Appointment of new athletic director

November 7, 2019

Dear Trojan Family, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Bohn as USC’s new director of athletics. Mike has had a 35-year career in athletics, grounded in integrity and leadership, and is known for always placing students first. He began his career at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and has successfully led athletics departments at the University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado, San Diego State University, and the University of Idaho. Mike knows how to compete and win, having built and run highly competitive athletics programs. His drive coupled with his focus on preparing student-athletes for success on and off the field is certain to be a winning combination for USC in the months and years ahead. Mike is excited to be returning to California and to the Pac-12.

I am very grateful to our 11-member search advisory committee, chaired by USC Trustee Suzanne Nora Johnson, for its advice and leadership throughout the process. The committee, comprising faculty, staff, alumni, and two student-athletes, met with more than 200 student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff in three listening sessions. The feedback from these discussions and broad community input helped us develop the criteria needed for the new director of USC Athletics— integrity; a proven track record of excellence, experience, and success; a person who creates a culture of respect, diversity, and inclusion; a commitment to all of our programs; and a focus on the success of our student-athletes on and off the playing field—and Mike fits the bill. He will hold the Charles Griffin Cale Director of Athletics’ Chair.

Mike values the unique strengths and achievements of USC and is eager to lead a dynamic and thriving athletics department. He comes to USC, having most recently served as the athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, where he had a great deal of success, including rebuilding the football program, which placed in the top 25 in 2018, with a current ranking of 17th. During his tenure, the team had one of the best winning percentages in college football. He also helped lead its men’s basketball program to three consecutive seasons of 28+ victories and to NCAA Tournament appearances in every year of his administration. Under Mike’s leadership, the athletics department won several conference championships and enjoyed post-season appearances in multiple sports, including women’s and men’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s baseball.

At USC, academic success and gender equality are top priorities for our students and our student-athletes. Mike’s department at Cincinnati received an “A” grade from the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports for seven consecutive years. This year, 77 percent of all student-athletes had a GPA of 3.0 or better, continuing a record-breaking trend at the University of Cincinnati. The university’s teams recorded a departmental GPA of 3.372. For three years in a row, Cincinnati student-athletes posted school records for Academic Progress Rate (APR), this year scoring 990.

Mike also understands the need for first-rate sports facilities. Most recently, he oversaw a major renovation of the Fifth Third Bank Arena for basketball, guided the expansion of Nippert Stadium for football, and made improvements to Gettler Stadium for soccer and track and field, the Marge Schott Stadium for baseball, and the Trabert-Talbert Tennis Center.

Among many other accomplishments, Mike also has experience in the Pac-12 Conference. While athletic director at the University of Colorado, Mike oversaw a successful transition to the Pac-12, and led his department to four conference championship titles within two years, including its first in men’s basketball in more than four decades.

I want to thank a number of people for their support and commitment to USC Athletics—starting with Dave Roberts, who has done a remarkable job serving as interim director of athletics for the last two months. He has been a positive presence and a steady leader. We are fortunate that Dave will continue to be an important part of USC Athletics during this transition. I also want to thank our committed staff, and our outstanding coaches for all they do every day. Times of change can be unsettling, and they work hard to see our programs and our student-athletes succeed.

And, finally, we owe a special thanks to our student-athletes, fans, loyal supporters, and friends who inspire us with their dedication to USC. Mike and I will work together to build an athletics department that represents comprehensive excellence and integrity, and continues the legendary Trojan tradition of success both on and off the field.

Mike is known for engaging all members of the community, from alumni and fans to faculty and staff. He is a constant presence on the field, attends school events on and off campus, and participates actively as part of the full life of the university. When you see him out and about—and you certainly will—please join me in welcoming Mike and his wife, Kim, to our Trojan Family.


Carol L. Folt

Adobe PDF version