.
It’s nice knowing the guy whose name is on the building.
Alpha Upsilon gave
50 years ago
you still enjoy."
TOP: The Colich Track and Field Center which opened in September 2021. MIDDLE: Alpha Upsilon Sig John Colich. BOTTOM: Ribbon cutting for Janine (in black) and John Colich. In red, USC President Carol Folt.
WATCH: Time lapse video of construction of the Colich Track and Field Center