Former USC athletic director Mike Garrett is pledging to “win and graduate student athletes who will do good things in life” as executive director for athletics at Cal State LA.
Garrett was named Friday to succeed athletic director Daniel Bridges, who will retire in December.
“Mike Garrett is the perfect person to guide Cal State LA athletics to a new era of excellence,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino told students, faculty and staff who gathered next to the school’s Physical Education Building for the announcement of Garrett’s hiring.
“He reflects in so many ways the ideals we hope to realize in our athletic program.”
Garrett was raised in East Los Angeles and the Boyle Heights neighborhood near Cal State LA.
“I’m coming home to a place that reflects who I am,” said Garrett, a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights.
“I’m an Eastside kid who took everything good from this community with me to help me achieve everything I was able to in life — not just in football. This a chance for me to give something back.”
Garrett was the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner, the first USC player to receive the award as college football’s best player. He played professional football for eight seasons and was a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs teams who played in Super Bowls I and IV.
Garrett was USC’s athletic director from 1993 to 2010, a tenure that combined 23 national championships, including two in football, with the university’s athletic program being placed on four years probation and the football team banned from post-season appearances for two seasons due to NCAA violations.
USC also imposed sanctions on its men’s basketball program in 2010 because a booster made secret payments to standout guard O.J. Mayo in violation of NCAA rules.
Garrett was athletic director at Langston University, a historically black school in Oklahoma that competes on the NAIA level, from 2012 until he resigned in April.
Cal State LA competes on the NCAA Division II level and does not have a football team.
Covino said he hired the 71-year-old Garrett as part of an effort of “pushing the boundaries of expectations and possibilities at Cal State LA, in academics and public service.”
“A first-rate athletics program is part of that equation, contributing to the atmosphere of all-around excellence we are creating,” Covino said.
—City News Service
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