USC athletic director Mike Bohn abruptly resigns

USC will have a new athletic director as it transitions to the Big Ten.

Mike Bohn resigned from his position as athletic director on Friday, university president Carol Folt announced. Bohn oversaw USC’s decision to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten and hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma as football coach during his four years at USC. He is also credited with modernizing the USC athletic department as a whole.

Bohn, 62, cited health reasons and spending time with his family in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. His resignation is effective immediately.

“I have been fortunate to have had so many wonderful opportunities and met so many terrific people, and I depart wishing the very best to all with whom I worked and served. In moving on, it is important now that I focus on being present with my treasured family, addressing ongoing health challenges, and reflecting on how I can be impactful in the future,” Bohn’s statement said.

Athletic Director Mike Bohn introduces the new head football coach, Lincoln Riley, in Los Angeles, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Athletic Director Mike Bohn introduces the new head football coach, Lincoln Riley, in Los Angeles, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Bohn arrived at USC in November 2019 from Cincinnati and was tasked with overhauling a bumbling athletic department and revitalizing the struggling USC football program. Bohn initially retained Clay Helton as head coach before firing him early in the 2021 season, opening the door for a head-start in the coaching search that ultimately yielded Riley in a major coup.

Later, Bohn played a key role in USC moving on from the Pac-12 and joining the Big Ten. USC will play one more season in the Pac-12 before officially becoming a Big Ten member ahead of the 2024 season. With Bohn resigning, the school’s next athletic director will be in charge of overseeing that significant transition from conference to conference.

“After more than 40 years of college athletics leadership, it is the right time to step away from my position as Director of Athletics at the University of Southern California,” Bohn said. “I have dedicated my life to serving student-athletes and advancing the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics. I will always be proud of leading the program out of the most tumultuous times in the history of the profession and at USC with a restored reputation and national milestone accomplishments. I led the process to join the Big Ten Conference, hired marquee head coaches, produced the highest graduation rate in school history and won numerous national and conference championships.”

In a message to the university community, Folt said she will put together a “transition team” as the school launches a national search for Bohn’s replacement.

“Over the last four years, the USC athletics department has transformed into a national powerhouse. In our singular pursuit of excellence, I am committed to ensuring we have the right leadership in place to achieve our goals,” Folt said. “As part of that commitment and as we prepare to move to the Big Ten, we conducted a thorough review of the athletics department, including its operations, culture, and strategy. Having built a strong foundation over the last few years, now is the time for a new direction grounded in our values and in expertise needed to fulfill our aspirational vision for Trojan athletics.”

Before his time at USC, Bohn served as the athletic director at Cincinnati, Colorado, San Diego State and Idaho.

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