Tuesday Whispers: Lynn Swann Listens To One Person
As Lynn Swann prepares to decide Clay Helton’s future, Heritage Hall insiders know the only person he will listen to does not even work on campus.
But this person is responsible for Swann being athletic director, they say.
Wayne Hughes, the founder of Public Storage, has been the No. 1 donor to USC athletics. He donated to build the McKay Center, he donated millions to name the court at USC and donated $15 million to name a residential college after his friend, former USC football player Al Cowlings.
Many former players and boosters believe Hughes was responsible for Swann’s hiring as athletic director. Hughes was always close to O.J. Simpson but Swann was another of his favored players.
Many believe Swann will seek Hughes’ counsel before he decides what to do with Helton. The people I know who have a relationship with Hughes do not think he would force Swann to fire Helton.
But if Swann really wanted to fire Helton, they think Hughes would sign off. USC would probably ask Hughes to help pay off his buyout and the other coaches’ salaries.
So they need him to sign off on the move.
Swann treats Hughes with respect, something he doesn’t always do with donors. So this is where the power dynamic lies within USC’s athletic dept.