Doomed to Mediocrity? I Don't Buy It.
Throughout our discussions runs the premise that UCLA cannot be competitive in recruiting a football coach because our salaries are too low and the local cost of living is too high.
In essence, the argument being made is that we get mediocre coaches because we pay mediocre salaries.
Until a few moments ago, I, too, thought the premise had merit.
And, then, I began to think about the academic world I lived in; when I did, I realized that although salary is one factor, it is not the major factor as to why people take university positions.
Were the premise true, UCLA would be an academic waste land -- not one of the world's top research and teaching institutions.
Somehow, departments at UCLA, compete for, hire and retain world class teachers and scholars -- at faculty pay rates that cannot ensure the high standard of living that higher paying schools in lower cost areas can provide.
Take a look at the campus -- pick any department. Look at the new and old faculty. What you'll see is a crop of the best of the new and the most prized of the old.
And, these people are not making the $1,000,000.00 being paid the head poser. Some don't even make as much as the assistant coaches and the OC in training.
Why do the academic departments thrive when the football program can't seem to?
Because THEY KNOW HOW TO SEARCH AND RECRUIT. They know how to sell what is special at UCLA. They have created an atmosphere where excellence is the standard. That is heady stuff. Who wouldn't want to come to a department that is fighting to be the best in the nation?
If we can attract the best classroom and research people in the world -- for less money than we pay the coaches -- we should be able to hire first rate coaches.
It's all in how you look and what you say. Obviously, if the best we could do last time was KD, Robinson, Riley and Price, we were not running a first rate search or saying the right things.
Our academic departments beat the "market competition". It 's time for the athletic department to do the same.