Mike Garrett comes out firing at Trojans' event
Mike Garrett acted as if the USC athletic program was basking in the warm afterglow of another Bowl Series Championship title, not hours removed from the announcement of severe NCAA penalties for infractions committed by the football and men's basketball programs.
The Trojans athletic director was making no apologies for his department Thursday night at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, doing his best to whip a group of Trojans supporters into a frenzy during a Northern California Trojans Club function.
"As I read the decision by the NCAA," Garrett said of sanctions that included a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 football scholarships over three years, " ... I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans."
Garrett received warm applause when he took the podium inside the hotel ballroom, with some in the crowd standing and extending a two-finger victory salute. Garrett told the gathering that he "felt invigorated by all this stuff" because he had wondered how big the SC brand was and "with the penalty we got today I know we're bigger than life."
Wearing a dark suit and cardinal-and-gold striped tie, Garrett mingled briefly among boosters before dinner but declined to comment when approached by a reporter. Asked if he was worried about his job, Garrett patted the reporter on the chest and said, "I'm just worried about your job. You do a good job."
Later, he told the boosters, "Today I got a purpose for really wanting to dominate for another 10 years."
-- Ben Bolch in San Francisco