Haden replaces Garrett; Stiff-arm replaced with shame
In January of 2005, heartbroken Trojans watched Reggie Bush announce his intention to enter the NFL Draft. 5 years later, we were saddened by Pete Carroll’s unexpected departure, marking the end of an era. Now in July of 2010, we are informed that Athletic Director Mike Garrett is headed towards the exit—and this time we cheer.
While Bush and Carroll left the program by choice, USC continues a purification process with in-house cleaning that began with the termination of basketball coach Tim Floyd, and has since moved to escorting Athletic Director Mike Garrett out of the building.
One can easily say Garrett’s fate was predetermined. With the institution hit with major sanctions in three sports, liability rests on the overseer, thus ending a 17-year reign as Southern California’s figurehead of sports. It was foreseeable. A school president was set to retire in August, and there was no doubt that the longtime AD would be leaving with him.
Now enters Pat Haden, the golden boy of football past, prepared to lead Trojan athletics into the future. The incoming director left his mark on USC in the 70s, quarterbacking teams for the legendary John McKay.
Before settling into his new office chair, Haden’s fingerprints are already visible on the current program, appearing as one of the key figures heading the school’s coaching search, which led to the January hiring of Lane Kiffin.
Haden will perform his duties under new school president Max Nikias. Both men will officially begin their tenures on August 3rd, but that didn’t keep Nikias from an early order of business, which was to sweep away any remnants of Reggie Bush.
As ordered by the NCAA, USC is in the process of disassociating itself with Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo. This includes Bush’s Heisman Trophy being removed from display and shipped back to New York. Any other pictures, jerseys or likenesses commemorating individual achievements by the former running back will also be removed.
Bush has vowed to help USC in any way he can, but the Reggie Bush of USC no longer exists. Trophies and plaques are replaced by emptiness. That emptiness becomes symbolic of shame.
There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s faced with the difficult task of preservation and image repair of a storied program. Haden was the proper hire. Garrett will not be missed.