USC AD Pat Haden Pens an Open Letter


USC Athletic Director Pat Haden released a letter to the Trojan faithful today to serve as a progress report of his first five years on the job. I read it so that you don’t have to.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

Much of it is empty administrative rhetoric, as would be the case for any athletic department, but there were a few items worth responding to. Be sure to click through to the linked photos and stories.

"In August of 2010, USC President Max Nikias entrusted me with the great privilege of serving my alma mater as athletic director."

There’s a lot of context behind this statement: Haden’s predecessor, Mike Garrett, was of course fired in the wake of Pete Carroll’s hasty departure and impending NCAA sanctions. Haden didn’t even want the job, for reasons we can only infer, and declined it twice before Nikias ultimately persuaded him. He was brought in specifically to clean up the mess left by Garrett, Carroll, and Tim Floyd‘s ‘lack of institutional control.’

"…while it certainly has not been without its challenges…"

Like going 2-3 in football, 2-10 in basketball, and 7-13 in baseball over the last five years against UCLA?

"To remain the leader USC Athletics has always been…"

Here are USC’s 2010-2015 conference finishes* in the big three sports that apparently define being a ‘leader’:

  • Football – 4th, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 5th
  • Basketball – 4th, 12th, 7th, 12th, 12th
  • Baseball – 7th, 10th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

* The first number listed is out of 10, as 2010-11 was the last season before the conference expanded. The rest are out of 12, except for baseball, which only has 11 teams (Colorado doesn’t field a baseball team).

"In the face of adversity and with nearly everyone expecting us to fail…"

Classic move: citing consequences for your misdeeds as ‘adversity’ that you’ve had to overcome. It’s a gigantic evasion of responsibility, as if probation and sanctions are some kind of natural disaster or freak accident that could have happened to anyone rather than the justly earned penalty for playing fast and loose with the rules.

"Not only do we have some of the world’s best athletes, but they also are some of USC’s best students."


"This past year alone, our students showed an amazing appreciation of our community by providing 4,023 hours of service to our neighborhood and beyond."

I’m going to assume that these hours of community service were voluntary, rather than court-mandated, but I suppose you never know…

Nov 16, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal receiver Michael Rector (3) catches a pass as Southern California Trojans cornerback Josh Shaw (6) defends at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Stanford 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

"We have placed in the Top 15 each of the past five years in the Directors’ Cup"

Just for reference, here are UCLA and USC’s last five Directors’ Cup finishes:

  • 2015: UCLA – 2; USC – 3
  • 2014: UCLA – 7; USC – 8
  • 2013: UCLA – 3; USC – 14
  • 2012: UCLA – 3; USC – 7
  • 2011: UCLA – 11; USC – 14

The Directors’ Cup is awarded by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the best performing athletic departments in each division. It is determined via a system of points based on how each school performed in each sport. The UCLA athletic programs have collectively outperformed their rivals each of the last five years.

"For our coaches and staff, we need to continue to provide a safe, respectful place to work and an environment where people are fairly compensated, hard work is appreciated and a career is worthwhile and fulfilling."

I’m just going to leave this here.

"And all the while, we all must find the joy of athletic competition without getting too strung out on just winning."

This comes across a heartfelt exhortation to a fan base and athletic program that still isn’t convinced that cheating isn’t worth it. Also, I think we’ve conclusively determined that this is not a program in danger of becoming addicted to winning. In fact, they appear to have given it up, cold turkey.

"Find and develop additional funding mechanisms to continue to support all 21 of our teams. We believe the Coliseum redevelopment will be primary among those vehicles."

Go Joe Bruin has already offered our advice to USC on this project.

"Make the Trojan Family proud of how our students compete on the fields, in our pools and on our courts…"

And when jumping from their balconies to those pools to save their — oh, wait. That’s something else. Never mind.

"Continue our strong culture of NCAA rules compliance."

RELATED: USC Gives Pete Carroll Honorary Doctorate

"My passion to continue leading our athletic department is strong."

It’s  not your passion we doubt, Pat, it’s your impartiality.

Next: UCLA Likely to Continue with IMG

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