Despite being the most hated head coach in Chicago Bulls history, Tim Floyd has his fair share of devotees in the USC community. And those fans can perk their ears, as the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the former USC men’s basketball coach has met with athletic director Pat Haden for a meeting that lasted three long hours.
Under Floyd, the Trojans set new heights as a basketball program: the Galen Center opened, the Trojans produced a slew of NBA talent including Nick Young,
O.J. Mayo, DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson, won a Pac-12 Championship and did so all while becoming the first USC team to ever earn berths to three-straight NCAA Tournaments.
Times were good for the Trojans.
Well, until Rodney Guillory, Louis Johnson and Bill Duffty’s involvement with Mayo’s bank account put a black mark on the program, causing then-athletic director Mike Garrett to sacrifice the basketball team with self-imposed sanctions as a means to attempt to preserve the football team’s reputation, subsequently causing Floyd to bounce and wind up in the sullen exile that is El Paso.
Times have clearly changed. After stagnant years with the ‘safe hire’ of Kevin O’Neill, the Trojans are needing a spark again, and many are considering Floyd to be the flint that lights up Galen.
But could he really come back given what went down with him on the clock? Given Pat Haden’s zero-tolerance policy with NCAA infractions, Floyd has to be a longshot to replace O’Neill and the interim Bob Cantu, no?
Well, not so fast. A three hour meeting is of course, a three hour meeting. And as Diane Pucin points out, Tim Floyd technically was never on the hook for the crimes of the program, as it pertained to Guillory and Mayo:
While the NCAA found no violations committed personally by Floyd, the NCAA penalized USC for alleged actions by star player O.J. Mayo, who played one season for the Trojans. Floyd said it was important his former players and coaches know that he had talked to Haden. “I feel they should know that USC reached out, that no violations were found by the NCAA with USC basketball,” Floyd said. “I felt like I got my name back when I got offered a number of jobs when I left USC. Pat and I talked at length.”
So, is Floyd the flint? It can be assumed that Floyd has no ill-will towards USC, as he would be hard-pressed to give Haden the time of day given the past if he still had a bad taste in his mouth.
Then again, it’s no secret that Floyd and Garrett were continuously at odds. Garrett bereated Daniel Hackett following a loss to Kansas that hinged on the Italian point guard’s missed free throws, and Floyd banned him from the locker room.
With Haden serving as a new face for the Trojans and Floyd making it clear that it’s important for alumni and players to see that he’s reaching out to USC, there just might be fire under the gently rising smoke puffs emanating from the McKay Center.
And either way, as Joey Kaufman pointed out on Twitter, the boosters got their wish. For Haden, that in itself is a win, considering Lane Kiffin’s dip in popularity.
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