AD alters sports program

Chronicle Staff

The 1996 Rose Bowl was deadlocked at seven. Early in the second quarter, the tide of the game changed. The USC fullback, senior Terry Barnum, playing in his final game as a Trojan, caught a 21 yard touchdown pass to give USC a lead they would not relinquish. The 1996 Rose Bowl: USC 41, Northwestern 32.

“I felt queasy after I caught that touchdown,” Barnum, now Athletic Director in charge of Communications, reminisced. “I was so excited, but I remember feeling sick. It was great though. I got to keep the ball and my family was there for me. It could not have been a better ending.”

Although Barnum has maintained relationships with many members of the USC athletic department, he has dedicated himself to revamping and improving the Wolverine athletic program.

“My biggest priority is the vertical integration of our sports program,” Barnum said. “I want to create a coherent system where a seventh grader can build on what he learns and have his experience culminate as a senior.”

Another job of Barnum’s is his relationship with the recruitable seniors every year. Barnum meets with the deans once a week and acts as a liaison between various schools and the kids they are pursuing.

Barnum typically works with 20 to 25 kids every year. He warns against ingoring schoolwork, stressing the importance of the term “student-athlete,” explaining to kids that they are less attractive if their grades suffer. Another goal of Barnum’s is less quantifiable but equally as tangible. 

“I want to improve the athletic culture here,” Barnum said. “I want kids to know that it is okay to try. However, we want to find a situation where kids can be committed to sports without compromising their academic standards.”

One of Barnum’s earliest projects has been the transformation of the football program. The seventh grade team, which was once a flag football team, in now tackle in an effort to fuse the campus divide.

“Football requires more manpower and preparation than lots of the other sports. It is a methodical sport but I never want to become myopic. I can’t get lost in the football shuffle.”

Barnum hopes to qualify for the Commissioner’s Cup in both boys and girls sports. The cup is given to the 10 teams who win the most championships in the Southern Section.

“We are in the top 10 for the boys but I want to be in the top five,” Barnum said. “We have serious CIF contenders for girls’ volleyball and soccer. Our field hockey and basketball teams should have great seasons as well. We are really not far off.”