"It was really my wife that really drove this process," Haden explained. "She said, ‘This would be a nice new challenge.' And so last Friday I met with Max (Nikias)."
The former star quarterback, who was a member of the Trojans' national championship teams in 1972 and 1974, decided it was the right time to return to where it all started.
"How many chances am I going to get to do this?" Haden said.
The 57-year-old was a two-time academic All-American, Rhodes Scholar, successful broadcaster and businessman, as well as a member of USC's board of trustees, so it's hard to knock his credentials.
At a time when USC has been losing the battle of perception, bringing in Pat Haden is a touchdown.
Haden spent the past 12 years covering Notre Dame football for NBC, so he understands the relationship between the media and the athletic program.
And as the media saw on Tuesday, he is open, engaging and enthusiastic about the challenges ahead.
"I have been lucky enough to be successful in a lot of ways, and we're going to be successful here, I believe, going forward," Haden said.
The move signals a change in direction and vision for USC. It also has added some much-needed energy into a department that has been battered, justified or not, by the national media.
"This is going to be a blast. This is joyful," Haden said. "There are going to be moments I hate it, but most of the time I'm going to love it."
The top two priorities will be winning and compliance. Not just for the football team but for all of the sports teams at USC.
"We want to compete ferociously and win in every sport, but we want to do it ethically and within the rules," he said. "We want to have a culture of compliance here and have the best compliance department in the country."
The school showed not only with the right words, but with their actions on Tuesday, that a commitment to compliance is something that they are taking very seriously.
Several new checks and balances are in place with the hiring of J.K. McKay as the associate athletic director, David M. Roberts as vice president of athletic compliance, the promotion of Ellen Ferris as associate vice president for athletic as well as other measures to aid the compliance efforts.
Coming off of a tumultuous offseason, USC is making the right moves to ensure a bright future.
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