Tag: Pro Football Hall of Famer

NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann Lynn Swann is Hired by USC as Athletics Program Director

USC's New Athletic Director and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (photo via
USC’s New Athletic Director and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (photo via cbsnews.com)

article by Zach Helfand via latimes.com

When former Trojans quarterback Pat Haden was hired as USC’s athletic director in 2010, the university’s marquee sports programs were in deep trouble, having been hammered by NCAA sanctions for rules violations.

On Wednesday, USC chose another of its former football stars, Lynn Swann, to succeed Haden. Swann’s main task — to restore luster to football, USC’s signature sport — will be challenging but not nearly as daunting as that faced by Haden upon his arrival.

Swann, a member of the college and pro football halls of fame, is the third consecutive Trojans football player to lead USC’s athletics program; Haden’s predecessor, Mike Garrett, was a Heisman Trophy-winning running back.

The storied football program, which claims 11 national championships and produces millions in annual revenue, has been in a state of upheaval since former coach Pete Carroll left just before the NCAA imposed its penalties. The Trojans have had four head coaches since Carroll’s departure in 2009 to lead the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Now, the team has a new coach, Clay Helton, who is under a long-term contract and again has all its scholarships, plus a relatively new state-of-the-art football facility and a home field that will be undergoing a $270-million face-lift.

Swann’s appointment was announced in a letter from university President C.L. Max Nikias to the campus community on Wednesday. In it, Nikias predicted Swann would “bring the heart and soul of a Trojan to his position.”

Swann, 64, will be formally introduced during a news conference on campus Thursday morning. In a statement released after Nikias’ announcement, Swann said his goals for USC athletes would be to “graduate, to win and to experience.”

Swann was a star receiver for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, but his experience in major college administration, or lack thereof, drew substantial criticism in the wake of USC’s announcement. Yahoo sports columnist Pat Forde referred to USC as “The University of Self Congratulation.” Another noted that he couldn’t find that the former Pittsburgh Steelers star had “been doing anything the past decade.”

Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Bell Earns College Degree at Age of 74

bobby-bell-college-degreeMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Bobby Bell sat down in the chair, his black gown draped over his shoulders, the black cap tilted just perfectly and the white tassels hanging to his right.

A representative from the University of Minnesota asked the 74-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer if he wanted to wear the graduation attire while he was doing interviews with the media.

“Are you serious?” Bell said with wide eyes and a playful grin. “I waited long enough to wear these.”

Fifty-two years after he left campus for pro football, Bell returned to earn his degree in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies and walk in graduation ceremonies on Thursday. He played in two Super Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs, won a national championship and was a two-time All-American as an offensive lineman and defensive end at Minnesota. But for him, nothing compared to being able to walk across the stage, receive his diploma and fulfill a promise he made to his father when he left tiny Shelby, North Carolina, for Minnesota in 1959.

“This is the top of the pyramid, man,” Bell said. “This is the top of the pyramid.”

Bell was part of the glory years with the Gophers, teaming with the likes of Sandy Stephens and Carl Eller to make Minnesota one of the premiere programs in the country. He won the Outland trophy as the nation’s top lineman and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting before he was drafted by the Chiefs in 1963.

Bell was 13 credits shy of his degree when he entered the working world, both for the Chiefs and General Motors. He played in two Super Bowls and carved out a pro career that got him enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but he never forgot about the promise he made to his father to make education a priority.

His father has long since passed away, but Bell still made it a point to get his degree and proudly wore a watch his father gave to him when he got on the plane for Minnesota almost 60 years ago.

“I know he’s looking down and saying, ‘I told you you could do it,’” Bell said.

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