USC is replacing Pat Haden, a man with no prior experience running a college athletics department and wouldn’t have been hired if he’d chosen another school when he was 17-years-old with Lynn Swan… a man with no prior experience running a college athletics department and wouldn’t have been hired if he’d chosen another school when he was 17-years-old.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) April 13, 2016
“To his new role, Lynn Swann will bring the heart and soul of a Trojan,” USC president L. Max Nikias said in a statement. “He shares our profound dedication to combining academic excellence with athletic excellence.”
This, simply put, is the most USC hire USC could have possibly made.
Swann, who takes over for Haden effective July 1, has forged a successful business career since retiring from professional football, ranging from a run for Pennsylvania’s governor office; to sitting on boards for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Heinz, Wyndham and Hersey; to an appointment from George W. Bush as chair of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; to a prosperous run as a sports commentator; to a cameo in “The Waterboy,” but Swann has never run an athletics department at any level… let alone the largest athletics department west of Interstate 35.
Without making comment on the job Swann will ultimately do (it’s a hard job, but it’s not brain surgery), the hire itself perpetuates an image of a university that is simply in love with itself. Its last three football hires have come from within the program, and its last three ADs are all former Trojan football players. It’s also a hire that will be wiped off every sportscast in Los Angeles.
Most USC thing to do? Announce a new athletic director on one of the biggest days in LA sports history as Kobe retires.
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) April 13, 2016
USC used a search firm with zero athletics placement experience and wound up with somebody with zero AD experience in Lynn Swann.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) April 13, 2016
#USC has had only one athletic director (Mike McGee) who had experience as an A.D. before getting hired. Lynn Swann continues long tradition
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) April 13, 2016
Swann could be a great athletics director, the next emperor of Troy that returns his beloved Trojans to a long run of multi-sport national dominance. But there is precisely zero precedent to believe that premise at this point. And if all hires come from the same pool, why would the end result be any different?