UCLA Coaching Hot Stove: Focusing on Dan Guerrero’s Incompetence, His Sham "Search"

There is not a lot of news today involving the coaching search this am. You can read up the update from the LA Times, which doesn't provide any new information. So let's reset a bit in terms of where we are, and zero in on the incompetent of Dan Guerrero that has once again resulted in joke coaching search, making UCLA a national laughing stock

So here are the names of coaches who have come up during our search process this time (through various reports):

  • Chris Petersen
  • Kevin Sumlin
  • Al Golden
  • Jim Mora Jr.
  • Mike Bellotti
  • June Jones

We are not going to bother dignifying names such as Tom Cable and Dewayne Walker because that doesn't pass the laugh test. If you look at the rest of the names above, you will note that except for Sumlin, all of those names were considered during the 2007 coaching search. None of them names are anything new. I guess in 2007 there were three other names that popped up during the search: John Harbaugh, Jim Grobe and Mike Leach.

Of course it appears this time around Guerrero did not bother pursuing Mike Leach essentially giving him the cold shoulder all along. Apparently he was just too arrogant to consider Leach and there is also the matter of Guerrero being closed friends with Texas Tech AD who fired Leach. So Guerrero didn't consider Leach for petty reasons.

All of this leads to the obvious question what the heck Chianti Dan has been doing all this time, when has been clear for weeks, if not months that UCLA may be in the market for a new head coach in 2011. The way the sham of a "search" has been conducted it seems Guerrero just dusted up his bland rollodex from 2007 and called the same freaking people. This is why so many are having a hard time with the spin of having to accept options such as a Mora Jr. or Bellotti, because it looks like Guerrero and his incompetent staff did nothing to prepare themselves for a methodical search process.

As has been discussed in recent days there are plenty of talented coaches who could potentially be options for UCLA and may be interested given the Bruins have resources to spend this time around. It is stunning to see Bruins not even bothering considering someone like Dan Mullen or letting guys like Larry Fedora seriously pursued by someone else.

We can already see where this clusterf*ck of a process is headed. After Guerrero flails around pursuing candidates who are not anything new, he will end up settling on someone like Mike Bellotti or Jim Mora Jr, and then try to give us BS spin about how he had conducted an exhaustive such process. Once again the clueless UCLA officials in Morgan Center will be urging us to get behind a new coach, who will come in with more questions and involve the Bruins taking a major chance, when we needed a top tier coach to resurrect this program.

What is also clear that Chianti Dan never had a plan in place for doing a search. Given the actions of this guy, it appears that he really did want to badly hold on to Rick Neuheisel for one more season, even though it became clear to everyone else that UCLA needed a change. This is why Guerrero lollygagged following the Arizona game and refused to let Neuheisel go. This is why Guerrero made the now infamous statement about how Bruins should be excited about having a chance to play for the Rose Bowl, after the 0-50 wipeout at the Coliseum.

Guerrero never wanted to fire Neuheisel. His hands were essentially forced the Monday after the SC game and there is a reason why he looked so nervous and sweaty during that press conference. He had no idea how he was going to do a "search." That is why flailed around at Petersen, pursued a "hot name" like Sumlin despite all the red flags, and then threw a pathetic hail marry at Golden just to please the Chancellor (Gene Block and Golden knew each other from their days at Virginia).

The question now becomes is whether the Chancellor can afford to let this guy further embarrass the school and muck up the process. If I were him at this point the following steps seem to be no brainer:

  • Relieve Chianti Dan immediately all his responsibility as the AD at UCLA
  • Appoint someone at AD, who has been around for a while (i.e. someone like the head of compliance or the Comptroller) to run the day to day operations at Morgan Center
  • Immediately begin a national search for a new AD for UCLA, who actually has a clue about building and maintaining elite major revenue programs.
  • Appoint a small committee of Bruin greats such as Troy Aikman and supporters such as Casey Wasserman to resume the coaching search, and execute it in next 2-3 weeks.

I personally am more concerned about getting a new AD than getting a new football coach. The way hoops season is shaping up, there is a good chance we will be in the market for a new hoops coach. And we can't let Chianti Dan screw up the process of recruiting a new coach, who may have to fix Ben Howland's ugly mess in Westwood.

So to close it up - if you want to take one action today to support the cause of restoring UCLA football - call the Chancellor's office and request Mr. Block to step in and take charge of the football coaching search process (and preferably fire Guerrero ASAP). We need new and competent leadership at Morgan Center. Time for Guerrero to get the heck out of Westwood.

GO BRUINS.

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