Report: Speculation Jeremy Foley ‘open to discussing’ USC AD job in Urban Meyer ploy

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2019
Report: Speculation Jeremy Foley ‘open to discussing’ USC AD job in Urban Meyer ploy

Image Credit: GatorVision

With the USC athletic director job open and that being seen as a sign that there will be a change at the head football coach position before the 2020 season begins, speculation about what the Trojans will do to fill those roles is going to be one of the most talked about stories over the next couple of months. And though Clay Helton is currently in place in that head coaching job at USC, there is one name that has constantly been mentioned in conjunction with a potential opening: former Florida Gators and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer.

Now there’s another name familiar to Florida fans being associated with the other USC opening: former athletic director and current AD emeritus Jeremy Foley.

In a column posted late Sunday night, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel suggests that the Trojans should target Foley not only due to his tremendous legacy as an AD for the Gators but because it could help lure Meyer to the program.

But here’s the kicker (emphasis added).

Foley did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo Sports about USC. But it would be surprising if he didn’t at least listen, as people who’ve spoken with Foley have indicated that he’d be open to discussing the job.

It is unsurprising that Foley would not comment on this story, which is more a column than a news report. That’s also how these things work. It’s the way in which one could — if they were so inclined — indirectly make their interest about a job public knowledge. It’s also how a coach like Meyer could get the ball rolling and let it be known what it would take to get him in the fold.

When you remember that Thamel has time and time and time again broken sensitive Meyer-related news dating back to the coach’s time at Florida and Thamel’s tenure at the New York Times, the dots are easy to connect. Of course, to be fair, that’s speculation as well.

The crux of the concept — USC hiring Foley — is solid. The Trojans are badly in need of someone to bring legitimacy and structure back to the athletic department beyond simply hiring a new football coach. There is perhaps no one better than Foley to fill that role, particularly considering he’s not with another program at his time.

No, Foley is not the traditional hire with Trojan blood in his veins — you could say those run orange and blue considering his extensive career with the Gators — but his success at Florida across men’s and women’s sports was nearly unmatched nationally. He hired or directed coaches that led the Gators to 27 national championships over 13 sports, including three in football and two in basketball.

“I’m always going to be part of this institution,” Foley said at his retirement press conference. “I don’t ever want a clean break from the Gators. Ever.”

Of course, Meyer was Foley’s only successful football hire, but that is the entire point here. Meyer repeats that he is content not coaching these days but refuses to say is is retired — full stop. As we saw with him going to Ohio State one year removed from Florida, his sabbatical may only last so long. He is currently working for Fox and already traveling to California weekly. USC is expected to be the top job open this hiring cycle. The dots simply connect.

It would be difficult for the Trojans to ignore the opportunity to hire Meyer, let alone a Meyer-Foley ticket if either of those possibilities exist. There are some who will argue that the way Meyer exited Florida and Ohio State make him the wrong choice for a USC team looking for a clean, long-term hire. Then again, winning trumps everything when it comes to sports.

Foley retired from his Gators post in 2016 after 40 years with the athletic department and 25 years in the AD job. The 66-year-old is as established in Gainesville, Florida, as anyone. Will he leave the comfortable retired life and jump back into the fire that is a Power Five AD job?

One way or another, we will find out about Meyer and Foley soon enough.


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