When Mike Bohn was hired as the first stranger to lead the USC’s athletics in decades, radical changes were expected within a historically insular department recently ravaged by the scandal.
Those changes in Heritage Hall have begun, according to several people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak in public. Three of the most important USC officials in the athletic department are out, including Steve Lopes, the CFO and COO, who had long been considered the second in command.
His withdrawals are due in part to concerns about the recent turmoil, including the “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal, as reported by The Times. A department official, Donna Heinel, was charged with federal bribery charges last year.
Ron Orr, a senior associate sports director who led the Trojan Athletic Fund, is also out, along with associate sports director Scott Jacobson, who also worked on the development and fundraising.
The movements are also partly due to the desire of the new leadership of the athletic department to attract its own people.
The departure of Lopes, after 35 years in the department, sends a clear message of change at the beginning of a new era for Trojan athletics. Under the three previous directors of USC, Lopes played an important role in determining the direction of the department.
When Pat Haden left in 2016, Lopes was seen as one of the leading candidates to replace him as sports director.
Orr, a former US swimmer at the USC, had been in the athletic department as much as Lopes. He was promoted to senior associate sports director in 2010, in charge of caring for the Trojan Athletic Fund, the department’s fundraising arm.