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Top Dogs

On November 7, 1983 Zeta Beta hosted an All-Greek dinner featuring USC president James H. Zumberge. The meeting was designed to help leaders of the Greek community better understand university affairs under the tutelage of the university president.  

During that same year ATO teamed with the Delta Gamma sorority to win the Songfest Sweepstakes award. It won the Sweepstakes award again in 1989 when it teamed with the Delta Delta Delta sorority. The success in the ‘80’s mirrored the success enjoyed by the chapter since its founding in the 1950’s.

In 1984 ATO won the coveted Iron Man Trophy, awarded each year for athletic excellence. In doing so, it became the only fraternity at USC ever to win all three awards that make up the “Triple Crown.” They include the Iron Man Trophy, Songfest Sweepstakes Award and President’s Award for Fraternity Excellence.  The ATO’s achieved this feat within a two-year period!

In the 1980's, ATO established itself as an athletic powerhouse . Led by Athletic Chair Paul Desantis, Iron Man Superstar Davor Fabulich and QB/ Tennis Champ Ron Chavers, the Taus were runner-up for the coveted Iron Man Trophy in 80'-81'.

Craig "The Assasin" Combs took over as athletic chairman in 1981-82 with the mantra "Iron Man Fever". Despite strong showings in every major sport, ATO placed third that year but Combs' legacy would endure as the Taus had caught the "Iron Man Fever".

In 1982-83, Rick McGeagh took over as Athletic Chairman. Now a house of over 100 members, ATO ranked at the top of every sport and had a huge following of Bros and Lil Sister's at every event. Britt " Luke Skywalker" Rogers was the athlete of that year leading the Taus to the finals in football, basketball, soccer and track. It came down to the final weekend, but the inspired effort fell just short in a runner-up performance for the trophy.

In 1983-84, the stage was set for a breakout performance and the larger chapter had the horses to do some damage on The Row. Troy Linger took over as Athletic Chairman and fueled the fever with the theme from "Rocky" before every major event. A championship in football in the Fall led by QB Jon Appleton ignited the campaign. Ty Miller and Mike Heller brought home the points in every racquet sport. Steve "Tarzan " Klassen brought home another Superstar award. Dan Finnegan led the volleyball team to the championship. Howard Doherty and Kurt James led the Taus to the finals in basketball. Once again it came down to the final weekend with the ATO's and arch rival Kappa Sigs battling for the cup. ATO rose to the occasion and swept championships in Track and Field and Softball to finally bring home the Iron Man Trophy.

By the end of the decade, Kurt James, John Gilchrist and others had led ATO to five more Iron Man Championships in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991. This Iron Man dynasty put ATO on the map as one of USC's top fraternities.

During the 1980’s the chapter was not only the perennial  “Iron Man” award winner, but also a house full of terrific athletes. Several varsity athletes were active in Zeta Beta, including several members of the baseball and golf teams. 

Alpha Tau Omega at USC