USC released a media advisory Wednesday night stating that President Carol L. Folt will introduce the school’s new athletic director Thursday morning at 10 am. Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn will become USC’s newest athletic director, ending a run of three-straight former USC football players to hold the position. Bohn will be the first athletic director without Trojan ties since USC hired Mike McGee in 1984, and he was also hired from Cincinnati.
The announcement ends a period of nearly two months that USC has operated without a permanent athletic director, after Lynn Swann resigned on Sept. 9 and was replaced by Dave Roberts on an interim basis. Swann had no significant experience necessary for the role, and that became an important qualification as the Trojans searched for his replacement.
Bohn was a two-sport athlete at Kansas, where he played football and baseball. USC will mark the fifth program for which he has served as athletic director. He began his career at Idaho, then moved to San Diego State and on to Colorado, where he spent a majority of his career — 2005-2013. He has been at Cincinnati since 2014 and now takes over an athletic department with plenty of questions that need answers, including cleaning up an image that was tremendously harmed with its involvement in the college admissions scandal.
But one of the first situations where Bohn will need to act relates to head football coach Clay Helton. After posting a 5-7 record in 2018, the Trojans sit at 5-4 with three games remaining this season. Helton does have a Rose Bowl win and a Pac-12 Championship to his name, but those are shrinking in the distance when compared to this 10-11 run over the past two seasons. Recruiting has suffered as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Helton’s future at USC, and a decisive action is needed — either throwing full support behind Helton, or announcing a move in a different direction — at some point over the next few weeks in order to bring some stability to the program.
What makes the decision especially interesting is the potential for USC to make a run at former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who serves as an analyst for Fox Sports and was national championships at Florida and Ohio State.
Bohn oversaw several major projects during his Cincinnati tenure, including overseeing the opening of the $86-million Nippert Stadium Renovation & Expansion project, as well as spearheading an $87-million fundraising campaign to renovate Fifth Third Arena. Bohn hired football coach Luke Fickell — a former Meyer assistant who has the Bearcats ranked in the top 25 — as well as baseball, swimming and diving, track and field, tennis, and dance coaches at Cincinnati.