April 15, 2016 – Executive search firm Brill Neumann Associates has placed pro football hall of fame wide receiver and USC alumnus Lynn Swann as athletic director of the University of Southern California (USC). Pat Haden retired from his position as AD, effective in June, ending his guidance of the Trojans through a tumultuous period in the school’s history. Mr. Swann played at USC in the early 1970s before a nine-season career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“To his new role, Lynn Swann will bring the heart and soul of a Trojan,” said university president C.L. Max Nikias. “He shares our profound dedication to combining academic excellence with athletic excellence.”
USC is a private, not-for-profit, and nonsectarian research university founded in 1880 with its main campus in the city area of Los Angeles. As California’s oldest private research university, USC has historically educated a large number of the region’s business leaders and professionals. Its athletics have won 123 total team national championships, 97 for men and 26 for women, including non-NCAA championships.
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Brill Neumann, a search firm focused on finding leaders for institutions of higher education, academic medical centers, and research institutes, is currently leading a variety of recruiting assignments for universities. It is spearheading a vice president of human resources search for Brandeis University, a treasurer search for Emory University, a vice president of student affairs search for Kent State University, a president search for Pine Manor College, and a chief financial officer search for Trinity College, among a host of others. The firm is co-led by co-founders Nicholas Brill and Elizabeth Neumann.
“Brill Neumann brings valuable experience working with USC, and to me directly, on previous executive searches, including senior vice president positions,” said Mr. Nikias.
USC is one of an expanding number of schools turning to an executive search firm to find new athletics directors:
- Last month, Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search recruited David Benedict as athletic director at the University of Connecticut. The firm also placed Mark Jackson as director of athletics at Villanova University. And just last week Parker was tapped by the University of Washington (UW) to help find its next athletic director. A UW spokesperson said the school will pay the search firm $105,000 for its role in generating leading candidates and seeing the search process through to completion.
- Korn Ferry, the nation’s largest search firm, just placed Josh Whitman as the new athletics director for the University of Illinois. The University is said to have paid Korn Ferry $140,000 for its work on the search.
- Sports and entertainment-focused executive recruiter Turnkey Search was recently selected by the University of Minnesota to lead its search for a new athletics director. Beth Goetz has served as interim AD since Norwood Teague resigned in August after allegedly sexually harassing colleagues.
- DHR International placed Mark Coyle as athletic director for Syracuse University. The search was completed by the global leader of DHR’s sports practice, Glenn Sugiyama, and executive vice president, Pat Richter.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media