Garrett Finding New Beginnings At Langston

Thursday, October 31st 2013, 11:27 pm
By: News On 6

For Mike Garrett, the objective is to win. He's seen bigger wins and bigger game day experiences, but he's happy to be back.

"It's always nerve-racking and it's always fun," Garrett said.

A former Heisman Trophy winner at Southern Cal and former NFL player, Garrett is now the athletic director at NAIA Langston University. Before the Lions, Garrett was fired as athletic director with the Trojans after the NCAA deemed he mishandled rules violations. He still stands by his tenure there.

"When you're as good as you are at USC, you don't have to do things that are outside the rules and thing that happen were with the student-athlete and their family," Garrett said.

But his mission to serve college athletes didn't change, he found a new beginning. He received a call about an opportunity to become athletic director at a school where the crowds are sparse, the band is the main draw and the background setting is the flat plains of Oklahoma. So why take on this position?

"All the time I was at USC I was thinking one day, if I could do something for my community, I would do it," Garrett explained. "I grew up in Garrett Government projects. My family was always worried about if you could pay the bills. I took this program on because it reflected my neighborhood and my community."

There's a lot to build up. The program has modest athletic history; his main goals he had at USC are the same at Langston. He hopes to move up to Division II in the next three to five years, which means more money in the athletic budget, which means pressure to win.

First year head coach Dwone Sanders said, "This man was the very best in the country on his level. Just think what he expects from his head football coach and football team. So, yes, pressure, it's there."

Garrett says he will continue to make Langston a force to reckon with in the near future. And not just making the college a name recognized as an Historically Black University, but a name-brand. It just starts with desire.

"Do I like to do all the jobs I have to do, no," Garrett said. "But the fact is that's what we have to do to turn the program around. May it be Los Angeles our Langston, the task doesn't change."