Haden writes letter to USC fans

Pat Haden used his first day as USC's athletic director to write a letter to Trojans fans.

You can read the entire letter here. But here are some highlights.

On NCAA sanctions:

During the period of our NCAA probation we won't wake up each morning with a "woe is me" attitude as a result of the sanctions. I have failed if I cannot create a positive, upbeat environment that cultivates success in spite of the sanctions.

A message to Lane Kiffin that Haden doesn't expect the Trojans to suddenly fall to .500? Maybe, but it seems clear Kiffin already knows that based on his comments at Pac-10 media day.

On a (new?) culture of compliance with NCAA rules:

We must have a culture of compliance at the beginning, middle and end of our definition of success. We plan to have the best, most proactive and robust compliance department in the country. I am not so naive as to expect we will not have compliance issues going forward. We will. But we will face them with honesty and a determination to do even better to prevent the next compliance issue. We must be vigilant 24/7 while allowing our athletes to enjoy being 18- to 21-year-olds on a college campus.

He says this about former athletic director Mike Garrett:

Mike Garrett was a sensational athletic director. His 17-year body of work was about as good as it gets. His combination of supporting an infrastructure that was as successful at winning as it was at fundraising is unprecedented. More importantly, he led a program that cared about its student-athletes in a most fundamental way. Appropriately, the bar has been set high.

That's gracious. And wildly exaggerated. Garrett did some good things. He did lead the program out of the red, which was based in large part on his stumbling into hiring Pete Carroll. But the best grade you could give his performance is a "gentleman's C." Major NCAA sanctions were handed down on football and men's basketball on his watch. That falls on him.

Haden concludes with language that you wouldn't get from Garrett:

I will make mistakes, and I will make decisions with which you will disagree. I will fess up to my mistakes, explain my decisions, and work as hard and as smart as I can to make all of us proud of USC.

My take: Well done. But now Haden and USC must live by these words.