USC athletic director Pat Haden is in a better place now than he was during last year’s football season. Even so, Haden’s future with the program beyond this year is still up in the air.
Is Haden planning to step down any time soon?
“I don’t know, Haden told the Orange County Register‘s Michael Lev. “I know I’m coming back next year. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of clarity on that.”
The athletic director’s health was a concern.
“I am happy, and I am healthy,” Haden continued. “I went through some issues (last year), but I’m fine and doing better. … Ninety percent of this job is fantastic. We have the world’s best athletes, and that’s indisputable, and we have some of USC’s best students. I get to work on a college campus; it happens to be my alma mater. It’s a vibrant, intellectually interesting place. All those things make the job really interesting. There’s a grind to it, too.”
Not only does Haden serve as USC’s athletic director, he is also a member of the College Football Playoff committee. Plus, he continued to deal with sanctions handed down by the the NCAA.
“We had two formal shots with the NCAA and three informal ones [to get restitution],” Haden said. “I’ve been back [to Indianapolis] three times. I was back there the day after the Penn State sanctions were reduced the first time. I was back there the next day. The idea was, if they’re getting credit for being good soldiers, we’ve been more than good soldiers. What’s the rationale? And of course we get the apples-and-oranges discussion. … I understand people’s frustration. Nobody’s more frustrated than I am. I’ve had to live through this more than anybody really. I’ve had to live through the fan base being upset. I appreciate the concern about it. But it’s not like we’re sitting on our hands here.”
The athletic director obviously had plenty on his plate this past year. He could have easily burnt out with all of the extra work he was doing. Instead, he persevered as he enters his fifth year as his alma mater’s athletic director.
Haden’s time is coming — maybe sooner rather than later — but he has yet to reach that point.