UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero made the right move in terminating head football coach Rick Neuheisel, despite a year left on his contract. (See “Rick Neuheisel Must Go”.) Today, Guerrero sent out an email to alumni, saying not to believe rumors and to exercise patience in what he expects to be a long process:
“As we embark on a national coaching search, I want to be clear about a few things:
• First and foremost, this will not be a public search; the only way to truly attract the best possible candidates is to keep the process out of the public eye as much as possible.
• Second, because we are going to be very guarded in this process, we ask that you please exercise a measure of patience with us and that you don’t get caught up in rumors, conjecture, or media reports that claim to have “inside” information.
• Finally, the process will be an extensive one and will result in a coach that the entire Bruin family will be proud to call their own.
Know in advance that we have begun the process of looking at candidates across the country and will leave no stone unturned in finding the best person for the job.”
Well, Dan, theHoundDawg can make the search a bit easier:
1. Who NOT to consider:
Herman Edwards. A couple of weeks before the job came open, several local sports radio dunderheads began touting Edwards for the job. Are they kidding? Except for two seasons almost 25 years ago as an assistant, Edwards has never coached at the college level, and as a pro coach he was a total washout, with a lifetime .422 winning percentage. He did ok his first four years coaching the Jets, but over his last season there and his three in KC, he was 19-42, winning more than FOUR games in only one of those four seasons. Don’t let his TV persona fool you into thinking he can coach. He can’t.
2. Who you can consider but NOT hire:
DeWayne Walker. He was the shinning light of the putrid Karl Dorrell years, building a strong defense as defensive coordinator. He left UCLA for the head coaching job at New Mexico State, but he has accomplished nothing there that could lead to the belief that he can be a winning head coach at a major school. He is coming off his best season as a head coach, 4-7 and is 9-27 in his three years.
3. A guy we want:
Kevin Sumlin. The head coach of the Houston Cougars has done a great job over his four years in Houston, building a powerful program with a successful and exciting offense. He is 35-16 with the Cougars, and his 12-0 2011 season is under appreciated and seemingly under-rewarded. He has a solid background which includes five years as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
4. A guy we really want:
Chris Petersen. The head coach at Boise State has done a remarkable job leading his team to a 71-6 record over five seasons. That’s 71-6! And he is 2-0 in BCS bowl games. He has spurned numerous offers to move to a major school, but maybe an offer from UCLA would entice him to leave Idaho, as he is a University of California guy, having played qb for UC Davis. He even earned a Master’s Degree there. Maybe, just maybe, he now feels that he has done as much as a coach can at a school like Boise St., and that it is now time to show the world what he can do in the big time.
5. The dark horse:
Tom Cable. Al Davis picked him out of nowhere to coach the Raiders in 2008, and he took a bad team and showed steady improvement over his three season. It is the team that he built that now leads the AFC West. Before the Raider job, he spent many years in college coaching, which included both an unsuccessful run as the head guy at Idaho, and two seasons as Dorrell’s offensive coordinator. One of those years was the one good season the Bruins had under Dorrell, the 10-2 2005 year. Cable is now an assistant to uncle petey in Seattle.
6. One more name:
Jon Gruden. He would be a great choice, but if he turned down Notre Dame to stay in TV, he’s not coming to UCLA, despite those rumors Big Dan said to ignore.
The traditional obstacle with UCLA hiring a big name coach has always been the inability of the school to pay the going rate for top coaches. While this would be even more of a problem today given the horrendous budget cuts the University of California is undergoing and the outrageous tuition hikes deemed necessary to keep the schools in business, the new Pac-12 – ESPN television contract has put wads of new cash into the athletic department (don’t tell the profs or students – riots may ensue) and what better use, assuming it is legal, than to spend the dough on a coach with a record of success.
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