Football remains the most important item for Lynn Swann at USC – Los Angeles Times

6 months ago Comments Off on Football remains the most important item for Lynn Swann at USC – Los Angeles Times

USC’s hiring of Lynn Swann as the school’s new athletic director was met with several questions.

Why did USC hire another of its former football stars? What about Swann’s lack of experience running an athletic department?

Here’s the reality: It doesn’t matter.

While it would be nice if the up-and-coming men’s basketball program could ascend to national prominence or for the women’s teams to win some more national championships, the only sport that really means anything at USC is football.

“I think, certainly, you look at football being the No. 1 asset of the athletic department, in terms of revenue and success,” Swann acknowledged.

How Swann is judged will come down to how the football team performs. And how the football team performs will come down to Clay Helton, who is entering his first full season as head coach.

If Helton is the right person to lead the program, then Swann is set. All Swann would have to do is retain him.

But if Helton isn’t the long-term solution, Swann will have to figure out not only the right time to make a change, but also how to go about replacing him.

Swann offered no indications of how he might go about doing that at his introductory news conference Thursday. Perhaps he didn’t know.

While declaring his goal was for the football team to win national championships, he was careful not to define what he considered an acceptable season.

“Every step along the way is a step to a national championship,” Swann said. “Got to win the first game. You take it one game at a time. You got to win the first game, you got to win the second game. You got to continue to move it down the line. That’s the way I look at it.”