LOS ANGELES — After a quarter century of entrusting former Trojan football stars with the direction of its athletic department, USC has tapped an outsider to be its next athletic director.
Mike Bohn will be named USC’s athletic director today, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said. He’ll be the first to assume the post without any previous ties to the university since Mike McGee, who, until now, had been the only outsider to lead USC athletics.
USC had zeroed in on Bohn as its choice last week, but his hiring, according to a person familiar with the situation, was delayed as the university conducted background checks.
Bohn, who spent the past five years at Cincinnati in the same position and was the AD at the University of Idaho from 1998-2003, will be introduced at a news conference today.
From there, the longtime administrator will be charged with the daunting task of restoring luster to a high-profile department scarred by scandal — and dealing with questions of its own culpability.
Amid that fallout, Bohn’s hiring, the most significant yet for President Carol L. Folt, sends an unambiguous message from the university’s new leadership.
“There is a moment right now at USC,” Folt told the Times in October. “No one is happy about the things that have happened. If I have any opportunity right now, it’s to take advantage of people’s willingness to say, ‘OK, everything is not perfect.’”
As USC attempts to start anew, Bohn, 58, is the fourth athletic director at the school in a decade. Unlike the other three, he arrives at USC with considerable experience in collegiate athletics administration.
Before taking the reins at Cincinnati, where he helped usher a middling program overlooked by conference realignment into relevance, Bohn also served as athletic director at Colorado and San Diego State.
His hiring at USC comes almost two months after the resignation of Lynn Swann, the former Trojans football star, whose surprise hiring and disappointing tenure as athletic director left the program in a state of turmoil and instability.