USC Hires Former QB Pat Haden as Athletic Director, Replacing Mike Garrett

The University of Southern California will make former Trojan quarterback and Rhodes Scholar Pat Haden its next athletic director, replacing Mike Garrett, the university said on its website.

Haden, 57, who went on to play quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, is a partner at the private investment firm of Riordan, Lewis & Haden and is a Notre Dame football analyst for General Electric Co.’s NBC network.

“As a new administration prepares to take office on Aug. 3, 2010, the opportunity has arisen to bring new leadership to the athletic department,” president-elect Max Nikias said in a letter posted today on the athletic department’s website. “USC, which experiences both the opportunities and challenges involved with a high-profile athletics program at a global hub, will seek to excel in the coming years in a manner that is consistent with the highest values of the academy.”

Garrett, 66, a former Heisman Trophy winner at running back for the Trojans, was USC athletic director for the past 17 years. The school last month was given four years probation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for having a lack of institutional control over its sports programs.

The NCAA stripped the school of football victories including its 2004 season national championship, barred the school from bowl games for two years and took away 30 scholarships for violations uncovered in a four-year investigation into USC’s football and men’s basketball programs.

The violations primarily involved agent and amateurism issues surrounding former USC football player Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo. USC is appealing some of the penalties.

Board of Trustees

Haden has been a member of the USC board of trustees for 19 years and was the head of the board’s academic affairs committee. He was offered the job by Nikias, who will replace the retiring Steven Sample.

Haden told the Los Angeles Times that one of his first moves will be to create the position of associate athletic director for football, which will serve as a liaison to coach Lane Kiffin.

He told the Times he would like to hire J.K. McKay, a Los Angeles-based attorney, the son of former USC coach John McKay and a former Trojan teammate of Haden’s, to fill the position.

Integrity and Talent

“It is absolutely unsurprising and typical that Pat would want to be there for his beloved alma mater in a time of need,” NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol said in a statement. “His integrity, his talent and his engaging manner are just what the Trojans need.”

Nikias, who has hired David M. Roberts, a managing partner of Roberts, Raspe & Blanton LL, as vice president for athletic compliance, said the school will remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of Mayo and Bush by mid-August and that it will return Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

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