Max Nikias gave Pat Haden a vote of confidence Tuesday morning as the USC athletic director fielded questions from the press regarding his handling of the Steve Sarkisian situation.
In a statement released on the RipsIt Blog, Nikias put his support behind Haden.
“Pat Haden has been doing an outstanding job in leading Trojan Athletics in the past five years and I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my unwavering support for him,” Nikias wrote.
“I look forward to working with Pat Haden as our USC AD for many years to come.”
Haden took to the podium after the Trojans’ Tuesday practice to reaffirm his place at the athletic department. He laid out his accomplishments helping USC to their best academic scores in history this year.
However, the questioning took a turn toward’s Haden’s decision-making in hiring Sarkisian from Washington and not taking stronger action after the Salute to Troy incident.
Haden said that the Sarkisian hire was vetted by a hiring firm and background checks by both the NCAA and Pac-12.
The school spoke to dozens of people in and around Washington to further vet the coaching candidate. “None raised concern,” Haden said.
As for the decision to move forward with Sarkisian after he embarrassed himself on stage at Salute to Troy after mixing medications with alcohol, Haden indicated he was governed by compassion.
“I felt a great deal of compassion for Steve Sarkisian. He deserved another chance and I gave it to him.”
Ultimately, Haden concluded just over a month later that Sarkisian did not deserve a third chance after he proved unfit to coach this Sunday.
Despite all that and the fact that national and local media have called for his removal, Haden will indeed be running the search for the next USC football head coach.
Haden insisted that hiring a head coach is a difficult job and that athletic directors often get it wrong.
“This is an inexact science,” said Haden, his point proven by the delayed firing of Lane Kiffin and failed hiring of Sarkisian.
The focus will now turn towards getting it right this time. Though Haden would not discuss potential candidates or a timetable on the hire, the clock is ticking.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers