Personal Best: Capurro fills a vital role for USC football

Matt Capurro of Southern Cal won’t be designing plays or taking snaps on Saturday at the Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park, but he may be calling some audibles.

As director of football operations, Capurro plays an important behind-the-scenes-role for the Trojans.

“It’s not an Xs and Os type of job,” the San Francisco native said.

The 28-year-old Capurro has been involved with football operations since the age of 17.

While adorned in the attire of his beloved Silver and Black at a family reunion, Capurro caught the eye of a cousin, attorney Joseph Alioto Jr., whose client was the Raiders.

Alioto arranged a meeting with Raiders management for the young Capurro, who was at the time a St. Vincent High School football letterman in Petaluma.

Capurro went on to work each summer for the next five years as a minimally paid Raiders intern, enthusiastically handling any unglamorous task that was asked of him.

After graduating in 2003 from USF with a degree in marketing, Capurro secured a full-time spot with the Raiders as a coach’s assistant. After only a year on the job, assigned to assisting Raiders owner Al Davis, Capurro was offered the director of football operations position at the tender age of 23.

He remained with the Raiders in that capacity for the next five years.

“Mr. Davis is such a historical figure,” Capurro said. “His passion for the game and for winning is something that I’ll never forget.” 

This season, Capurro moved on to work for another iconic figure in the football world at USC.

“Coach [Pete] Carroll is really an incredible person. His philosophy is to maximize your ability whether on or off the football field,” Capurro said. “Just to observe him, see how he goes about his days and how he competes, and I have to do the same thing.”

In a recent advance trip for the team’s Emerald Bowl contest versus Boston College, Capurro visited the Trojans’ practice site at City College of San Francisco while organizing the team’s hotel, catering and event schedule.

On campus, he works closely with the school’s student-athlete academic services staff.

“USC is very demanding on our guys academically, and that’s very important to coach Carroll,” Capurro said. “They are going to get a first-rate education and a first-class football team.”

Capurro has plans to enjoy a holiday meal this week at Alioto’s, his cousin’s restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, or Capurro’s, his uncle’s place on Jefferson & Hyde, but his first priority is to juggle the myriad details surrounding his team’s bowl week.

“I feel like if I do a poor job, the team suffers.” Capurro said. “If something doesn’t go right, it will have a negative impact on the team, and I won’t let that happen.”

Emerald Bowl

Boston College (8-4) vs. USC (8-4)

WHEN: Saturday, 5 p.m.
WHERE: AT&T Park
TV:

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