USC athletic director Mike Bohn resigns after 3 1/2 years in charge

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California athletic director Mike Bohn has resigned.

USC confirmed the 62-year-old Bohn's resignation Friday, roughly 3 1/2 years after he succeeded Lynn Swann in the high-profile job.

The Trojans' athletic department experienced a surge of success during Bohn's tenure, and the school also made the momentous decision to move to the Big Ten in 2024. Bohn was the first AD at USC in 25 years who wasn't a former Trojans football player with no administrative experience, and the veteran executive led the school's return to national prominence in multiple sports.

Bohn mentioned “ongoing health challenges” in a statement issued to the Los Angeles Times about his resignation, but Bohn and the school provided no clear reason for the surprising move. The Times reported that USC had recently fielded concerns about Bohn’s management style from athletic department employees, but the school and Bohn didn’t mention those concerns in their announcements.

Bohn didn't immediately return a phone message seeking further clarification.

In a letter to alumni and the school, USC President Carol Folt briefly thanked Bohn for his service “during a time of rapid transformation and growth.” Folt hired Bohn in November 2019.

“Over the last four years, the USC athletics department has transformed into a national powerhouse,” Folt wrote. “In our singular pursuit of excellence, I am committed to ensuring we have the right leadership in place to achieve our goals. As part of that commitment and as we prepare to move to the Big Ten, we conducted a thorough review of the athletics department, including its operations, culture, and strategy. Having built a strong foundation over the last few years, now is the time for new direction grounded in our values and in expertise needed to fulfill our aspirational vision for Trojan athletics.”

Bohn is the former athletic director at Idaho, San Diego State, Colorado and Cincinnati. He left the Bearcats to take over a USC department that had struggled through years of scandal and NCAA sanctions while being led by Mike Garrett, Pat Haden and Swann — three former USC football stars who had never worked in athletic administration before being handed one of the biggest jobs in the country.

After Bohn fired embattled head coach Clay Helton early in the 2021 season, the long-struggling USC football team made a dramatic one-year return to national title contention last year under coach Lincoln Riley. The Trojans seem poised to contend again this fall behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams.

The USC men’s basketball team has made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Andy Enfield. The Trojans will also have a loaded roster next season that includes Bronny James, making them one of the nation's most compelling programs.

Bohn hired experienced coach Lindsay Gottlieb away from the Cleveland Cavaliers to lead the women’s basketball team, which posted a nine-win improvement and made the NCAA Tournament this spring in Gottlieb’s second season. The Trojans also have continued to excel in several smaller sports during Bohn's tenure, most recently with their beach volleyball team winning its third straight national championship earlier this month.

And in the biggest financial development, Bohn shepherded USC’s surprising move alongside city rival UCLA to the Big Ten and its seven-year, $7 billion media rights deal with multiple networks.


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