Talks with Tim Floyd send wrong message

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that USC Athletic Director Pat Haden reached out to former USC men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd. The two met for over three hours to discuss the Trojans’ coaching situation beyond this season. Haden declined to comment, but Floyd said everything “went well.”

At this point, I’d like to interject. Tim Floyd? The guy who unceremoniously left town and played a part in the Trojans vacating their 21-win 2007-08 season for possible NCAA infractions? Has Haden lost his mind?

Some will throw out the cliches that come with an ongoing coaching search — Haden is covering his bases and doing his due diligence by speaking to Floyd, who has an intimate knowledge of the program and was fairly successful at USC. After all, Floyd was 85-55 with the Trojans, making three straight NCAA tournament appearances. Few have had his level of success in school history. I get that logic, to a certain extent.

But Floyd, who has maintained his innocence in the wake of the O.J. Mayo scandal that sent shockwaves through an already fragile basketball program, is about as toxic as they come for an athletic director who has tried to distance himself from any shady activity. Whether the current University of Texas at El Paso coach was simply giving his two cents or throwing his name out there as a candidate makes no difference — Haden should not be speaking with Floyd, period.

Though USC has been playing inspired basketball of late, picking up a big-time victory over then-No. 11 Arizona and going 6-2 in its last eight contests, no one can blame Haden for seeing what the coaching market looks like beyond interim option Bob Cantu. In fact, I applaud him for reaching out to longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, who is from Southern California and is the rumored successor to Jim Boeheim.

It’s a match that makes sense for both sides — Hopkins returns home and gets his first head coaching opportunity while USC gets one of the most desired assistants in the country with the pedigree of an elite basketball program to boot — which is what makes the Floyd situation even more dumbfounding.

There are a baker’s dozen of elite assistants across the country licking their chops at the opportunity to be the head honcho at a major university. There are also plenty of other candidates, including Memphis’ Josh Pastner and Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, who would have some level of interest in the position.

And there’s still Cantu, who has righted the ship for an underperforming team that is entering the Pac-12 tournament playing its best basketball of the season. The options are there. No need to muddy up the process by bringing bad press into this decision.

That’s what Floyd really is  — bad press. He’s pointed out that, technically, the NCAA never found him guilty of any violations. Most have their doubts, but even under the assumption that he’s clean, what’s the point of entertaining the thought of bringing him back? If he truly had no idea about any recruiting violations, then that in itself is an issue no USC sports team should want to deal with. Any media story involving Floyd would make its way back to Mayo.

I’m all for thinking outside the box with this pending coaching decision. I hope Haden chooses someone with recruiting power, NCAA tournament pedigree and the passion necessary to revitalize a mostly dormant team. With Floyd, however, Haden is taking things a step too far. He’s without a doubt an accomplished coach, one capable of turning around a program as he did with USC a few years ago. But when it comes down to it, there are other choices that make more sense and carry far less baggage. The last thing USC needs right now is more controversy surrounding one of its sports teams.


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4 replies
  1. Lucky1950
    Lucky1950 says:

    Here is a summary of what Tim Floyd did (while not winning any conference championships in 4 years):

    1. Worked through a handler, Rodney Guillory, who said he could deliver
    OJ Mayo (starting in Mayo’s junior year of high school) to USC, causing
    him to become a representative of the institution’s athletic interests
    in violation of NCAA rules.

    2. Floyd gave his assistant men’s basketball coach the name and phone
    number of Guillory. He then ignored the article found by the assistant
    coach that identified Guillory as a “runner” for a sports agent in a
    case involving another NCAA college.

    3. Floyd received similar information from USC’s compliance office
    later in 2005, and in 2006 the USC director of compliance told him about
    concerns over the recruitment of Mayo and asked that the recruitment
    end; he failed to heed the advice, and Mayo attended USC for one year.
    OJ Mayo and his associates (brother, girlfriend, and girlfriend’s
    mother) took benefits (cash, lodging, merchandise, automobile
    transportation, meals, airline transportation, and services) from
    professional sports agents (Bill Duffy Associates) and/or persons who
    acted on behalf of these agents (Guillory) starting during the
    recruitment process though his time at USC.

    4. There was nothing in the NCAA report about Floyd giving Guillory
    $1000 for Mayo, so Mayo’s “friend” Johnson apparently lied about that.

    5. The results of these violations: USC vacated its 21 wins from the
    2007-08 season, withdrew from postseason consideration for the 2009-10
    season, limited basketball scholarships to 12 for 2009-10 and 2010-11,
    reduced by one the number of men’s basketball coaches permitted to
    engage in off-campus recruiting in summer 2010, and reduced the total
    number of recruiting days in men’s basketball by 20 days for 2010-11.

    6. USC also returned $206,020 received from the Pac-10 for 2008 men’s
    basketball tournament participation, disassociated Mayo from USC,
    released three men’s basketball prospective athletes from their letters
    of intent, and was put on probation for four years.

  2. John
    John says:

    Where is the editor of the DT?

    Anything from anyone, no matter how shoddy or self-serving gets published. WTF?

    This makes USC look very mediocre and I do not like it one bit. Step forward Editor and be named–you really seem to have no interest in the integrity fo the DT. Shame on you.

  3. Jim T
    Jim T says:

    I know you are practicing to be a journalist, I get that, but there needs to be an editor at the DT that stops people from putting out rediculeous articles like this one. Your premise is USC shouldn’t hire TF because it would look bad. Really? Since when should leaders like Haden make decisions based on public perception (which BTW is an incorrect perception).

    Further, it’s actually USC’s fault for not going on a PR campaign to clear up the inconsistencies with the NCAA and their witch hunt.

    Giving in to public perception WRT Floyd is not the way you lead.

  4. Edward Morris
    Edward Morris says:

    What a horrid little comment. Floyd gets run out of town by an incompetent athletic director looking for a scapegoat for the football disaster and an attempt to right a wrong is met with this drivel? Floyd Dan a first class program, graduated his kids and won. Kiffen has a ton of NCAA reprimands…he’s still coach. Double standard here ?

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