The announcement that Lynn Swann has left USC is disappointing, but not surprising.
[Note: Swann says he “resigned” and USC says he was “ﬁred”]
While those of us on the outside do not know what is going on there, from all appearances, it seems that the USC Athletic Program is in disarray.
This is a sad day for Trojans, because Lynn is one of the greatest Trojans of them all. He also became a big star in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers where his team won several Super Bowl Championships.
There was an announcement from USC that they were “looking for a well-qualiﬁed candidate who could hit the ground running.” Those words are very familiar to me since I heard them many times when I was a Trojan student.
When I was at USC, in the best day of my life I would have been unable to earn a place on the USC football team. We were pursuing different goals. Most of them were hoping that we would one day make big money playing in the NFL. I was also hoping to advance my career in engineering. We all knew that we had extra obstacles to overcome, but we were doing the best that we could.
One of the irritants for us at USC was that that powerful Trojan football team did not have any African American assistants on the coaching staff. When this subject came up. we were told that USC, “was actively searching for well-qualiﬁed assistants.” As of this writing, they have made some hiring’s.
I think that it is also worth noting that Stanford University hired African-American Dennis Green to be their head football coach in 1989. In a similar vein, they hired Tyrone Willingham, in 1995, and later David Shaw in 2011. Shaw is still their current head football coach.
The fact of the matter is that USC, unlike Stanford, is a leader in providing opportunities for minorities. That is especially ironic since many of the worlds most famous and beloved African Americans and athletes attended that institution.
Each of these institutions is aggressively looking for head coaches and administrators. They are apparently very difﬁcult to ﬁnd. That used to be the case for all of them. They are looking for an athlete to play quarterback. No matter how hard they looked, they could not. Now, all of a sudden, it seems to me, many high schools, colleges, and professional teams have African American quarterbacks. Where on earth did they all come from? Since it was so difﬁcult to ﬁnd them, they must have all been hiding?
In the spirit of Harriet Tubman, college athletes and their parents should demand to know what any recruiting institution is actually doing to promote equal opportunities for all of the students. That means, not what they say that they’re going to do but what they have already done. You can be absolutely certain this will motivate them to do what they should be doing because it is the right thing, and that is also what they need to do if they want to have winning teams.
As for Lynn Swann, on the football ﬁeld, you were one of the greatest of all Trojans! Best of luck to you and sorry things did not work out.