It appears that USC has identified its next athletic director.
First reported by the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, the school is nearing a deal to hire Cincinnati’s Mike Bohn to run the athletic department.
#USC is nearing a deal with Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn, a source close to the process tells The Athletic.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 1, 2019
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel confirmed that Bohn is the leading candidate at the school and an announcement of his hire could be made in the coming days. The hire, should it come to fruition, comes following the departure of Lynn Swann, who resigned as USC’s AD on Sept. 9.
Bohn, 58, has been the athletic director at Cincinnati since 2014. Cincinnati has made multi-million dollar renovations to both Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena in his time with the school. He also was the athletic director who hired football coach Luke Fickell to replace Tommy Tuberville. Cincinnati is currently ranked No. 17 in the country.
He has also briefly spent time in the Pac-12. Bohn was the athletic director at Colorado from 2005-13 and was in charge when the school moved from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 in 2011. He came to Colorado from San Diego State, where he was the AD for two years.
Bohn resigned at Colorado after he was told the school wanted to make a change. When announcing his resignation, Bohn provided the media a list of the things he had done while at the school including renovations at Folsom Field and the creation of a Colorado Hall of Fame.
Colorado struggled in football while Bohn was in charge, however. He hired Dan Hawkins to replace Gary Barnett in 2005. Hawkins won fewer than four games a season in his five years with the program. His replacement, Jon Embree, was the team’s coach for two seasons before Bohn hired Mike MacIntyre as Embree’s replacement. MacIntyre was fired after the 2018 season and replaced by current Colorado coach Mel Tucker.
Bohn isn’t a USC alum
Bohn, the apparent target of recently-appointed USC president Carol Folt, represents a departure for USC. The school’s last three athletic directors — Lynn Swann, Pat Haden and Mike Garrett — played football for the Trojans. Swann had no significant experience in collegiate athletic administration before being selected to succeed Haden in 2016.
Swann left behind an athletic department that has been plagued by off-field scandals and an underperforming football program. Not only did Swann surprisingly elect to retain football coach Clay Helton (he also gave him a lucrative extension) after a 5-7 record in 2018 — the program’s first losing season since 2000 — his department became entrenched in the massive college admissions scandal. That scandal saw Donna Heinel, an executive athletics administrator at the school, allegedly take more than $1 million in bribes. On top of that, several USC coaches, all of whom were fired, were charged with racketeering. Additionally, a USC assistant men’s basketball coach, Tony Bland, was arrested in the federal college basketball corruption investigation.
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