Highlights from Lynn Swann introductory news conference on Thursday:
* USC president Max Nikias got things started by saying he was looking for someone who was a leader, not a manager. Nikias added later that the search came down to 7 “serious” finalists and that the head of the search firm had traveled to Swann’s home in Pittsburgh for a 4-hour sitdown. Nikias didn’t give any particulars on the other finalists although he added the group of overall candidates included sitting athletic directors, NFL front office people, and even one hand-written recommendation for him to consider Barack Obama.
* Nikias said he told Pat Haden of his choice about 5 minutes before he sent out the memo announcing the hire. He said there was no Board of Trustees or Haden involvement in the decision, it was a Nikias decision.
* Nikias was asked about potential of McNair case and any future USC action, he replied “We monitor everything that’s going on but, as far as I’m concerned, the sanctions are behind us”
* When Swann came to the podium he immediately showed off the speaking skills that he has developed over the years, he definitely has the well-honed speaking persona of a politician or motivational speaker.
* Swann talked about preparation for the job “There are a lot of things in life that I planned for but this was not necessarily one of them. It is a job that I’ve felt I prepared my whole life for.” He said the 3 main traits he brings is 1) I listen, 2) I understand my skill set, 3) I’m not afraid to make a decision. He referenced the listening part as being an important aspect of leadership.
* Swann met Thursday morning prior to the media session with athletic department staff. He told them he isn’t going to try to walk in as the smartest guy in the room and he’s not here to clean house. He will work with the staff to figure out how to move forward. “I feel like I’ve got the starting job now so I need to figure out the weaknesses of the defense and develop a plan to make it work”
* He also added that the ultimate goal is to take care of the student-athletes. He has 3 goals for them; 1) Graduate, 2) Win, 3) Experience college life. “I want them to be prepared for the opportunities that will be presented to them in life”
* Swann did meet with Clay Helton this morning and he acknowledged that “Football is the #1 asset of the athletic department”