Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
As Bruin fans we have high expectations. We're winners. And we evaluate the schools athletic department success on the basis of National Championships. So, it's really very easy to feel and sense and speak out with the enormous sense of frustration we all have with the Football program.
I started following the Bruins in 1966...applied and was accepted to UCLA in 1977...became a season ticket holder in 1982. My frustration with the current team is real, my long standing anger at CTS is still palatable even today (and I may never let that go.) I was witness to that day in 1992 when Donahue chose to kick the field goal to preserve our scoring streak...and read with dread the story in the paper about how we scheduled that make-up game with Miami.
Winning begins and ends at the top but losing may not always begin there and I wish I could offer some definitive data points for what I am about to write.
Winning organizations have a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence and a history of success. The Head Coach is the roots of that tree. Ultimately he is responsible for every recruit a team pursues and why we are pursuing that player, and he makes every critical personnel decision. CRN has shown himself to be an acceptable judge of player talent and a very good recruiter. He has not, however shown himself to be an adequate recruiter of coaching talent.
During the Donahue years TD surrounded himself with a very capable staff of coaches and assistants. Each year it was a discussion point of which of his assistants were going to leave for another school. And many of us remember Nick Aliotti as our defensive coordinator.
The key to our success and failure isn't just X's and O's and who we recruited and how many stars that player had as a high school ballplayer. A key is who is teaching, mentoring, scheming and building the team. Recruiting top coaching talent is an area where UCLA has dropped the ball for years and years.
It's very hard to recruit top coaching talent. The best assistants all dream of the $3 million a year payday and a head coaching job somewhere. Everyone is trying to move up and make it. As Head Coach you have the difficult task of identifying, recruiting and retaining top coaching talent. And at UCLA, for whatever reason, we have not been doing it...excepting CNC.
One could argue that things were so bleak that CRN had to focus 100% of his effort on the player personnel problems. One could argue that the AD or the regents had too much influence in the selection process or that there isn't enough money in the program...after-all we are a public university. I have watched so many very fine assistant coaches leave our program. I can't blame them. They leave to improve their situation. I would to.
At this point I think we have to challenge Dan Guerrero and Coach Neu in this regard. If we seek the long term success of this football program than we have to seek out, recruit and retain the best assistant coaches in the country. We have to expect and demand that they apply this very simple formula, which has worked well in other sports at UCLA. If we cannot build the program, if CRN cannot make those decisions and evaluations, if DG cannot retain them, then we will continue to have fine young players, excellent student-athletes, great fans, a beautiful stadium...but no results.
It is said that we are all the product of our environment. I believe that is true and it is no more true or obvious than when you look at the top programs in the country and their stability and structure of their coaching strength.
We have so many positive's going for us as a program. We can recruit the best players...can we recruit the best coaches and position assistants? That's my challenge to the university. It is the next step.