Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann resigned as the University of Southern California’s athletic director after three years atop the program, USC President Carol Folt announced in a letter on Monday.
“Lynn has been a leader on and off the field at USC for nearly five decades, and he will forever be a valued member of the Trojan family,” Folt wrote.
In April 2016, Swann succeeded USC great Pat Haden at the helm of USC athletics, one of the nation’s most prestigious athletic programs. It was a tumultuous tenure for the former All-American USC wide receiver amid the infamous public admissions scandal and a struggling football team that sought to regain national prominence.
Dave Roberts, a special advisor to Folt who previously served as vice president of athletics compliance, will step in as the interim athletic director while USC embarks on a national search to fill the position.
“Our Athletics Department puts our student-athletes first by pursuing excellence with integrity,” Folt stated. “We will build on the traditions and strengths of our exceptional athletics program.”
USC Trustee Suzanne Nora Johnson will chair the search committee. She will be joined by board of trustees chair Rick Cruso, trustees Jeff Smulyan and William McMorrow, alumni representative Bill Allen, vice president for student affairs Winston Crisp, faculty athletics representative Alan Green, academic senate president Rebecca Lonergan and provost Charles Zukoski. The search committee will also include two student representatives.
“The position will be filled with an experienced and accomplished individual,” wrote Holt.
In the past 26 years, the USC athletic director has been a former Trojan including Mike Garrett, Haden and Swann. All of which have had their fair share of controversy. Roberts, who is also the Vice-Chair of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, should steer the program clear of any further controversy.
From the time that 67-year-old Swann was announced as the new athletic director of his alma mater, there was apprehension that his lack of experience would ultimately lead to his downfall. Swann will always have the stain of the admissions scandal and the college basketball corruption scandal on his resume.
Among USC fans, there was discontentment with Swann after he backed head football coach Clay Helton following a losing season last year (5-7).
Swann is a college football Hall of Famer who competed in two Rose Bowls and won a championship with USC in 1972. He went on to become an NFL superstar winning four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Swann’s decorated past on the football field did not translate to success atop USC athletics.
It may finally be time for the esteemed program to move on from their incestuous past that includes several former USC athletes. The future of the USC Athletic Department is uncertain. One positive takeaway is that the athletic department’s cornerstone,USC football, is off to a 2-0 start with one of the greatest blowout wins in recent history against rival Stanford on Saturday.