Dodd: USC Must Move Past Cronyism To Hire Athletic Director

LISTEN: CBS College Football Writer Breaks Down Trojans AD Search

Reiter Than You
September 11, 2019 - 2:45 pm
Southern California Trojans athletic director Lynn Swann (left) talks with head coach Clay Helton after the Pac-12 Conference championship game against the Stanford Cardinal at Levi's Stadium

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Lynn Swann resigned as the University of Southern California's Athletic Director on Monday, ending his three-year stint with the program.

Just two weeks into the Trojans' season, the abrupt resignation came as a shock. Dave Roberts was named as Swann's interim successor as the program begins its search for a full-time option. Roberts previously worked in the university's compliance office before he assumed Swann's old position. 

Swann, who played for USC from 1971-73, was the latest former Trojan to serve as the program's athletic director — joining Mike Garrett, Pat Haden, Jess Hill and John McKay. But CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd says USC's tendency of bringing its former player to lead the athletic department needs to end. Dodd joined Bill Reiter on "Reiter Than You" to make sense what's next for the Trojans. 

"They just have to move on and get past the USC cronyism," Dodd said. "The first reaction was, 'Well they're going to hire whoever Urban Meyer says they're going to hire.' Yeah, I think the story was you couldn't trust Lynn Swann to hire the next coach, but you have to have somebody to have a vision. Things look pretty good right now in Clay Helton." 

The Trojans had two winning seasons when Lynn led the department. They went 10-3 and captured the Rose Bowl in his, and Helton's, first full season with the team. But following the 2018 season, where USC lost in the Rose Bowl and finished 11-3, the Trojans suffered its first losing season 2000. But Dodd said issues with Swann's hiring persisted from Day 1. 

"From the day he was hired, it didn't make sense," Dodd said. "He had no skills as an athletic director at all. As an AD, he was a heck of a sideline reporter. His entire post-football career has been entirely based on celebrity.

"There's a core of boosters there and I don't know exactly who they are who are just in love with this idea of having John McKay's roster and looking through that for the next athletic director. That has to end. In modern day college athletics, these guys have business degrees, graduate degrees. They have first and foremost these fundraisers, they have to run these multi-faceted athletic departments and they have to win at football. And USC has succeeded almost despite itself. Don't forget that Mike Garrett with Pete Carroll was a fifth choice. Pete Carroll was a fifth choice and it worked. They established a modern dynasty for a little while." 

Click the audio player below to listen to Dodd's interview in its entirety.