UPDATE (N): Since I wrote this post Meriones did some research and found info. that contradicts the assertion that former Bruin football greats weren't welcome in Dorrell's program. See the info. over here. Players such as James Robinson, Jamir Miller, and Kenny Easley were welcome back to Westwood during Dorrell's reign as honorary captains. So, in this case it would be good to get more specific information from Golden (or Tim Wrigthman) in terms of which coacing regime they were alluding to. GO BRUINS. - N
On the eve of the most anticipated UCLA football season in years, I hate to look back. But this is absolutely necessary because the news below is so amazing (at least to me) it's another jarring reminder of the ongoing culture change under Rick Neuheisel's UCLA football program. It also serves as another data point on how the program was completely neglected and mismanaged under the previous regimes.
So here is our honorary Captain for tomorrow afternoon's game:
HONORARY GAME CAPTAIN - The honorary captain for the 2009 season-opener is Tim Wrightman, a tight end on the 1978-81 teams. Wrightman was named a consensus All-American following the 1981 season and finished his career as the No. 2 receiver in UCLA history with 73 catches. He was also selected to the 1981 football Academic All-America squad. Wrightman was a third-round pick of the Chicago Bears and was a member of the 1986 Bears Super Bowl team. Tim was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
If you are wondering what a honorary team captain is here re the details from Gold in the Daily News:
Each week, a Bruin football alumnus serves as the team's honorary captain. He attends the Friday walkthrough and then speaks to the team. He stays with the team on Friday night and participates in the pre-game coin flip with the team captains.
So perhaps there are BNers here who were around those days who can tell us more about Tim.
Meanwhile more interestingly, Tim Wrightman who has been in Westwood this week for all the pre game festivities gave rather startling quotes to Jon Gold:
In recent years, there was less a focus on the past and more on the present. Old heroes were forgotten, Wrightman said.
Now they are back.
"I took a sabbatical from UCLA just because of the way that the former players were treated," Wrightman said. "They weren't really welcomed back. What Rick has done is create an atmosphere that the older guys are going to be honored. That's a great lesson for these players now. They know they're not just going to put in their four years of service. They realize they will be cherished.
"It makes me proud to be a Bruin again. I'm tired of hearing the BS that you're a Bruin for four years and a Trojan for life. Thirty years later, I'm talking about being a Bruin."
So if I am reading him right Bruin greats such as Tim did not feel welcome to Dorrell and Toledo's programs? Guess I am not all that surprised by Toledo. However, I am definitely amused by the implication that former Bruin legends did not feel welcome in Dorrell's program beacuse they were either forgotten or just neglected.
It kind of makes sense I guess. Dorrell often couldn't remember the players he had on his team (i.e. he forgot Manny White was on his team in his first game as a head coach against Colorado). So how he could he possibly remember all the Bruin greats from previous years.
All I can say, thank God those nightmarish days are over.