The State of Troy


Each month, I'll sit down with athletic director Pat Haden and get his thoughts on the hot topics at USC plus we'll take a look at what's on his agenda for the coming months and semesters.

Haden's first day in Heritage Hall was August 3rd, so this month's questions are centered around his initial observations behind the new desk, his plans to emphasize the STUDENT in student-athlete and a personal message to the fans and athletic support group members.
(Note: If you'd like to ask Pat Haden a question, please e-mail it to me and we'll choose the best one each month.)

Q.) How have your first few weeks on the job been?  

"It has been a whirlwind.  There is a lot for me to learn.  I have never been an athletic director before, although I am highly confident that I can do the job.  I am really blessed to have an experienced senior staff that has been here a long time.  They can help me navigate through the university and the athletic department.  It has been fun though.  It has been very energizing for me working at a school that I love."

Q.) While you're new to the office, you grew up at USC, so it must be an exciting feeling to return to the athletic department that has brought you such joy?

"I grew up going to USC football games with my father when I was seven or eight years old.  We used to buy season tickets for $20.  I went here.  I met my wife here.  My kids went here.  All my closest friends are still here.  I was on the board for 19 years.  I had 40 some odd meetings on the campus last year, but none of them in the athletic area.  While I have been around USC the last 30-40 years, I really have not been around the athletic department that much other than going to games.  It is a new day and a new experience and one that I am really loving thus far."

Q.) What did you find in terms of the foundation that was built for you by previous AD Mike Garrett?

"Mike Garrett did a phenomenal job in many ways.  We have got to build ongarrettx-large.jpg what he did.  He championed 23 national championship winning teams.  We have had great development in the non-revenue sports teams and we want to continue on that path.  And, he raised a lot of money.  We do not have to restart here.  We have to continue on with what Mike did and continue to improve."

Q.) What are your immediate priorities as the new school year begins?

"We have to comply with NCAA regulations.  We are under NCAA sanctions, so we are being extra careful in terms of compliance.  In the case that something is vague, we are erring on the side of 'over-compliance.'  We cannot have people on the sidelines or at practice.  For example, my sons are Cardinal and Gold members, so they are considered boosters, which means I cannot bring my sons to any events.  The first order of business is making sure that we are in absolute compliance with the NCAA's rules and regulations, but we want to do it without smothering the fun and excitement that kids are supposed to have playing sports.  That is the delicate balance."

Q.) Thinking more long term, what are the goals that you have set for this office?

"We would like to close the gap on academic achievement between student-athletes and the general student population.  We would like to get student-athletes involved in the university not just in the gyms, pools, tracks and fields.  There are a ton of opportunities percolating on this campus like "Visions and Voices," which has about 70 presentations per year.  I would love to see the student-athletes take advantage of that.  I want them to have a real robust college experience not just an athletic experience."

Q.) You said that you wanted to pick a women's sport and get directly involved.  Which one did you choose?

"I am going to haveDSC_0287.jpg women's tennis report directly to me.  It is not that I know anything about tennis, but I wanted to have a sport.  J.K. McKay is going to do men's and women's golf, so he has a sport to work with other than football."

Q.) Also, you are a champion of the Title IX legislation.  How has it changed the college sporting landscape for women?

"Title IX was the most important piece of legislation in athletic history.  It really leveled the playing field for women, who represent half of the population.  I have witnessed the direct result of Title IX not only on the fields, but opening up doors in business for women to run companies and win public offices.  The athletic experience has helped women in so many different ways."

Q.) Are you considering adding an additional women's sport at USC?

"I have not gotten there yet.  Right now, I am just trying to get a handle on the 19 sports that we have.  I inherited some discussion about that subject, but right now nothing is imminent."

Q.) On the other side of your job, how are the plans coming along for the new football building?

"Max Nikias has promised me that we are going to get under way with this shortly.  It is important to me and it is important to Max.  We have a president who is very supportive of the athletic department.  He understands the tradition of athletics here at USC.  Heritage Hall was built in 1972 and not much has been done to it.  We do not have the facilities, other than basketball and volleyball, that our student-athletes deserve."

