Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott responded to the news of Pat Haden’s retirement as USC Athletic Director with a statement.
Friday morning was highlighted by the announcement that Pat Haden would be stepped down from his post as the Trojans’ AD, a job in which he’s held since 2010.
Soon after, the Pac-12 commish had remarks about the respected Haden. Here’s what he had to say:
"The Pac-12 salutes Pat Haden for his success and impact as athletic director of USC. Over the last six years, Pat was a valuable voice in conference matters and played a leadership role nationally with his fellow Athletic Directors and as a founding member of the College Football Playoff. As a former student-athlete, Pat served as a strong proponent for the benefits of the college experience, and led his Trojans to success on the field and in the classroom. We join the Trojan family in thanking him and wishing him all the best in recruitment."
It’s a telling statement from Scott, particularly the notion about Haden’s influence within the conference.
When the conference expanded to 12 schools and split into two football divisions with the addition of Utah and Colorado in 2011, Haden went to bat heavily for the protection of rivalries among the four California schools.
His campaign ultimately won out, which strongly shaped the scheduling with the Pac-12. USC is now guaranteed to play both Cal and Stanford out of the Pac-12 North, while rotating between the Washingtons and Oregons to round out their four crossover games.
Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans athletic director Pat Haden reacts during the 2015 Holiday Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The other schools have a much different rotation, which is all tied into the need for the Pacific Northwest schools needing to visit Los Angeles at least once every two years for recruiting purposes.
Had Haden not argued so hard, the California schools could’ve lost out on their NorCal vs. SoCal rivalries, which would paint a much different landscape within the conference.
That said, there’s always been criticisms for Scott and the Pac-12 conference as a whole from USC fans over the NCAA’s issuing of sanctions in 2010. Neither entity ever threw the strength of their clout behind the Trojans as they ultimately appealed to no avail.
In six years as USC’s athletic director, Haden’s Trojans won 10 total NCAA team national championships and made big strides in several key sports, including baseball and men’s basketball.
USC won the Pac-12 South for the first time under Haden in 2015, a victory that ultimately led to his last move: the hiring of head football coach Clay Helton.