It had been on my mental to-do list to follow up my beseeching letter to Dan Guerrero in the days leading up to Coach Neuheisel's hire. But, like many of my good intentions, it would have been easy to let this courtesy slide until it was too late.
That is, until 66 gently prodded us Bruin fans in a comment to express our thanks to Mr. Guerrero. He's right, I thought. It's only fair.
So, here is my follow-up letter to Dan Guerrero. It could well be my last letter to him. It seems that he knows what he's doing, and no longer needs my help.
Dear Mr. Guerrero,
I wrote to you when you were conducting a search for the next UCLA head football coach. In my letter, I expressed consternation about our seeming lack of aspirations for excellence in football. It has seemed to me for many years now that UCLA has been content with "pretty good" in football.
I reminisced about Coach Tommy Prothro, and how, with his brilliant football mind and his superb teaching abilities, he had provided many Bruins, including myself, with lifetimes of vivid thrills and fond memories. For 2008 and beyond, I wanted UCLA to serve unabashed notice that it was going for more than pretty good. I wanted UCLA to reach for the top.
Well, since I was brazen enough to think that you might care what I think before you hired Coach Neuheisel, it's only fair that I write to you afterwards.
This second letter is one of sincere gratitude and appreciation, not only for your hire, but also for the way you went about the search. I could not be happier about UCLA football today. Although you didn't hire my first choice for head coach, Coach Neuheisel has won me over in spades. I think that Coach Neuheisel is the best man for the job, and for the right reasons. And, I'm not alone. As one can readily see in the Bruins blogosphere, there is a new fervor for UCLA football. We can't wait for spring training to start.
From the bottom of my Bruin Blue heart, thank you, Mr. Guerrero. I think that you represented UCLA extremely well throughout this process. You conducted the search with professionalism and integrity, especially as compared to other coaching searches going on at the same time. You navigated some difficult waters concerning retention of current coaches. You addressed troublesome concerns over Coach Neuheisel's past. You dealt with financial and budgetary constraints. And, you did all this with dignity and class.
As if that weren't enough, you gave to Bruin fans like myself exactly what we wanted -- namely, a head coach who isn't afraid to challenge for the top. A coach who understands, and shares, the enormous pride that we all have in this great university.
Thank you profoundly, Mr. Guerrero. You make us proud.