Q.) As the program rides the storm of sanctions, what kind of response would you like to see from the fans and support group members?

"If you are really a USC fan, these are the times we need you the most.  We really do.  I get it.  I was one of those fans who liked to bring their kids to Salute to Troy, so they can meet the quarterback and get autographs.  You like to be on the sidelines, the locker room and to be in the know.  We cannot do that right now.  It was easier to raise money when we could do that for you and the football team was winning.  The football team is going to continue to win, but we cannot do those other things.  My message to the fans is that we need your support now more than ever.  While they cannot interact with the football team as much, they can with our other sports.  I hope to introduce them to some really cool athletes.  And I hope myself, personally, to do something with them in lieu of the football team."

Q.) As an old school football player, what are your thoughts on Lane Kiffin contemplating 'iron man' football (playing both ways) in the next few years? 

"I was not good enough to play on defense, but kids like that phenomenon.  They likepathaden_display_image.jpg that uniqueness.  I have actually seen that on the college football landscape and I would not be surprised to see Lane utilize that here."

Q.) Here on the blog, we will recognize an outstanding scholar athlete each week.  How do you want to change the reputation of the student-athlete?

"They are not mutually exclusive.  I hope to spend as much time and energy on the left side of the student-athlete hyphen as the right.  We have hundreds of athletes that are stars in the classroom and not just their sport.  We want to highlight those men and women who are doing exceptionally well in both areas.  We have world class athletes and world class students."

Q.) Finally, it had to bring a smile to your face to see USC rocket up the national academic rankings to #23 ahead of UCLA?

"We are excited about our ranking in the latest U.S. News and World Report.  The ascent that the university has had over the last decade or more has been staggering.  Former president Steve Sample did a terrific job of getting everybody moving in the right direction.  Max Nikias has a new found energy to keep the ascent going.  Surpassing our rivals makes it all the more sweet!"

Note: If you would like to become an athletic support group member or want more information about giving to the department, please check out the development website on


Jordan, are we going to get any pictures or reports form Hawaii? I guess we were spoiled by Ben

I agree with aztrojan. Left the same comments re: yesterday's Blog.

Please send photos and comments from Hawaii. That would be great!


While these articles are intersting, they really aren't the "flavor" of the former blog. We would all like more pictures and real time football news, but maybe there is some reason it is being "kept" from us. New regime, new ways, new blog....just sayin'. Let's see how the first home game is covered here and then we may have a better idea if what this blog is about now.

What I did not do in my prior e-mail was to respond to the comments madeby AD Haden to the various questions he was asked about is new position as AD.

I am a 1976 grad of the Department of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and Pat Haden was "my" quarterback and J.K. McKay was "my" wide receiver. Things have certainly changed since those days, but the one thing that has not changed in that USC is first an educational insitution. One that happens to year after year field the very best in athletic teams and the very best football team in the country.

The athlete that comes out of high school today sees college as the stepping stone to the NFL and the NBA, and yes, it certainly is for some. But it should be more. Many will and many will not move on to the next level. But while they are all here, they should take advantage of the wide range of events and activities that are offered by this institution. In addition, the educators who make up this institution, provide the student-athelete on a day-to-day basis with new knowledge, ideas, theories, and concepts, for a more well-rounded experience that will expand their lives and benefit them througout their lives.

I am hopeful that the student-athelete understands they have been given a great gift by way of a four-year scholarhsip to attend this university. They should not waste a moment in discovering what that means beyond the sport they participate in, while attending this university.

Thank you to AD Haden for placing the focus on the student in student-athlete.

You people need to stop complaining about the coverage of a FREE blog. They're providing great, up to date information on our beloved be happy. Can you name another University that provides this much FREE information, great interviews, multimedia, etc? Florida? no, Texas? no, Bama? no ... well you get the picture SHEESH

Elijah, you're right! I didn't mean to sound so much like a complainer. Jordan is doing a good job, for sure.

It is "erring" not "airing".

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