Sources familiar with the USC Board of Trustees and the Trojans coaching situation told me today that USC Board of Trustee members Pat Haden and Ed Roski are leading the search for USC’s next football coach.
Trustee Chair Roski is a billionaire real estate developer who also is the leading figure in the push to bring the NFL back to L.A. and Haden is a former USC and NFL QB, current football announcer and prominent local businessman.
Yesterday I reported that USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s decision-making power at the school had diminished recently and that Garrett was likely to “retire” at the same time USC School President Steven Sample does in August.
The past month, I’ve been told that members of the USC Board of Trustees were considering approaching Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay about succeeding Garrett. Perhaps not coincidentally, McKay signed a five-year contract extension with the Falcons just two weeks ago. The deal is worth $15M.
There’s been additional rumors that Haden was in the running to take over as USC Athletic Director. A USC administration source told me today those rumors are false.
On the USC coaching front, Jack Del Rio reportedly will meet with Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver tomorrow to discuss the direction of the team, and perhaps Del Rio’s future with the franchise.
Media speculation in Jacksonville and around the NFL is mixed as to what Weaver might do with Del Rio. Some think Weaver will fire Del Rio, who would then contractually be owed $15M. More likely, Weaver won’t do anything and if Del Rio wants the USC job, he’ll let him go without blinking.
From what I’m hearing, I wouldn’t be surprised is there’s a decision made by Del Rio about USC before his scheduled meeting with Weaver tomorrow. If Del Rio is to happen, it will happen very fast.
One thing to caution USC fans about when it comes to Del Rio: his personality is the opposite of Pete Carroll’s. While in Jacksonville, he’s never gone out of his way to engage the media or fans.
That also gives a hint why USC may hire glad-handing assistants Ed Orgeron and Kennedy Pola to help front the team with recruits. That isn’t Del Rio’s style.
Along with Orgeron and Pola, another name that has popped up in the local L.A. media today is Jon Tenuta, who is being kicked around as Defensive Coordinator. I haven’t confirmed that with my sources.
I can confirm though through a source that DeWayne Walker is interested in returning to USC as Defensive Coordinator, though my source did not know if Walker had been contacted by Del Rio about the position.
Another name being mentioned for an assistant job at USC is former Arizona State head coach and current Jacksonville Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter. Koetter told a source today that he had yet to hear anything from Del Rio but that “he will soon.”
On the subject of Roski, it has often been said around USC that the real estate mogul’s dream was to hire Carroll away from his alma mater to coach a L.A.-based NFL team that Roski procured for the city. That certainly wasn’t lost on Carroll, and gives another clue as to just how badly the coach wanted to get away from the USC program.