UCLA CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT HIRE ANY COACH TO A LONG-TERM DEAL, UNLESS THAT COACH IS A PROVEN CHAMPION.
This is my belief. Give me a chance to explain.
I personally am not thrilled with any of the current candidates out there, including Bellotti who everyone is going absolutely bonkers over. Count the number of championships the current candidates have won as head coaches...0. Now, if you tell me that UCLA has the opportunity to hire a Spurrier, Erickson, etc., I'm all for throwing a long-term big-money deal. But that is not what we are dealing with. Even Bellotti is a decent choice at best. Four straight bowl losses, a .614% WP (good, not stellar), and don't forget he lost to KARL this year and he recruited a boy from the Leaf family--okay, none of this worth crying over, but it's also not completely meaningless. He has 0 championships and has had what is really an up-and-down career. He could potentially be good, but he's not the caliber I'm looking for at this point in his career.
I'm NOT saying not to hire him. Just this: no matter who UCLA hires, it should be a 2-year deal at the longest. Even if this means losing out on a few of these characters. Here's what I will not stand--signing one of them to a big 7 year deal (as recommended by some of my fellow BN'ers) in blind hope for a real winner. Bottom line is, no one great is available right now. I would rather go with a risky, short-term hire and hope for a great coach becoming available next year than to choose one from this marginal pile and give him half a decade to become a champ.
I know I'll take some flak for this but here goes: I would rather have Walker in a 1-year deal than Bellotti for 5+. Bellotti has proven to be a good, solid head coach, but nothing more. If we take him and he struggles for 2 years (look at his career, this is not impossible), we'll be stuck with 3 on his contract and we'll be even worse off than we are now. If we take someone else (or Bellotti, but I can't imagine he'd accept it) for a short deal and it doesn't work out, so what! During that time we can find a real head coach and we will not have lost out because we will have no long-term dedication to someone.
I'm just afraid that as Bruin fans we are preparing ourselves to settle with what we get. Bellotti is interesting, but not godly. Neuheisel is pretty scummy. Another BN fave, Mariucci, has proven in his long career that he knows how to lose. Golden is a joke.
You may say I'm naive. Very few coaches have won championships. But you know what, count how many in our own division have won one, and you'll see my head isn't entirely in the clouds.
My vote goes to a 1-2 year deal, and I don't care who it is. If we can ink Bellotti for 2 years, I'm right behind it. But if it's going to take a long deal, I'm not interested.
Still hoping for the best,