Members of the Trojan Family might best remember Pat Haden as the famed USC quarterback who was part of two national championships under coaching legend John McKay and later went on to call signals for the Los Angeles Rams.
But Haden brings many other assets to the table – all of them off the playing field.
President-elect C. L. Max Nikias said Haden officially would become USC athletic director on Aug. 3. Nikias noted in his July 20 announcement that Haden was a Rhodes Scholar, a two-time Academic All-American and a magna cum laude graduate in 1975.
“While many around the country are aware of his prominent role as quarterback and team leader during one of USC’s golden eras of athletic achievement, [Haden] has played an equally significant leadership role during the university’s greatest era of academic growth,” Nikias said.
“As the longtime chairman of the USC Board of Trustees‘ academic affairs and student affairs committees, Mr. Haden was a key adviser to two USC provosts, working closely with them on all aspects of the university’s teaching and research mission.”
For more than 20 years, Haden has been a general partner of Riordan, Lewis & Haden, a private equity firm that invests in high-growth middle market companies. During that time, he also served on many nonprofit boards, including those of the Rose Hills Foundation and Fletcher Jones Foundation, both of which support colleges and universities in California. In recent years, he chaired the fundraising initiative of USC College.
In addition, Haden has for the last decade been a broadcaster working Notre Dame football games for NBC. Haden has resigned his position as a USC trustee and network analyst to take on his new role at the university.
Facing his first media swarm in Heritage Hall on the day of the announcement, Haden pledged to focus on compliance with NCAA rules, on enhancing the extracurricular experience of USC’s 650 student-athletes competing in 19 men’s and women’s sports, and on making the women’s athletic programs at USC world-class.
“We want to compete ferociously – but to do it ethically and within the rules,” Haden told reporters. “We want to have the best compliance program in the country.”
To that end, Nikias and Haden announced that attorney David M. Roberts will join USC as vice president for athletic compliance and attorney J.K. McKay will serve as associate athletic director for football. Professor Clare Pastore of the USC Gould School of Law was appointed to serve as USC’s faculty athletic representative.
Haden said his meetings as new A.D. will “begin and end” with compliance issues – noting that the university is on NCAA probation until 2014.
He said he took on the challenge of heading USC athletics because he embraces the vision of the role athletics can play in the collegiate experience and in personal growth of students.
“I have a real affinity for women’s athletics,” Haden said. He called the implementation of Title IX – a federal act that requires all universities receiving federal funds to offer equal opportunities based on sex – a “seminal moment” in the nation’s history.
Haden said that since enactment of the measure in the 1970s, more women than ever are participating in athletics and moving on to meaningful careers and giving back to society. “I would like to have the best portfolio of women’s sports in the country.”
He also said he will encourage his scholar-athletes to take full advantage of the university experience when on campus.
He noted that, in any given year, there are dozens of plays, cultural events and opportunities for players to think about things other than sports. “I would love their college experience being broader,” he said.
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