Jon Gold from the Daily News has a pretty interesting Q&A with Dan Guerrero. I wanted to share some nuggets that were interesting to me. DG made the following comments about Howland growing as a coach this past season:
Q: The basketball program obviously had a tough season; how does a season like that affect you - as the administrator, as a fan, as someone whose paycheck is heavily involved in the success of the team?
A: We had a tough year last year, by Ben's admission. All the ingredients weren't there. It was probably time for that to happen. But I believe Ben grew more as a coach this year than I've ever seen in him. This was really about finding about what this program is all about. Really sticking with your convictions, not compromising in any way. Those are the kinds of discussions we had all year long. I think Ben grew quite a bit from that.
About the need for showing patience with our football program:
Q: On the flip side, the football program seems to be soaring. Here, it's 4-8, 7-6 and you see some of those building steps; why do you have a little more patience here?
A: It's frightening to hear people talk about the need to win now. In some respects, that's what our business has become, and that's a shame. As Coach Wooden so aptly said, "Be the best that you can be." At UCLA, being the best we can be in the end, results in great success. But there shouldn't be a disappointment when a team doesn't meet that mark, if they perform to their optimum levels, if they perform in a manner that brings pride to a university or to each other. The whole notion of patience is one that more in my profession need to practice.
Q: How important is it to you to know that you have a guy now that doesn't just care about winning for the sake of winning, but for the sake of his legacy here, his alma mater?
A: One of the things I really enjoy about (Bruins football coach Rick Neuheisel), when he talks about recruiting and talking to prospects, I love the fact that he says he doesn't need to sell UCLA to prospects. In lieu of that, he can share himself with prospects, share the experiences he had. That in and of itself lets you in that it's a different relationship that he has with this university and what he can do as a result of that. It was important for me to be able to get someone in who could compete on a national stage in a press room.
Q: Do you want it to eventually to get to 16? Is 12the right number for right now?
A: If I had my druthers, 10would always be the right number. The Pac-10 had, and has, a great conference with 10 teams. Natural rivals, geographically in the right place, and there was sort of a comfort zone. We had a unique niche on the West Coast. That, and from a competitive standpoint, when you evaluate the success of the conference in a broad array of sports, there isn't a conference in the country that compares.
Q: Do you have a preference for realignment? I'm hearing about North-South, East-West, a zipper format ...
A: I really need to study it more. We've talked about the possibilities. We've talked East-West, we talked North-South, of course, we talked about the zipper. Look, the L.A. market is important to everyone in our conference. We know that. The Pac-10 without the L.A. market is not nearly the same Pac-10 ... or the Pac-12. There are going to need to be more discussions.
Interesting comments to say the least. It is still not clear to me exactly how well thought out this expansion has been for the original Pac-10 programs. I get the sense that UCLA officials should have grilled Larry Scott lot harder before giving him the green light to move on it.
You should read the whole transcript here.