Mike Garrett, a former American football player who won the Heisman Trophy in 1965 as a halfback for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans, will become the new Athletic Director for Cal State LA. He succeeds Dan Bridges, who will retire on December 31 after ten years in the position. Garrett was introduced Friday, Nov. 20 at a news conference on campus. He will officially begin his duties in January 1st, 2016.
Garrett, 71, will oversee a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II program that fields teams in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and track and field; baseball; and women’s volleyball, tennis, and cross-country. The Golden Eagles compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Before coming to Cal State LA, Garrett served as the Athletic Director at USC from 1993 to 2010. Pat Haden then replaced him after the NCAA sanctions, which involved the scandal surrounding football player Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo. And then he was hired as the Athletic Director at Langston University in Oklahoma until he resigned last April.
Garrett said he was approached by President William Covino and Jose Gomez, the University’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, to fulfill the position, according to L.A. Times. Originally from Boyle Heights, he said he was attracted to the position by the challenge and the locale. And the first thing on his to-do list would be meeting with coaches to explain his vision and expectations.
“It’s great to be a Golden Eagle,” Garrett said at the news conference, “and it’s great to be in Cal State LA. We are going to do something in East L.A. [that has] never been done before”. Further mentioning his devotion to the community, “I’m born and raised here and I know East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights about as well as anyone and I’ve always had dreams about making an institution in East LA that is dominant and respected as anything, I can’t think of a better place than Cal State LA.”
He also expressed that he valued winning, and therefore he wants to not only educate the athletes, but also to graduate them with national championships.