Pat Haden takes over in an official capacity as USC's athletic director today, and his welcome letter to the university community kicks off by being far nicer than he really needs to be to his predecessor, even in the name of professional courtesy:
Mike Garrett was a sensational athletic director. His 17-year body of work was about as good as it gets. His combination of supporting an infrastructure that was as successful at winning as it was at fundraising is unprecedented. More importantly, he led a program that cared about its student-athletes in a most fundamental way. Appropriately, the bar has been set high.
I know more than a few Trojan faithful who would quibble with most of that, but bully for Haden if he managed to write it with a straight face. More admirable still is the calm, positive, matter-of-fact way he addresses the department's current predicament without any bureaucratic tapdancing:
During the period of our NCAA probation we won't wake up each morning with a "woe is me" attitude as a result of the sanctions. I have failed if I cannot create a positive, upbeat environment that cultivates success in spite of the sanctions. We will demonstrate not only the physical strength that it takes to win on the football field, the baseball diamond and the basketball court, but the strength of character that it takes to succeed against the significant challenge now before us. Our football program creates high expectations from all who follow us. We will have challenges in the years ahead, but we will continue to strive to meet the expectations of Trojan Football fans by competing at the highest level every year. We are intent on the continued improvement of our basketball program, and on the return of our baseball program to national prominence.
And while football, basketball and baseball will always be very significant to our athletic department, we field 16 other teams as well. As your A.D., I have the obligation to all 640 of our student-athletes to make sure that their college experience is a full, complete, and robust one where they can compete vigorously and feel the joy and frustration that athletic competition can bring. I welcome this obligation.
Lots to like there. Much, much more at the above link; for more Trojans discussion, visit SB Nation's Conquest Chronicles.