State of Troy: February 2012


Each month, we interview athletic director Pat Haden to find out the latest news around Heritage Hall.  In this month's edition, two fans asked the AD a question.

Click here to email Pat Haden a question for State of Troy.

McKay-Center-2_16.JPGWhat are the plans for public tours once the John McKay Center is completed?  -- Jeff Zakaryan

We are hoping the John McKay Center will open its doors in late July or early August.  Our team will move in approximately August 1.  I am anticipating a special opening ceremony around the time of our first football game.  We will be giving tours certainly on home game days as well as other special events.  We have some surprises in store for our fans when they get inside the building for the first time.

What is on your wish list for facility upgrades and fundraising efforts after the McKay Center? -- Steve Brown

We have two projects right on the heels of this one.  First, we plan to remodel Heritage Hall as soon as possible.  Secondly, we will refresh the aquatics center, which has not been improved since 1984.  We have a substantial lead gift for which we are thankful.  That will get us started, but we always need and appreciate more support from the Trojan Family as we look to improve the facilities for all 21 sports.

KO-Haden.jpgYou have been firm in your support for Kevin O'Neill continuing as the men's basketball head coach.  Why?

Kevin works as hard as anybody does.  We are happy with his success graduating student-athletes and providing discipline throughout his program.  Obviously, nobody is happy with our record this season, but we recognize that he has been dealt a difficult hand with only six healthy scholarship players at present.  It must get better and I have every expectation that it will next year.

What are your expectations for the 2012 baseball season?

We are going to be improved.  It is all about pitching, so we are thankful to have Andrew Triggs return to lead the rotation, while getting his MBA at the Marshall School.  Behind him, we have some new live arms that Frank Cruz is really hoping will step up.  Baseball season is long, but it should be more enjoyable than a year ago.


Haden needs to be mum on basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill otherwise he looks like a fool with the same old excuses for this season. Harvard has no scholarship players and sure they graduate more than USC while being ranked at #25. Stand Pat Haden should look at women's tennis and soccer to make a change.

Unfortunately, our administration does not care about our basketball program or the contribution from the Galen family as well as the Founders.

There are hundreds of other coaches who could "have success graduating players and providing discipline". Our graduation rate is nothing to boast about anyway, as KO has run off 2 players and we had another go pro as well. not hard to graduate the walk-ons and the few seniors we have had on roster.

In terms of discipline, I find it insulting for Haden to promote team discipline when the head coach himself was barely held accountable for getting drunk in public outside of the Staples Center during the Pac-10 Tourney the day before the most important game of the year.

There is zero need to wait it out with KO - he has a sub .500 record after more than 15 years as a head coach in five different BCS-level positions. He was working an administrative job for the Memphis Grizzlies after being demoted from assistant during the season when we offered him this job. This is not a new young coach building a program. This is a statistically proven mediocre coach who excels at teaching man-on-man defense, and absolutely nothing else.

The fact he have up on the season months before the first tip-off is the exact opposite of what "Fight On" means. We have completely given up on recruiting HS athletes and rely almost exclusively on JCs, transfers, and players who have no other BCS offers. It is completely KO's fault that our numbers were so low due to his recruiting choices - specifically tying up two of our scholarships to transfers this year and relying on players who have barely played.

Why do the few USC basketball fans that are left deserve this? How can anyone justify staying on course for one more year? Attendance is down into the low 2000s, which is worse than many high schools. The cash flows for the Galen Center have to be pathetically low - I can't imagine having 4-5,000 less fans buying parking, tickets, and food is sustainable. Especially with the additional debt taken on to finance the McKay center.

Excuses are for losers. There is no doubt we have been hit especially hard this year, but we were doing poorly before they kicked in and we have seen zero improvement in any area as the season moves on. The fact we rank in the bottom four out of more than 340 d-1 teams is inexcusable, even with six scholarship players.

For once, I would appreciate some humility from the coach, but in three years (yes, this is already his THIRD season) I've never seen a single "I need to coach better". Classic bully behavior.

Unfortunately we are stuck with KO for another two years, as it would be almost impossible not to win 18 games next year with the roster coming back and the state of the conference. We will lose to the bottom teams in the conference, win a few against the top when we shouldn't, and be on the bubble for a play-in game and it will look like progress compared to 1 conference win this season.

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