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Former USC coach Tim Floyd takes 'high road' in reacting to Garrett's ouster

July 20, 2010 |  2:45 pm
Former USC basketball coach Tim Floyd said he departed the Galen Center before the 2009-10 season due to a "lack of support by my administration." But when Floyd, now the head men's basketball coach at Texas El Paso, learned Tuesday that Pat Haden was replacing Mike Garrett as USC's athletic director, he said he preferred to "take the high road" instead of bashing a man whose leadership Floyd clearly felt was lacking in key situations.

Floyd has told news organizations in the past, including The Times, that he felt abandoned by Garrett when a Yahoo Sports report alleged he had accepted $1,000 from a Los Angeles events promoter who was a close associate of former Trojans' star guard O.J. Mayo. Floyd insisted he never took the money, and said he felt vindicated when the NCAA this year reviewed the allegation and declined to discipline him.

Last year, Floyd told reporters, "Why I left was not in any way an admission of guilt. ... The day the story broke, my athletic director called me and asked me where I was. I happened to be in New Orleans after being there for seven months. He asked me if I'd read the story. I said, 'Yes. And I did not do what I'm accused of doing.' Two, 'Where are you?' 'I'm in New Orleans.' The third thing he said was, 'You need to get your [self] back to Los Angeles so I can decide what I'm going to do with you.'

"That did not register well with me, did not sit well with me. I always said I would only stay at a place as long as I was wanted there. It was a situation where the athletic director was more worried about himself than our program. Everything we had done to establish that program as one of the top national-level programs in the country was being destroyed from within. Players being released, the treatment of our coaches, the treatment of me as the head coach. ... And at this point in my career, I didn't feel like I needed to stay there and deal with that. I felt I'd done enough over 33 years of being in this business to never have my integrity challenged and did not appreciate it."

On Tuesday, Floyd told The Times, "I loved my experience at USC -- the facilities and the players -- and I wish Pat Haden nothing but the best.

"I know from my latest experience at UTEP how important it is to be supported by the athletic department. I value that and hope Pat Haden does that with his coaches and players at USC, it's a great place with a storied history. SC has some of the greatest athletes in this country, and they'll continue to get them regardless of who's sitting in that [athletic director's] seat."

Floyd said his bitter parting with Garrett "is past history. That's gone. It's over. I would hope the university the best. I wish him [Garrett] the best."

-- Lance Pugmire
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