Neuheisel's Promise

I missed this Neuheisel profile that ran in the in the New York Times yesterday. Bill Witz wrote it up. Do you guys remember Witz? He was Dohn's predecessor at the Daily News. It's another good read.

The interesting tidbit from this profile was how much time UCLA officials spent in vetting Neuheisel and the cautionary steps they took during the hiring process last December:

The decision to hire Neuheisel, 47, was not made lightly. The process took 26 days, and administrators spoke with officials at Colorado, Washington, the Pac-10 and the N.C.A.A. Both Colorado and Washington were placed on probation for violations committed under Neuheisel, and he was dismissed from Washington for his involvement in an N.C.A.A. basketball tournament pool.

As insurance in Neuheisel’s five-year, $6 million contract, any of the potential $500,000 he may earn in yearly bonuses must be forfeited or returned if the N.C.A.A. levies sanctions against U.C.L.A.

But what was really compelling from that piece was to read about the promise (and appeal) Neuheisel made to DG as a Bruin alum (emphasis added):

“His behavior in the past may have brought about the perception where people immediately think of the nicknames as it relates to Rick,” Guerrero said, referring to the moniker Slick Rick. “Trust is paramount to the whole equation. The first time we met, Rick had to sit in a hotel room, look me in the eye and basically give me an opening salvo that would create a scenario that would want me to continue those discussions further.”

Neuheisel appealed to Guerrero as a fellow U.C.L.A. graduate. During the interview, Neuheisel told Guerrero that there had to be a moment after Guerrero was hired when he went into his office, closed the door, put his feet up on the desk and felt that he had arrived.

“Then you have that conversation with yourself,” Neuheisel said of that hypothetical moment. “I’m never going to do anything to disgrace my alma mater, I’m going to work my tail off and we’re going to get this done. I told him that I want you to know that I’m going to be the same way. I’m not going to do anything to discredit this university or put my family through anything like that again. So, you have my word. If given the opportunity, I’ll put my feet up and make that same pledge.”

Neuheisel knows he didn't make that promise to just Dan Guerrero.

He made it with all of us.

GO BRUINS.

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