Skip to content
Former Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn was introduced as the new AD at USC.
Camera file photo
Former Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn was introduced as the new AD at USC.

Southern California is happy to have Mike Bohn. Cincinnati is disappointed he’s leaving. And, Colorado is glad he’s gone.

When reports of Bohn being hired as USC athletic director surfaced last week, that was the general opinion of those following the three schools. And, frankly, considering the current state of each school’s athletic departments, all three perspectives are understandable.

USC made Bohn’s official hire official on Thursday morning, tabbing the former Cincinnati and CU boss to lead its athletic program.

CU fired Bohn in May 2013 and Buff nation has been widely pleased with the job being done by his successor, Rick George, who is arguably the second-best athletic director in CU history. (Bill Marolt, who guided the Buffs from 1984-96, gets the top spot).

Under George, CU has had a $160 million football facilities upgrade, dramatic improvements in facilities for women’s sports and overall growth in the emphasis on student-athlete health and well being.

George has taken the CU athletic department to new heights since replacing Bohn, but that doesn’t mean Bohn failed in Boulder. Far from it. George’s fundraising has been off the charts for CU, but Bohn was the most successful fund raiser in program history up to that point.

Bohn also hired men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle, who has enjoy unprecedented success at CU; hired successful women’s soccer coach Danny Sanchez; started up the women’s lacrosse program, which has quickly become a consistent winner; and led CU through the transition from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 in 2010.

The biggest knock on Bohn is the three coaching hires he made in football: Dan Hawkins, Jon Embree and Mike MacIntyre. In 13 years under that trio, CU went 55-106 with one winning season and two bowl appearances.

While Hawkins didn’t work out, Bohn was applauded for luring him away from Boise State, where he went 52-10 in five years. CU was in disarray when Hawkins was hired in 2005 and it was widely viewed as a good choice at the time.

Embree’s two years were a disaster (4-21 record), but that choice wasn’t entirely up to Bohn. And, it’s impossible to know if the MacIntyre era would have looked different had Bohn actually been able to work with him. Bohn hired MacIntyre (who did get the program on better footing), but was fired five months later.

After mixed results at CU, Bohn has enjoyed great success in nearly six years at Cincinnati. His tenure included fundraising for an $87 million renovation to Fifth Third Arena and improvements to other facilities. He hired baseball coach Scott Googins, who took the Bearcats to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1974, and made hires in men’s and women’s basketball and other sports.

Bohn also hired Luke Fickell as football coach in 2017. Fickell’s record since the start of 2018 is 18-3, and the Bearcats are currently at No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Although Bohn is not a big name to USC fans, this is a good hire for the Trojans, who get a solid administrator with experience (he has also been AD at San Diego State and Idaho), a track record of success and, perhaps as important as those qualities, no previous ties to USC.

Bohn brings stability to a department that had three tumultuous years under Lynn Swann. Those close to the USC program felt it was important for the program to move away from former Trojans for the AD position. Bohn is the first USC athletic director in more than 25 years without previous ties to the school.

In addition to bringing a fresh perspective to USC, Bohn will be engaging with the Trojans’ community and give the program a boost with public relations.

He may also be tasked with finding a new football coach soon. Clay Helton’s seat is quite warm at this point, especially after a 56-24 loss to Oregon last week. The Trojans are 10-11 in his last 21 games.


Oregon (No. 7) and Utah (No. 8) both landed in the top eight of the season’s first College Football Playoff rankings this week. That puts both in a solid position going into the final few weeks of the season. Both teams are off this week. … The best game of the week might be in Tempe, Ariz., where Arizona State (5-3, 2-3) hosts USC (5-4, 4-2). The winner becomes bowl eligible. … Washington (5-4, 2-4) could also become bowl eligible this week with a win at Oregon State (4-4, 3-2). … OSU is 4-2 in its last six Pac-12 road games, but has lost 11 consecutive conference home games. … The home team is 17-17 in Pac-12 games this year. Oregon and Utah are both 3-0 at home, while California, CU and OSU are all 0-2.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.