Leaving the Novas, though, was not such a heart-wrenching decision, Salo said, simply because USC was calling. He already had Trojan ties.
"Having been a graduate of USC (doctorate in exercise physiology in 1991) and serving as an assistant coach for the men's team from 1984-90, it was not as difficult," Salo said. "What made the prospect of taking over USC was the strong support from the USC administration and alums, as well as the support from Novaquatics. I still work with Novas off the deck and meet with the coaches every week."
Salo also coached in Costa Mesa at Orange Coast College from 2000-04, more or less as a favor to a friend, and wound up leading OCC to the California state title in 2003, with Salo being chosen as the state's co-coach of the year. The same year, he became the founding Director of Aquatics at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.