I was there last Saturday when CRN had everyone drinking from the passion bucket; from the fans in top rows, near the rafters and banners, to those paying top dollar sitting courtside. Every person at Pauley was on their feet cheering wildly. Even the Zona fans sitting next to me were impressed. "This guy is really good," was their reaction.
And the loudest and longest cheers were for CW, as the Bruin fans appreciated that he could have easily jumped ship and sought greener and possibly richer pastures elsewhere, but instead chose to remain at the University he loves and become part of one of the all time best coaching staffs in college football history.
Having worked at several large companies for a number of CEO's, both good and not-so-good, CRN has shown the characteristics of what it means to be a true leader. KD gave it lip service but never lived it. CRN giving equal and substantial praise and recognition to his two right-hand men is exactly what leaders do. If they fail, CRN will remain accountable. When we succeed, he will again douse them with the praise they deserve. No more sidestepping issues and passing off blame or making excuses. This is no longer "football 101". CRN is the generous, passionate professor who makes sure you understand, even though the answers may be obvious to him.
While there were moments during CRN's rousing speech and introductions that it appeared he was going a bit "Howard Dean", once you remembered this is football and not politics, you appreciated that CRN may not be the guy you want leading our country, but there is no one better right now to run the UCLA football program.
CRN has done more in the few months as our head coach then KD did in five years. From managing the media, creating positive buzz about the football program, to recruiting exceptional talent (coaches and players) and making UCLA fans believe that a National Championship in football is a realistic and attainable goal.
I am one of those fans Kristy spoke of on her post at Bruinzone.com. I dress my sons in Bruin gear, from the Crocks to the Jerseys. My mood is affected by whether the Bruins win or lose. I scream at the bad calls and go berserk when we make great plays! My sons have had birthday parties at Bruin home baseball games. I wear my Bruin wear proudly, win or lose, outside, so the other half of LA sees that even in defeat, I'm still proud to be part of the Bruin family. And right now, wearing my gear has never felt better!!!