Pat Haden to Retire as USC Athletic Director: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2016

Southern California athletic director Pat Haden speaks with the media during a press conference after an NCAA college football practice in Los Angeles Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. He named the Trojans' offensive coordinator, Clay Helton, to take over for head coach Steve Sarkisian, whom Haden fired Monday. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)
Richard Hartog/Associated Press

The University of Southern California announced Friday that athletic director Pat Haden is going to retire from the position effective June 30. 

USC president C. L. Max Nikias passed along the news in a letter to the school community. He also stated Haden agreed to a one-year deal to lead the renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Nikias went on to explain the process school officials are planning to replace Haden:

Going forward, I will be working closely with Nick Brill, principal and co-founder of the Brill Neumann executive search firm, to identify USC's next athletic director. His firm brings valuable experience working with USC, and me directly, on previous executive searches, including senior vice president positions. The process will be national in scope, with all proceedings held in the strictest confidence, for the benefit of USC Athletics and all qualified candidates.

Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times provided further background about the search:

Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer included the names of some potential candidates:

Haden, who played quarterback for the Trojans in the 1970s, returned to the program to serve as athletic director starting in 2010.

His retirement announcement comes after a tumultuous stretch for the football program, which included the firing of Steve Sarkisian in October. The former head coach filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit in December for letting him go while he sought alcohol-rehabilitation treatment, per ESPN.

Research by Paul Pringle and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times after Sarkisian's departure showed Haden was filling more than a dozen roles aside from his work with USC. He downplayed the issue, however.

"You can't work any more at this job than I do," Haden said. But that didn't stop the criticism directed at the 63-year-old.

In late October, he stepped down from the College Football Playoff selection committee and stated his doctors wanted him to take on less travel burden, as the CFP's official site noted.

Despite the mixed feedback late in Haden's tenure, Nikias applauded his overall efforts with the school's athletic department over the past handful of years, as Greg Beacham of the Associated Press highlighted:

By retiring from the role of athletic director but agreeing to help with the stadium renovations, Haden gets to remain close to the football program without the same level of burden. And USC can begin to move in a new direction once the new AD is hired.

The announcement didn't include a timetable for how long that search is going to last.