Chris Limahelu

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Chris Limahelu
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1950-10-06)October 6, 1950
Died April 7, 2010(2010-04-07) (aged 59)
Los Angeles, California
Residence West Covina, California
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) (1972-1975)
Weight 135 lb (61 kg) (1972-1975)
Sport American football
Event(s) Place kicker
College team USC Trojans
Citrus College Fighting Owls
Coached by John McKay
Retired 1975

Chris Limahelu (October 16, 1950 – April 7, 2010) was place kicker for the USC Trojans football team during the 1973 and 1974 seasons when John McKay was the head coach.[1]

Only 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) and 135 pounds (61 kg) during his playing career, he is remembered for setting new team records. His 47-yard field goal at the 1974 Rose Bowl game was the longest ever by a Trojan, breaking a 64-year-old Trojan record,[2][3] and it became the second longest field goal in Rose Bowl history.[4][5][6][7]

By the end of his career in 1975, Limahelu had kicked three of the five longest field goals in USC football history,[3] a record which stood until Steve Jordan's 52-yard kicks, one in 1982 and another in 1983, and Don Shafer's 60-yard kick in 1985.[3]

Early years[edit]

Limahelu was born in Indonesia. His family moved to the Netherlands when he was an infant, and by the time he was ten years old, he had learned to play soccer and had begun developing his kicking technique. His family then moved to the United States, where he attended South Hills High School in West Covina, California, joining their football, tennis and wrestling teams.[2] After high school he attended Citrus College in Glendora, California before transferring to the University of Southern California (USC)[8] where he majored in sociology.[9]

Football career[edit]


After transferring from Citrus College, Limahelu joined the USC football program and served on USC's junior varsity team in 1972 as a sophomore.[8] It was then that his soccer-style place kicking first caught the eye of the media.[10]


As a junior in the 1973 season, Limahelu set two Trojan records: he was successful in 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, six more than any previous Trojan kicker in a season,[1] and in the 1974 Rose Bowl against Ohio State, he kicked both a 42-yard and a 47-yard field goal. Both of these were his longest kicks to date,[11][12] and the 47-yard field goal became, at that time, the longest field goal ever by a Trojan place kicker, breaking a 64-year-old record.[2][3][7] He was also successful in completing 31 of 34 point-after-touchdown conversions overall.[7] During the 1974 season, in a game against the Stanford University Cardinals, where USC was trailing 23-10 after 3 periods,[13] Limahelu kicked a 34-yard field goal during the game's last 3 seconds, allowing USC to achieve a 27-26 victory, and keeping alive the USC bid for a place in the 1975 Rose Bowl berth.[8][14]


As a senior, with his successful completion of 10 out of 17 field goal attempts and his successful 39 out of 43 point-after-touchdown conversions, Limahelu earned All-Pac-8 first team honors when the Trojans won the national title.[7] In a game against the UCLA Bruins in late November, 1974, Limahelu's 30-yard field goal capped USC's second drive of the game.[15] Later in the same game, he kicked a 50-yard field goal, which then became his personal best by breaking his own distance record from the previous year.[3][7]

In the 1975 Rose Bowl game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Limahelu kicked a 30-yard field goal, allowing USC to be the first to score in that game,[16] however Ohio was leading 7-3 at halftime.[17] At the end of the first half, Limahelu had kicked a 39-yard field goal, but an offsides penalty against Ohio gave USC an opportunity they accepted for a first down at the Buckeye's 16-yard-line.[17] Ohio failed to score, and a 24-yard field goal attempt by Limahelu went wide.[17] However, in the second half, he succeeded with a conversion kick that assured USC's 18-17 win over.[8]

Up to that time, Limahelu had kicked three of the five longest field goals in USC football history.[3] That record stood until Steve Jordan's two 52-yarders, one against Stanford in 1982 and a repeat 52-yarder against Washington State University Cougars in 1983, and the Don Shafer 60-yard field goal against the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 1985.[3]

Later years[edit]

Limahelu became an accountant after his playing years, and had been a member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses since 1995.[7][8] Sean Limahelu, Chris Limahelu's nephew and godson, was a walk-on punter on USC's 2005 football team.[8]


Limahelu died April 7, 2010, in Los Angeles after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 59 years old.[7][8] He is survived by his mother, Juliana; his brothers, Al, Robert, Frank, Henry, Rocky and Patrick; and his sister, Juliette.[8]


  1. ^ a b staff (April 7, 2010). "Afterward: Former USC kicker Chris Limahelu dies at 59". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c times staff (April 7, 2010). "PASSINGS: Chris Limahelu, Jim Pagliaroni". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Wolf, Scott (April 8, 1010). "Inside USC: Kicking history". Daily News. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Kaelin, Eric (2004). Buckeye Glory Days: The Most Memorable Games of Ohio State Football (illustrated ed.). Sports Publishing LLC. p. 81. ISBN 1-58261-681-7. 
  5. ^ Bob Boyles, Paul Guido (2009). USA Today College Football Encyclopedia. Skyhorse Publishing Inc.,. pp. 301, 313, 315, 1245. ISBN 1-60239-677-9. 
  6. ^ Bob Boyles, Paul Guido (2007). 50 Years of College Football: A Modern History of America's Most Colorful Sport. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 299, 310, 312, 1169. ISBN 1-60239-090-8. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Dulberg, Dave (April 8, 2010). "Former Trojan Limahelu dies at 59". Daily Trojan. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Trojan Football (April 7, 2010). "USC Record-setting Kicker Chris Limahelu Dies". USC Trojans. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Newhan, Ross (November 11, 1973). "Haden: It Was Some Kind of Tough". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Shirley, Billf (September 10, 1972). "Trojans Upset Razorbacks by 31-10 Margin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (January 2, 1974). "Ohio State Rips Trojans". Herald Journal. Google News Archive. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Pasadena Tournamant of Roses History, 1970-1979, 1974 - Ohio State 42 USC 21". Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Times Wire Services (November 12, 1973). "Ohio State's Best, Says Beaten Coach .". St. Petersburg Times. Google News Archive. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Migdol, Gary (1997). Stanford: Home of Champions (illustrated ed.). Sports Publishing LLC. p. 160. ISBN 1-57167-116-1. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (November 24, 1974). "Southern Cal Is Smelling Roses Too". Lakeland Ledger. Google News Archive. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Mervin D. Hyman, Gordon S. White (1977). Big ten football, its life and times, great coaches, players, and games. Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-558070-1. 
  17. ^ a b c "Trojans surprise Buckeyes 18-17". Anchorage Daily News. Google News Archive. January 2, 1975. p. 4. Retrieved 22 June 2010.