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March 4, 2013In a move that many had been hoping for but not sure would happen, USC athletics director Pat Haden has reached out to and interviewed former Trojans coach Tim Floyd for the vacant head coaching job Floyd had for four seasons from 2006 through 2009.
Floyd, currently the head coach at Texas-El Paso, said that the three-hour interview had gone well and was a chance for him to talk to Haden about his time at USC and why he left and all the NCAA issues. He wouldn't say whether he'd take the USC job were it offered.
"I thought it was important for our former coaches and players," Floyd said of his willingness to acknowledge that the out-of-town interview had taken place with Haden when he was asked about it Monday.
"I feel they should know that USC reached out, that no violations were found by the NCAA with USC basketball," Floyd said of any involvement by him or his coaches. "I've never done anything the wrong way."
"I felt like I got my name back when I got offered five different jobs when I left USC," Floyd said. Before coming to USC, Floyd had been the head coach at Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State in college and most notably the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.
All Floyd would say about the conversation with Haden is that he thought it "went well," but with the conference tournaments coming up, this is not the kind of thing any coach wants to focus on.
One interesting point often lost in looking back at Floyd's time at USC is that when he had a chance to leave for Arizona, more than a year into the NCAA investigation, he turned it down to stay at USC.
While Floyd wouldn't talk about the specific details of his choice to leave USC in this conversation, he's always made it clear in the past that there was a total breakdown in communication from USC AD Mike Garrett, who stopped talking to Floyd as he prepared to self-sanction USC basketball in the NCAA investigation while trying to protect football.
At USC, Floyd's teams went 85-55 with trips to an unprecedented three straight NCAA tournaments, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and reached the Sweet 16 in 2007. His 2009 team that lost to Final Four team Michigan State in the second round by five points, also won the Pac-12 tournament.
Six of Floyd's USC players have gone on to the NBA led by O.J. Mayo with DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson, Gabe Pruitt, Nikola Vucevic (who played two more years for Kevin O'Neill) and Nick Young.
Throughout the coaching search, one point that has been made clear by sources close to the thinking in the USC athletics department: The new USC basketball coach is currently the head coach at an NCAA program.
Haden has stated that there will be no comments by him while the search goes on.
Dan Weber covers the Trojans program for USCFootball.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.