The University of Hawaii is hopeful that Southern California’s announced replacement of athletic director Mike Garrett yesterday will not jeopardize its lucrative football series with the Trojans.
Garrett has been a strong proponent of the series, signing contracts for six games with UH in his 17-year tenure. Former USC quarterback Pat Haden will replace Garrett, the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner, on Aug. 3 in the apparent aftermath of Garrett’s handling of issues resulting in NCAA sanctions.
UH, which begins its season Sept. 2 with USC at Aloha Stadium in an ESPN game, is also scheduled to open with the Trojans in 2012 (the L.A. Memorial Coliseum) and ’13 (Aloha Stadium) and is hopeful of adding games.
"I’m hopeful they will continue the games," said Jim Donovan, UH athletic director. "Their fans seem to like coming to our games and we draw pretty well for them in Southern California for a non-Bowl Championship Series team and, I think, they are recruiting Hawaii."
UH is 0-6 against USC in a series that began in 1930. The schools played three times between 1930 and 1978.
USC’s last three Aloha Stadium appearances have been sellouts, and the Sept. 2 game could break the UH record for home ticket receipts of $1.14 million set by the 2005 game.
USC and UH were successful in overturning an NCAA decision that would have prohibited this year’s game as part of the sanctions levied last month against the Trojans.
UH sold nearly 10,000 tickets to USC fans for the 2005 appearance and the Trojans had a 7,500-seat allotment for this year’s game. A USC spokesman said the school projects selling the entire allocation.
"This is a very popular game for our players and our fans," Garrett said during his 2005 visit to Aloha Stadium. "You can tell by the number of people we brought."
"The timing is good for a lot of our fans who can plan sort of a late summer vacation," Garrett said.
USC associate athletic director Steve Lopes, who negotiated terms of several of the games with Donovan, will apparently remain on Haden’s staff.