A familiar face has emerged as a front-runner to be USC's next athletic director.
The university is in deep discussions with Villanova AD Mark Jackson, per multiple sources informed of the situation. The development has been in the works for several months, with USC currently looking at Jackson's buyout.
Former USC athletic director Lynn Swann resigned from the position Monday after being informed by President Carol Folt that he would be fired otherwise, sources said.
While the school has given strong consideration to hiring an outsider, a candidate with previous experience as an AD has been deemed even more important. The 46-year-old Jackson was a senior associate athletic director at USC before leaving for Villanova, where's he's overseen two national championships in men’s basketball and 20 conference championships in various sports since 2015.
Prior to that, Jackson helped advance numerous projects at USC, including construction of the McKay Center, the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and the renovation of both the Coliseum and Heritage Hall.
One of Jackson's biggest referrals comes from Pete Carroll, who hired Jackson to join his initial staff at USC in 2001. Jackson would eventually become an athletic administrator at the school. He then briefly went to Syracuse in 2005 to be an executive senior associate athletic director.
Jackson holds degrees from Colby College in Maine and Trinity College in Connecticut. He has also worked under Carroll and Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, and Lane Kiffin with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers.
USC approached North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham about its vacancy but he declined.