Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
While DG and the Chancellor necessarily had to investigate the nature and scope of RN's past NCAA violations and job histories, some are not satisfied. They talk as if RN still has a Scarlet Letter sewn on his suit jacket, like a big C for cheat or F for felon or D for the devil.
I guess they never read the original book, a classic on intolerance. Or maybe they never heard of the words penitence or redemption. Or maybe they understand something about the significance of 51 "secondary" violations or the ramifications of betting in a private, friendly March Madness pool that somehow mark someone as especially evil and incorrigible forever.
And maybe they have a point about RN lying about "talking" with the 49ers. I'm sure when you're thinking of leaving your own swell job and getting another one somewhere else and leaving your company holding the bag,the first thing you should do is to tell your boss, "Hey, boss, I'm trying to get out of here. Do you mind?" But how many of us do, and if we did, how many of us would still be employed as a reward for our honesty?
As someone with some life experience, and who's been a fan of UCLA sports for over 50 years, literally, I think I know RN's biggest problem in the past. Of course, it's my own speculation and nothing more. I think he was the "fast track," smarty-pants, new kid on the block who all the good old boys loved to hate. He was his own worst enemy, making himself the proverbial "lightning rod" who other coaches wanted to get. And they did. And he paid for it, as he should have.
"It was beauty killed the beast," and most likely young hubris that smote RN at Colorado. At Washington they really had no good cause to fire him as proven by the $4.5 million settlement in his favor. But hubris is not evil and it is something that people usually grow out of, particularly after they have suffered indignity as a result. I would say RN has so suffered, both personally and to his reputation, tremendously. And I trust that both DG and the Chancellor who met with him made that judgement already, too.
I don't know RN personally and most likely never will. But as a long-time Bruin fan I know his story well, as all of us do, who followed UCLA football in the early 80's. His tale was almost legendary as a quarterback who came from nowhere to Rose Bowl greatness. He was a "lock" to replace TD until TD chose Bob Toledo over him to replace Homer Smith as the OC. When Rick did the honorable thing and went his own way after that, I believe there were many like me who were sorely disappointed at his tremendous success first at Colorado, then Washington. Because he was supposed to be winning those games at UCLA, not somewhere else. He was Ricky, our guy, not theirs. And when he fell, we fell, too, because he was one of us.
I cannot overemphasize how thrilled I am for RN personally and the for the Bruin family in general, that he is back where he belongs. This is not, as some have falsely claimed, UCLA holding its nose and putting winning ahead of ethics, or worse, copying SUC and PC. This is a classic case of someone doing the right thing, putting RN's transgressions into proper perspective and looking beyond cheap labels and character assassination into the true substance of a person.
Think about it. If RN did not want to live up to the highest standards he could have gone elsewhere, either in the pros or college. SMU of all places supposedly offered him $2 million dollars to be their coach. Whether it's true or not begs the question. RN's dream is to be here at UCLA where he faces the most scrutiny possible from not only the Chancellor and DG but the Pac 10 and the NCAA. What does that tell you?
I am not here to canonize RN. Some, for example, say his teams get weaker over time or he's too "soft" with his players [playing too much guitar] and loses their respect. Maybe that's true. If so, he's certainly older, wiser and humbler now and can avoid those problems with proper focus like any other qualified coach.
In short, in my opinion, RN has been the best candidate for Head Coach at UCLA for many, many years. Many of us have hoped for years this day would come. I believe he can be another Vermeil or Prothro or even, heaven forbid, Red Sanders. Why, I may even see a National Championship at UCLA before I die! [That was not a fumble in Miami in '98, damn those refs! And no, I don't actually remember the one and only in '54. I was only 5.]
Who knows? We all will soon enough. Today, all I can say is, thank goodness RN's time has finally come. AND THERE IS A GOD!