My source for all salary data here is from USA Today's College football coach salary database, which was updated today.
When it comes to college football, which group would you rather team be in:
Group A are the 11 BCS conference schools that pay the most for head coaches, all over $2.8 million
Group B are 10 of the 11 BCS conference schools that pay the least for head coaches, all under $1.3 million
UCLA is the 11th and missing member of Group B (Rick Neuheisel earns $1.285 million).
Combined 2011 win-loss record of the schools in Group A: 83-25
Combined 2011 win-loss record of the schools in Group B: 49-61
It's not a perfect correlation, but you get what you pay for. For UCLA to move to next level, Dan Guerrero needs to be willing to pay top-dollar for an elite coach.
Out of 59 BCS coach salaries listed, UCLA's is the 49th highest. There are some private schools (who don't have to report salaries) that aren't shown in USA Today's data, including Notre Dame and USC who surely pay more for Kelly and Kiffin than UCLA does for Neuheisel. This isn't even factoring in that Los Angeles (especially West L.A.) is one of the most expensive places to live in the country.
To be clear, I'm not arguing Rick Neueheisel needs to be paid more, I'm arguing that UCLA needs to be willing to pay more for a head coach.
With all the other big-name schools looking for coaches this offseason, UCLA has to be willing to pay a real coaches' salary to attract someone who is established.
You get what you pay for.