LOS ANGELES – The University of Southern California hired Pat Haden to guide its storied athletic department through the toughest time in its history.
With that job largely done, USC’s athletic director and dedicated Trojan decided he was ready for another role.
Haden will retire on June 30, school president Max Nikias announced Friday. Haden, the 63-year-old former USC quarterback, will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after leaving the athletic department.
“Pat has accomplished USC’s objectives here through his distinct blend of integrity, energy, wisdom, and character,” Nikias said in a letter announcing the decision.
Haden has run USC’s athletic department for 5½ years, taking over from Mike Garrett in 2010 with a primary mandate to lead the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program.
USC endured a two-year bowl ban, probation and significant scholarship losses for alleged misdeeds surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush during the tenure of former coach Pete Carroll.
Haden also persevered through recent health problems and criticism around the ongoing saga of coach Steve Sarkisian’s hiring and subsequent firing last fall.
“It has been a tremendous honor serving my alma mater, a school I love so much, as well as serving Max Nikias, our coaches and staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” Haden said. “I am proud of what has been accomplished here the past six years and knowing that USC Athletics is on an upward trajectory. I look forward to finishing out this academic year as athletic director and then spending time on the Coliseum project.”
Haden created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department. Nikias said Haden’s department restored the school’s good working relationship with the NCAA while also raising over $400 million during his tenure.
USC is about to embark on an extensive renovation of the 93-year-old Coliseum, which will be the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams this fall.