Pat Haden -- former USC quarterback and Rhodes Scholar — will take over as the school’s athletic director next month in the wake of NCAA sanctions of the school’s football program.
Mike Garrett, the current AD, will step aside and take the school’s retirement package. Which the polite way of saying he was forced out after the scandal and sanctions to the football program — including a two-year ban from bowls and a loss of scholarships — happened on his watch.
Incoming USC President C.L. Max Nikias made it official Tuesday with a statement.
"I am very pleased to announce that Patrick C. Haden has accepted my offer to become USC's next athletic director, effective August 3. In order to assume his new responsibilities, Mr. Haden has resigned from his post as a member of the USC Board of Trustees, which he joined in 1991, and he will report directly to me."
"This is not something I thought about doing, nor something even on my radar," Haden said. "But I began to see it as a challenge, as something new. And when my wife agreed — and she really doesn't follow sports closely — I took a closer look."
Garrett had the weight of the Reggie Bush violations and the NCAA investigation on him, plus he was losing his biggest supporter in the administration. USC President Steve Sample is leaving in August, and Garrett was not going to survive in the job without Sample there.
Also revealed in the AD announcement Tuesday was the university's latest effort to distance itself from those scandals.
In the letter announcing the Haden hire, Nikias wrote that he wanted all tributes to Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo -- who also figured prominently in the NCAA investigation -- removed from sports facilities at the campus.
Haden Has Long History With USC
Haden is virtually unassailable, with a fantastic USC resume. Maybe the perfect hire (and a man rumored to have turned away questions about his interest in the job in the past). He provides a fresh start for the university.
The 57-year-old current partner in the private investment firm of Riordan, Lewis & Haden is a former star quarterback at USC, where he was twice academic All-American. He was USC's starting quarterback in the John McKay years of 1972-74.
Haden was also a magna cum laude and phi beta kappa graduate, as well as a Rhodes Scholar. He spent parts of 1975-78 -- while a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL -- as a student at Oxford. He started at quarterback for the Rams much of the 1976-81 season (At right, he's pictured in 1986).
For the past decade Haden has been the color analyst for Notre Dame football on NBC, but he will have to give that job up.