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Pat Haden remains a Southern California sports icon

November 8, 2012 |  3:49 pm

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden was the keynote speaker at a youth sports summit on Thursday at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles.

The summit helped present research and ignite discussion on the positive effect youth sports participation can have on academic performance. Haden, 59, is certainly an example of that.

He was the Southern Section player of the year at La Puente Bishop Amat in 1970 as a quarterback, went on to USC, was a Rhodes Scholar, played for the Rams, became a lawyer, worked as a sportscaster, worked in finance and became USC's athletic director in 2010.

"Youth sports was such a large part of my life growing up," he said.

He said sports taught him many things.

"I think I always gave every ounce of energy in every athletic event I played," he said.

Haden had a message for high school athletes.

"Those four years of high school were some of the best years of my life," he said. "It was much simpler, purer and I say more absolute fun. I tell everybody who's a high school athlete enjoy those moments, because even if you go on and play in college or professionally, there's nothing quite like it."

-- Eric Sondheimer