My Twitter feed since 2010 says Pat Haden was a lousy athletic director who fumbled more times at USC than he did as quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams.
Haden was the AD who failed to overturn the outrageous NCAA sanctions he inherited from the equally outrageous Mike Garrett. Haden pussy-footed his way around the NCAA when a real Trojan would have busted down the door and demanded a “mea culpa” from president Mark Emmert.
Trojan fans wanted a real man like, well, Garrett, the former AD, who claimed any charges against USC were trumped up and all on account of jealousy.
Donald Trump would have been a better AD than Haden because he would have deemed the NCAA “losers” and “sissies” right before announcing he was going to turn the organization’s Indianapolis headquarters into a golf course.
Haden was too “Rhodes scholarly” and “touchy-feely” to run an athletic department where you were supposed to shoot first and then take aim. Haden was poisoned with, what’s the word, context.
Haden was blamed for hiring Lane Kiffin, even though it was Haden who actually fired Kiffin. He then made, perhaps, the worst basketball hire in history by blindly falling for Andy Enfield after one hot run in the NCAA tournament.
It was like a high-school crush.
Many contended Enfield should have been fired instead of being allowed a third season where he might go on to defeat UCLA on Thursday night to run USC’s record to 14-0 this year at the Galen Center.
The worst botch in Haden’s satchel, though, was hiring Steve Sarkisian–a known drunk at Washington to everyone but the search firm USC hired to vet him. This led to the embarrassment of Haden running down on the field at Stanford two years ago to protect his “Sark” from the persecution of big, bad incompetent Pac 12 officials.
If only Haden had done due dilligence on Sark, the way Stanford did with Jim Harbaugh, who in 2005 picked up the DUI that cost him a job at San Diego State. There were a lot of stories about Harbaugh, too, and he was rightly rejected by Stanford and ended up staying at the University of San Diego. Oh, wait…
Anyway, you could make a serious case against Haden, who announced Friday he was retiring at the end of June, until you compare him against his contemporaries.
How about the AD at Florida State who so delicately handled the Jameis Winston case in conjunction with the Tallahassee Police Department? Or the AD Rutgers recently fired for leading that program into the sewer? Or, the AD that Texas fired for being a complete boob, or the AD at Minnesota who resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, or the AD at Missouri who presided over racial discord on the football team? Or the Ohio State AD who backed Jim Tressel…we could go on and on.
Louisville’s Tom Jurich was considered, until 10 minutes ago, maybe THE most respected AD in college athletics. Yet, he is now mired in a scandal far worse, potentially, than anything Haden has had to face.
No one should feel sorry for Haden, even though the pressures of his job likely contributed to his deteriorating health. Many of us who have known Haden for years are glad he is leaving, if only to tend to his well being.
Haden made mistakes, for sure, and he made them in the the white-hot light of day. He was also over-compensated financially, which puts him squarely in line with plenty of USC graduates I know.
The opinion here is that history will be kinder to Pat Haden than present-day USC fans have been. He took over a program mired in the deepest depths of NCAA probation and leaves the place in better shape than when he arrived.
Anyone who suggests otherwise can suck on a gym sock.
USC won 10 NCAA titles on Haden’s watch–too bad they were in all the wrong sports.
For all his flaws, Haden was the right AD at the right time for USC. You could argue he could have done better. And I’ll argue USC could have done a lot, lot worse. I’m talking Steve Patterson worse.