USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, who hired Lincoln Riley, resigns

This came out of nowhere, much as the Lincoln Riley hire came out of nowhere. Say this much for Mike Bohn: He doesn’t leak details and he keeps things quiet. No one saw this coming, much as no one saw the Lincoln Riley hire coming until the morning when it happened: Bohn, the director of athletics at USC who hired Riley and other elite coaches, resigned on Friday.

While USC, the Pac-12, and everyone else associated with college sports tries to digest this highly important and completely unanticipated development, we will start by simply noting what Bohn himself has said, followed by noting his central accomplishments at USC:

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Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn celebrates the victory against the UCLA Bruins with head coach Lincoln Riley following the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bohn put out a statement. The Los Angeles Times picked it up:

Bohn began:

“After more than 40 years of college athletics leadership, it is the right time to step away from my position as Director of Athletics at the University of Southern California. I have dedicated my life to serving student-athletes and advancing the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics. I will always be proud of leading the program out of the most tumultuous times in the history of the profession and at USC with a restored reputation and national milestone accomplishments. I led the process to join the Big 10 Conference, hired marquee Head Coaches, produced the highest graduation rate in school history and won numerous national and conference championships.”



Sep 3, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn (left) and Jamal McCoy aka DJ MaL-Ski react before the game against the Rice Owls at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bohn also said in his statement, “In moving on, it is important now that I focus on being present with my treasured family, addressing ongoing health challenges, and reflecting on how I can be impactful in the future.”

So, while health issues might have played a role, we obviously need to wait and see if any more details emerge which reshape this story and how we process it.



Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley (left) and Southern California Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn react during a press conference to introduce Riley as USC head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly at USC, Bohn will be remembered for one thing more than anything else: successfully hiring Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma in November of 2021. The move has transformed USC football and brought a lot of money into the athletic department. USC is once again a nationally relevant college football program.


Feb 17, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lindsay Gottlieb watches the game against the Stanford Cardinal during the first half at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports


Bohn’s hire of Lindsay Gottlieb as women’s basketball coach has brought substantial results in a relatively short period of time. Gottlieb got USC back to the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time since 2014. The program has the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Juju Watkins, for the upcoming season. USC women’s hoops is poised to return to the top of the sport over the next several years. That’s another Mike Bohn hire which has been transformative for the athletic department.


Andy Stankiewicz — Taylor Jones of Auburn Wire

Bohn’s hire of Andy Stankiewicz as the new baseball coach has put USC on the cusp of the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2015, and just its second NCAA berth since 2005. In football, women’s hoops, and baseball, Bohn has made home-run hires. Few ADs are that good at their job.



LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 29: New USC football head coach Lincoln Riley (C) posses with USC Board of Trustees Chair Rick Caruso (L) university president Carol L. Folt and athletic director Mike Bohn (R) during a news conference in the 1923 Club at the Los Angeles Coliseum on November 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Brandon Sosna worked under Bohn as the AD’s right-hand man. Sosna was instrumental in helping Bohn execute the hiring of Lincoln Riley. Sosna went to the NFL last year to work with the Detroit Lions.

There will be plenty of speculation and — one would think — a lot of internal sentiment toward luring Sosna back to USC as the successor to Bohn, though it would also not be a surprise if the Trojans conducted an extensive nationwide search for what is now a very prized position, given how much Bohn elevated the program.



B1G letters sit on Monument Circle before the NCAA Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Starting next year, USC becomes a “Big Ten” job. The new athletic director will need to steer the Trojans through Big Ten challenges and Big Ten competition. Did Bohn privately want to hand the baton to someone he thought would be better equipped for the Big Ten? We don’t know the answer to that right now, but it’s certainly the kind of thing we’ll try to find out more about in the coming days.


So, this probably means there’s no underlying scandal, but again, we will certainly have to wait for the smoke to clear and see if there are some underlying (potentially problematic) reasons for any of this happening.



People will speculate about this development and what effect it might have had on Bohn’s thought process. We will simply have to wait and see.



Folt’s remarks, while not containing any explosive information, do seem a little terse or clipped (if not both). This will create quite a lot of speculation about something going wrong internally at USC. Again, we will just have to wait and see, but Folt’s statement has definitely raised some eyebrows. We can say that much right now.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire