Bumped. Again if you are looking to let the UCLA administration know what you expect out of this search please email Dan Guerrero at email@example.com and Chancellor Gene Block at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let them know respectfully and politely that neither CHOKER (Chow + Walker) nor Walker will be acceptable at UCLA. If you are an alum or student, please make sure to indicate your graduating class in your emails. As always feel free to post your email in the comment thread to share with rest of BN. GO BRUINS. -N
Here is my letter to Dan Guerrero. I used my real name in the letter to him.
Dear Mr. Guerrero,
In my life as Bruins fan, I have been enormously blessed. I had the very great fortune of being a student at UCLA when both John Wooden and Tommy Prothro were our teams' head coaches.
Coach Wooden and his teams, of course, provided surreal joys and memories for fans. And Coach Prothro did for the football team what Coach Wooden did for basketball -- namely, elevate UCLA to the national stage.
Not only did Coach Prothro and the Bruins stand toe-to-toe with John McKay and the mighty Trojans teams, we were but an errant kick away from the national championship one year. Even with that disappointment, these were years that I will treasure forever.
Great coaches produce great thrills for their fans. It was no accident that Coach Prothro's teams were as good as any in the country. It wasn't because UCLA's talent was vastly superior. On the contrary, we were undersized compared to many.
We won because we were so well coached. We won because, as professor of the football team, Coach Prothro was a superb instructor. His teams ignored their shortcomings, played to their strengths, and surprised many a physically superior team. We won because we were daring and bold.
This is what good coaches do. They teach. They instruct. They lead. They inspire. I saw, first-hand, a 170-pound linebacker stop an unstoppable horse of a running back to seal a win in the Rose Bowl for the Bruins against an unbeatable Michigan State team. The "little" linebacker got knocked silly in the process. This legendary Bruin, one Bobby Stiles, was driven to excellence, against all odds, because he was so well prepared and so inspired.
I saw, first-hand, Gary Beban launch two long, perfect missiles to a streaking Dick Witcher and a streaking Kurt Altenberg in the last five minutes to steal a victory from the mighty Trojans. Again, we overcame size and, perhaps, talent deficiencies with great coaching. I can still feel the drama. I can still see the crisp passes. I can still hear myself screaming with pure joy. Like I say, I have been enormously blessed.
In football, it has been a long time since I have felt that UCLA had a big advantage in coaching. Coaches Vermeil, Donahue, and Toledo achieved successes and provided thrills. But, I don't think it is too much of a generalization to say that, especially during Coach Donahue and Coach Dorrell's years, our teams have played as much or more not to lose as to win. You can see it in timid game plans and conservative play calling. And, on the UCLA administration's side, you can see it in a lack of insistence on having an excellent, proven coach.
We don't stand tall, thrust out our chins, and say "We're going for the big prize." We're content, it seems, with an occasional big win and bowl game. We're content, it seems, with pretty good. We're content, it seems, with inconsistency.
"I have often said, `The mark of a true champion is to always perform near your own level of competency.' We were able to do that by never being satisfied with the past and always planning for what was to come. I believe that failure to prepare is preparing to fail. This constant focus on the future is one reason we continued staying near the top once we got there."
Speaking as one lifelong, passionate Bruins fan, this is what we want in a UCLA head football coach. We want a coach who knows that inconsistency, ultimately, rests on coaches. We want a coach who is not afraid of going against the best because he has confidence in his and his assistants' ability to teach. We want a coach who is driven by passion, not inhibited by caution. We want a coach who is not content with pretty good.
Understand, speaking for myself, we don't have to win all the time. We just want to see consistently excellent preparation, consistent all-out effort, and continual improvement. The results will take care of themselves. UCLA and UCLA fans deserves a quality, proven head football coach.
As you well know, this will take serious commitment, financial and otherwise, on UCLA's part. And, as you well know, one doesn't luck into conference championships or national success. There are, I feel, several "home run hires" out there, coaches who can return UCLA to national prominence. Given your track record in finding quality coaches for other UCLA sports, I am optimistic that you can find the next great UCLA head football coach.
Please choose wisely, Mr. Guerrero. May you be inspired by the greats. May you find a coach who can give to current generations of UCLA students some of the many thrills that I was so lucky to receive.