Paolo AugettiESPN2 minutes to read
USC athletic director Mike Boone has resigned from his position, he and the school announced Friday.
Boone’s resignation comes at a surprising time, less than four years after he was hired from Cincinnati to replace Lynn Swan, who stepped down after three years. Boone cited “ongoing health challenges” in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, but no clear reason was given for his decision.
Boone told ESPN’s Pete Tamil that there was an amicable parting with the university.
“It’s an amazing time with USC emerging in the Big Ten with new leadership to move the program forward,” Boone said.
With USC’s athletic department and football team in need of a revamp, the 62-year-old Boone arrived as the first athletic director in the past 25 years without any prior contact with the school.
The biggest personnel move during his tenure was firing head football coach Clay Hilton and hiring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma last year. The move produced immediate results: USC went 4-8 to 11-3 and was one win away from the College Football Playoff while showing off Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams. This year’s team is expected to battle for the CFP spot again with Williams under the spot.
But perhaps the most important decision that began under Bohn’s administration was orchestrating USC’s transition from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten along with UCLA. The sport-modifying move, which was announced last year and will go into effect next year, not only put USC in a conference alongside Michigan State and Ohio, but also allowed them to be part of a seven-year, $7 billion media rights deal between The Big Ten and broadcasters Fox and CBS.
“Over the past four years, USC’s athletics department has transformed into a national force,” University President Carol Wohlt wrote in a letter to the USC community. “I am committed to ensuring we have the appropriate leadership to achieve our goals. As part of that commitment and as we prepare for the transition to the Big Ten, we have conducted a comprehensive review of the athletics department, including its operations, culture, and strategy. Having built a strong foundation over the past few years, it’s time Now for a new direction based on our values and the expertise needed to realize our ambitious vision of athletics at Troy.”
The football team wasn’t the only program moving in the right direction under Boone. The men’s basketball team has made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and just signed LeBron James’ son, Bruni. Boone also hired Lindsey Gottlieb away from the Cleveland Cavaliers to coach its women’s basketball team, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament this spring for its sophomore season.
Along with USC and Cincinnati, Boone previously served as athletic director at Idaho, San Diego, and Colorado.
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