Here is Nikki Caldwell's official statement:
"UCLA is a special place in so many ways," Nikki Caldwell said. "I will forever be indebted for the opportunities that UCLA has afforded me. Dan Guerrero is one of the elite athletic directors and it has been a privilege and an honor to work with this administration. They did all they could to keep me at UCLA and I appreciate those efforts.
"This team has been an example of what hard work and perseverance represent. Although I was brought in here to teach them, I have been able to learn so much from them. I only wish for the best for this program and this institution and I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to coach here."
We will forever be grateful to Coach Caldwell for igniting much needed interested in UCLA's women basketball program. In three years she turned Bruins into an elite program despite not getting much support from the athletic administration.
Caldwell was gracious and classy in her statement on Dan Guerrero. We respectfully disagree. Dan right now is on a CYA mode while hanging out at the Final-4. It is true that UCLA at this point could not have realistically competed with LSU's (crazy) financial offer approximating $1 million per year. No one can blame Coach Caldwell for taking advantage of that kind of opportunity.
It wouldn't have been smart for UCLA to spend that kind of resources on women's hoops while both major revenue programs are still struggling. That big picture point is the issue right now with UCLA athletics. Due to Dan Guerrero's and UCLA Athletics' general lack of vision, there is no energy around UCLA's football and basketball programs that have been struggling through mediocrity. It impacts the excellence of the entire athletic department which comes up short in preserving the other great programs because it is not meeting it's full potential in money sports.
The struggles of the major revenue programs are resulting in UCLA athletics not meeting it's full revenue potential. Because of this there is no energy among the donor base and apathy among students and alums, which one can argue is negatively impacting the health of the entire athletic department.
Now with more stories of penny pinching and petty management around major projects, it is becoming clear that there is no vision in Dan Guerrero's athletic department. This is the kind of atmosphere that facilitates talent drain to other programs. The responsibility for this problem lies with Dan and his bosses. It is a topic that will only get more heated if UCLA doesn't do the right thing with the student seating scandal in near future and our major revenue programs continue to struggle.
For the purposes of this post, I want to close with thanking Coach Caldwell. I am saddened that she is gone. We will miss her and will always appreciate what she did for our Bruins.
Thank you, coach.