The Sports Report: It looks like USC has a new athletic director
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Why is Cinderella lousy at sports? She’s always running away from the ball.
Mike Bohn will be named USC’s new athletic director today, becoming the first to assume the post without any previous ties to the university since Mike McGee, who had been the only outsider ever to lead USC athletics.
USC had zeroed in on Bohn as its choice last week, but his hiring was delayed as the university conducted background checks.
Bohn spent the last five years at Cincinnati in the same position. McGee also came to USC from Cincinnati.
Bohn will be charged with the daunting task of restoring luster to a high-profile department scarred by scandal — and still dealing with questions of its own culpability.
Amid that fallout, Bohn’s hiring, the most significant yet for President Carol L. Folt, sends an unambiguous message from the university’s new leadership.
“There is a moment right now at USC,” Folt told The Times in October. “No one is happy about the things that have happened. If I have any opportunity right now, it’s to take advantage of people’s willingness to say, ‘OK, everything is not perfect.’ ”
As USC attempts to start anew, Bohn, 58, is the fourth athletic director at the school in a decade. Unlike the other three, he arrives at USC with considerable experience in collegiate athletics administration. Before taking the reins at Cincinnati, where he helped usher a middling program overlooked by conference realignment into relevance, Bohn served as athletic director at Colorado, San Diego State and Idaho.
Bohn’s first order as director could ultimately define his tenure.
With USC at 5-4, now trailing Utah by a game in the Pac-12 South Division, a decision on the status of embattled football coach Clay Helton looms large. Outside the program, calls for his immediate ouster reached a fevered pitch in the wake of last Saturday’s 56-24 loss to Oregon and haven’t abated.
Prominent boosters have already made clear their desire for USC and its new athletic director to pursue Urban Meyer, the three-time national title-winning former coach long coveted by disenchanted Trojans fans. But whether Folt and USC’s new leadership would even support that pursuit remains an open question.
Bill Plaschke: Mike Bohn brings USC integrity, which means he can’t hire Urban Meyer
The Clippers put up a furious rally, but couldn’t overcome Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s 38 points and 16 rebounds, in a 129-124 loss on Wednesday night.
Antetokounmpo just missed a triple-double with nine assists. He’s posted at least 10 rebounds and five assists in each of the first eight games of the season, the first player since at least 1972-73 to do so.
The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard, who rested for the first half of a home back-to-back. He’ll play against Portland tonight.
Montrezl Harrell had a career-high 34 points and 13 rebounds in his first start of the season. Lou Williams added 34 points and 11 assists, and Patrick Beverley had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Down nine, the Clippers rallied to lead Milwaukee before the first quarter’s end — only to trail by 17 eight minutes later. And yet, with 23 seconds remaining in a chaotic fourth quarter, they trailed by only two points and the entirety of Staples Center’s lower bowl seemed to be standing, waiting for the moment that seemed so distant only hours earlier. But it wasn’t to be.
“That was great,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I want to win the game though.”
Dylan Hernandez: Clippers stick to the plan with Kawhi Leonard, but fans aren’t happy
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In their first game of the season, the Bruins exhibited flashes of new head coach Mick Cronin’s trademark tenacious defense but appeared completely adrift on offense before finally saving their coach from an inglorious introduction to the home fans by making the necessary plays at the end of a 69-65 victory over Long Beach State that was every bit as ugly as the score indicated. (Man, that was a long sentence. Everybody take a breath.)
UCLA finished the game on a 15-7 run that included some feistiness in the closing seconds when guard Chris Smith blocked a shot and forward Jalen Hill forced a jump ball that went back to the Bruins. Cronin said he saw value in winning a game in which his team struggled against an opponent that played five different defenses.
“If you can be in a dogfight and win it,” Cronin said, “you can get a lot more out of it than if you end up blowing somebody out.”
The Chargers can recall being showered by debris, doused with beer and enveloped by the wafting smell of weed.
Now, they have the opportunity to play one final time in the home of the Oakland Raiders, in a game both teams desperately need — a game matching longtime AFC West rivals.
It’s also a game played at night, giving the fans ample time to elevate their levels of both excitement and blood-alcohol.
“It’ll be awesome,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “The aura of what that place has meant over the years will be alive, for sure.”
The Raiders (4-4) will be moving to Las Vegas after the season, meaning the game tonight will be Rivers’ farewell to this place, unless the teams should meet in the playoffs.
It will serve as a fitting bookend for him, his first career start coming here on Sept. 11, 2006.
The Chargers (4-5) won that Monday night 27-0, with Rivers completing eight of 11 pass attempts for 108 yards and a touchdown — one of his least productive outings.
“Only threw it 11 times,” Rivers recalled this week. “I think I can talk [interim offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] into more than 11 attempts on Thursday.”
All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980
at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)
at Detroit 13, Chargers 10
Houston 27, at Chargers 20
Chargers 30, at Miami 10
Denver 20, at Chargers 13
Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17
at Tennessee 23, Chargers 20
Chargers 17, at Chicago 16
at Chargers 26, Green Bay 11
Today at Oakland, 5:15 p.m., Fox, NFL Network
Nov. 18 vs. Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ESPN (at Mexico City, counts as home game for Chargers)
Dec. 1 at Denver, 1:15 p.m., CBS
Dec. 8 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Fox
Dec. 15 vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., NBC
Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Oakland, TBD
Dec. 29 at Kansas City, 10 a.m., CBS
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Portland at Clippers, 7:30 p.m., TNT, AM 570
Kings at Ottawa, 4:30 p.m., FSW
BORN ON THIS DATE
1921: Golfer Jack Fleck (d. 2014)
1936: Basketball player/coach Al Attles
1938: Baseball player Jim Kaat
1944: Baseball player Joe Niekro (d. 2006)
1966: Jockey Calvin Borel
1970: NFL player Andre Hastings
DIED ON THIS DATE
1978: Boxer Gene Tunney, 80
2006: Baseball player Johnny Sain, 89
2011: Boxer Joe Frazier, 67
2012: Boxer Carmen Basilio, 85
Joe Frazier‘s greatest knockouts. Watch them here.
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