Lynn Swann Resigns After Three Years As USC Trojans’ Athletic Director

Lynn Swann is a PIttsburgh Steelers legend and NFL Hall of Famer who moved from the field, to the broadcast booth, to politics and then back to college where, for the last three years, he had been the athletic director for his Alma matter, the University of Southern California.

Last night, that role came to an end as Swann resigned.

School president, Carol Folt, announced that the decision was effective immediately and thanked him for his three years at the university.

“I am writing to share my sincere appreciation for Lynn Swann, who has decided to resign from his position as the Director of Athletics effective today.” wrote Folt in a letter to the Trojan community. “Lynn has been a leader on and off the field at USC for nearly five decades, and he will forever be a valued member of the Trojan family.

“Lynn has led our Athletics Department to five national championships in five different women’s and men’s sports during his tenure. Our student-athletes’ cumulative GPA for the past two years and our graduation rate of 86% last year were all-time highs for USC Athletics. We appreciate Lynn’s leadership of the department over these past three years and will continue to be grateful for his historic contributions to USC.”

Swann was an All-American wide receiver for USC from 1971-74, winning a national championship in 1972. He was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft, winning four Super Bowls with the team in the 70s. He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

He was hired by his Alma matter on July 1st, 2016, and while he had some success, particularly with the aforementioned graduation rate at the university, he also presided over the department during a few challenging times, including the national admissions scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues”, where wealthy families were basically buying spots for the children at universities across the nation.

USC was caught up in that federal investigation, where it was discovered that donors used fake recruiting profiles to get their kids into the school. As a result, assistant athletic director, Donna Heinel, was fired, and coaches Jovan Vavic (men’s water polo), Ali Khosroshahin (women’s head soccer coach) and Laura Janke (assistant soccer coach) were all indicted in the scandal that rocked the nation this past March.

In addition to the scandal, the school’s bread and butter, the Trojan football team, had up and down success during Swann’s three years as AD, winning the Rose Bowl in the 2016 season but losing in the Cotton Bowl the following year.

Swann was one of 15 Black Athletic Directors in DI college sports.

The university has formed a search committee and the campaign to find a new AD is underway. In the meantime, former compliance director Dave Roberts will serve as the interim athletic director.

Back to top