named the University of Southern California’s Athletic Director on July 1, 2016, Hall of Famer and former Trojan football star has been hard at work preparing to take USC’s athletic department to higher heights.
Swann becomes the second African American in USC’s history to hold the position and is one of fewer than a dozen to hold the job at the major college level.
“I’m so fortunate to have inherited a great staff,” said Swann on an exclusive phone interview with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “They’re all in 100% on bringing USC back to winning National Championships. But the most important goal is certainly the young men and women who play sports here and go to school. We want to make sure they have a great experience here at USC and that they get their degrees and that they have a chance to be on a team that does win.”
Swann is excited for the opportunity to kick off the 2016 college football season against #1ranked Alabama in a national televised match-up on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8 P.M. ET (ABC).
Saturday’s opponent stirs up a bit of nostalgia for the former Trojan.
“When I was a freshman here we opened up against Alabama in 1970,” replied Swann. “And my first year as a starter, my sophomore year it was Alabama here at the Coliseum. So now as an Athletic Director, I get to lead the university against Alabama one more time. We are looking to go up on them with a win.”
Unfortunately, the Crimson Tide would claim victory over the Trojans during Swann’s sophomore season but the wide out would finish that year with 23 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Even though that was 45 years ago and a lot has changed since then, certain things have remained the same at USC.
“We have a great history and tradition,” said Swann confidently. “The culture of wanting to be the best has not changed. We believe in winning and we believe in setting kids up to do the hard work necessary to achieve their goals and to reach their maximum potential.”
Blessed with the golden opportunity to change the lives of young people and help shape their course of direction for greatness, Swann will resort to bringing in a few of his fellow Trojans and Gold Jackets this season to help promote the values of the game.
“I talked to the great Ronnie Lott,” said Swann. “He is someone who I would like to bring in from time to time and be able to talk to the athletes about what the real world is like on a professional level and the expectation. That’s the key here with what we are trying to give these young women and young men is a foundation, not just in sports but in an education and in an ability to go out and succeed where ever they go.”
After his Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Swann worked for ABC Sports from 1976-2006, where he covered the NFL, college football, six Olympics and multiple Kentucky Derbies among other events.
Now, Swann is back in a familiar place where his illustrious football career began and tasked with the job of building and shaping the minds of the future. One thing is clear, he feels right at home.
“I always kept a toll and a foot in California,” said Swann. My parents are in northern California, I sat on the board here and I have a company here as well. So, I’ve been in and out of California consistently, it’s not like moving back, a part of me has always been here. Like now, a part of me has always been in Pittsburgh. I’ll always believe I have two homes.” Back to news