Lynn Swann at a McCain/Palin rally in Washington, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2008. Photo by Jenn Grover [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Lynn Swann at a McCain/Palin rally in Washington, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2008. Photo by Jenn Grover [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Lynn Swann will be introduced Thursday as USC’s next athletic director.

The university announced Swann’s hiring Wednesday to replace the retiring Pat Haden.

Swann, 64, was an All-American at USC and helped lead the Trojans to an undefeated national championship season in 1972. As a pro, Swann won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was MVP of Super Bowl X.

“To his new role, Lynn Swann will bring the heart and soul of a Trojan,” USC president C.L. Max Nikias said. “He shares our profound dedication to combining academic excellence with athletic excellence.”

Swann earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from USC.

“I am excited about coming back to USC — its growth and success under President Nikias has been phenomenal and my family and I are looking forward to being a part of that,” Swann said. “As athletic director, my goals for the student-athletes will be to graduate, to win and to experience.”

Swann’s hiring brought immediate words of support from another prominent former Trojan, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

“Excited to hear Lynn Swann is the next athletic director at USC,” Carroll wrote on his Twitter page. “He will be an outstanding leader and great champion for the Trojan cause.”

Swann retired from the NFL following the 1982 season and began working as a broadcaster with ABC Sports, with assignments including several Olympic Games, college football, the Kentucky Derby and “Monday Night Football.”

Swann is a member of both the college and pro football halls of fame.

He was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on which he served until 2005. Swann was the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006, losing to incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell.

Haden announced in February that he would retire at the end of June. He is expected to remain with the university for another year to help guide the renovation of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Haden became USC’s athletic director in 2010.

Haden came under criticism late last year over his handling of the suspension and ultimate firing of football coach Steve Sarkisian, who was ousted amid a battle with alcohol use.

Haden did not immediately fire Sarkisian, opting to keep him on despite a public melt-down in which the coach slurred his words and used profanity during an apparently drunken speech at a pre-season pep rally.

Sarkisian later blamed his behavior on a mix of alcohol and prescription drugs. Haden publicly rebuked the coach, but allowed him to keep his job. But concerns about his behavior persisted, prompting Haden to place Sarkisian on indefinite leave in October. Haden fired him the next day.

As part of today’s announcement, Nikias again thanked Haden for his leadership of the department.

“The Trojan family will be forever grateful to Pat for stewarding USC athletics through some of its most challenging times,” he said.

—City News Service

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