The Times confirmed that three USC athletic director candidates have been vetted: Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle, Florida State athletic director Michael Alford and Florida Atlantic athletic director Brian White.
This isn’t a complete list of USC candidates, but rather athletic directors whose ties to the Trojans’ search have been confirmed by multiple sources interviewed by The Times.
Coyle has been the athletic director at Minnesota since May 2016. He was hired to clean up a mess after former Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. That experience would serve Coyle well, plus he obviously knows the Big Ten.
Coyle spent just one year at Syracuse before going to Minnesota. He was athletic director at Boise State prior to leading the Orange.
Michael Alford has been the athletic director at Florida State for 18 months. Before taking over that position, he worked as the department’s lead fundraiser. Much of his experience in college athletics has been as a fundraiser, including 2012-17 at Oklahoma, where he overlapped with Riley’s first two seasons in Norman. Alford knows how big-time athletic departments are run, having also worked at Alabama in 2004-07 and at USC before that, in the athletic department’s marketing office.
Other than his brief tenure at Florida State, his only time as an athletic director came at Central Michigan, from 2017 to 2020.
Alford has been vocal recently about Florida State’s need to leave the ACC. It wouldn’t be surprising if USC’s move to the Big Ten would appeal to Alford, but it’s unclear how much interest Folt has in him.
Brian White, the youngest of the known candidates, is coming off Florida Atlantic’s run to the men’s basketball Final Four. He’s also led the Owls from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, where they’ll start play this fall. White was at Missouri before taking over FAU in 2018.
White comes from a powerful family in college sports. His father, Kevin, was the longtime athletic director at Notre Dame (where Brian got his bachelor’s degree) and Duke. His brother Danny is the athletic director at Tennessee. His other brother, Mike, is the head men’s basketball coach at Georgia after a stint at Florida.
Kevin White is now working with Huron Consulting, the college sports consulting group that USC hired to help guide the department after Bohn’s resignation.
When Danny White was hired as athletic director at Central Florida in 2015, Parker did the search that placed him. When he was hired as Tennessee’s athletic director in 2021, Parker did the search.
At FAU, Brian White has hired two football coaches — Willie Taggart in 2019 and Tom Herman after last season. Both searches were handled by Parker.
Danny White’s success at each of his stops has certainly been a boon to Parker’s hiring reputation, and it appears Brian White could be on a similar path.