Morgan Center Fail
Originally, I was going to write a more-or-less standard Bruin Bites post today. Wish everyone on BN a happy new year, throw in a few cliches about how with a new year comes the promise that 2012 won't be a painful embarrassment to UCLA fans like this past year has been under Chianti Dan's clueless, lazy, ineffective "leadership" and toss in a handful of stories from around the UCLA-iverse.
But then I woke up this morning and I read Chianti Dan Guerrero's comments following UCLA's embarrassing loss to an extremely mediocre Illinois team, that was coming in on a six-game losing streak. I was in such utter shock and disbelief at how complete tonedeaf and delusional, I simply had to re-write this entire post.
We've discussed time and time again how this chianti-swilling, lazy, hack bureaucrat is a complete and utter failure and we've watched his Morgan Center cave to the all-out pressure this community has brought time and time again (#SFatPauley, #VetoSeto, etc.), but apparently Chianti Dan, in his typical tone-deaf empty-headed manner has no clue, making some of his most asinine and laughably stupid comments yet, following our defeat to Illinois:
"I'm a Bruin," Guerrero said of his status. "This is my university. I love my university. I work hard. I can't worry about speculation. I have to look forward. We have a pretty darn good program. Our program is one of the best in the country, bar none. Now, we haven't done it on the football side, and that's obviously something we need to do."
Asked if he's talked to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block recently, Guerrero said: "I talk to Chancellor Block all the time about a number of things. I don't know what the (message) boards are saying or the blogs are saying, but I just know that I go to work, strapping it on every day.
"I feel I do a pretty darn good job running this program."
Wow. There is so much delusion and stupidity here, I don't even know where to begin. First, apparently Chianti Dan is too busy "strapping it on" (insert juvenile sex toy joke here), to read what the "boards or blogs are saying." Kind of amusing since we already know, directly from Murphy Hall, that Gene Block's right-hand woman, Vice Chancellor Rhea Turteltaub, reads BN. So, Chianti Dan's boss has the time and intelligence to read what the "boards and blogs" are saying, but Chianti Dan would rather put his head in the sand and pretend he doesn't hear the criticism. That's some quality "leadership" right there.
Amusingly, Chianti Dan's comments come after one of UCLA's biggest total fail weekends ever. First, Chianti Dan gave all the Bruins in the Bay Area a figurative middle finger, forcing them to choose between going to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park at 12:30 p.m. or the UCLA basketball game at Cal at 1 p.m. The smart thing to do would have been to leverage UCLA's bargaining position, moving men's hoops back to the evening, and then marketing a total UCLA sports ticket package, so that fans could call up the CTO and get a ticket to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, a ticket to the hoops game at Cal, and a BART ticket to get said fan from AT&T Park across the bay to Berkeley, all for a good, bit below market price, as part of a package deal. If we had competent leadership at Morgan Center, that would have happened. But instead, UCLA fans had to choose, diminishing support for the True Blue and Gold at both venues. Second, Morgan Center completely failed to get the fan base in the Bay Area fired up. Outside of Southern California, the Bay Area has the highest number of UCLA alums (kind of makes basic common sense right), so any Bay Area trip is a chance for UCLA to really get a large turnout and boost revenue for the Athletic Department. But, the Bay Area Bruins weren't interested in giving any more money to Chianti Dan's Reign of Error, completely ignoring the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, forcing UCLA to eat tickets it couldn't sell, which in turn projected images of an empty AT&T Park to a national audience, really hammering home how sad, pathetic, and irrelevant our football program has become. And of course, let's not forget that both the football program and Ben Howland's dumpster fire crew turned in laughably pathetic performances that are completely unacceptable at UCLA. All-in-all, a wonderful New Year's Eve present from Chianti Dan of complete and total failure. It really takes special talent to turn an amazing marketing opportunity (the chance to package a bowl game with a hoops game, throw in some pre-game festivity kind of stuff, etc.) to get a huge segment of the UCLA fan base fired up, and turn it into a pathetic, complete failure. But, that's Chianti Dan for you.
So, rather than going through the bits and pieces from around the UCLA-iverse, let's take a look at Dan's laughably stupid, delusional comments, and break them down, bullet-point Bruin Bites style after the jump.
- First, let's start with an interesting history lesson following UCLA's wonderful foray into the history books as a 6-8 bow game loser. Yes, Jim Mora, with his tough-talking, discipline-first attitude (and lack of college coaching experience) has replaced Rick Neuheisel's relentless optimism, inability to control his players, and failure to develop talent. But for Mora, celebrating his hire is no different than spiking the ball on your own 20 yard line: there's a long way to go before we can feel like our football program, the original top-ranked BCS program (let that sink in for a minute: when the first BCS ranking came out in 1998, the #1 team in the nation was UCLA), returning to relevance, let alone stop being a complete and total joke.
- Turning to Chianti Dan, the chianti-swilling moron claims that he "works hard" which, from what we hear in the backchannels, couldn't be further from the truth. Apparently, spending time putting together wine tasting trips to Italy rather than running a legitimate coaching search is considered "hard work" these days. For example, Chianti Dan and his minions in Morgan Center put together "coaching search" that was a complete joke, ending up falling to Jim Mora, who despite his good start, is still a huge gamble. I suppose this kind of bureaucratic stupidity is the kind of "hard work" Dan talks about.
- I particularly liked Chianti Dan's comment about how we have a "pretty darn good program" referring to our athletic department as a whole. First, "pretty good" isn't good enough at UCLA: this is UCLA, where the expectation is that our teams will be among the nation's elite, competing for, and winning national titles on a regular basis. Talk about tone-deaf. Second, the fact of the matter is that we don't even have a "pretty good" program right now. As discussed before, UCLA, as a whole is sliding into athletic obscurity under Chianti Dan's special brand of failed "leadership" which led us to figure out Chianti Dan's next big marketing slogan: "First to 100, Last to 200."
- Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with the simple fact that Dan Guerrero has allowed a diseased culture of mediocrity to take root in Morgan Center.
- Now that I've had time to think, perhaps these clueless, delusional comments aren't that shocking, as Chianti Dan has a long history of making tone-deaf stupid comments following embarrassing losses for UCLA, with the worst example being his idiotic remarks following the absolute and total beat-down given to the Bruins by U$C, telling Bruins that they should be excited for UCLA football falling into the Pac-12 title game after watching the Pac-12 South's real top team hammering Neuheisel's hapless Bruins 50-0.
- Although sometimes Chianti Dan's tone-deaf stupidity gives us some awesome total LOL moments, such as the advertisement asking for donations to the Wooden Athletic Fund, featuring "strength and conditioning" costs next to notoriously out-of-shape hoopster Joshua Smith. Talk about facepalm.
- Let's see: maybe Chianti Dan's "hard work" includes his Word from Westwood, you know, the newsletter that Morgan Center laughingly calls a "blog" (who runs Morgan Center's PR, Baghdad Bob?!), which is nothing more than a one-sided "dialogue" (often mocked) which hand-picks the softball questions to answer, in a manner that proves Dan and Morgan Center have zero understanding of how to engage with the fan base using "new media." Writing that blog must be a lot of "hard work."
- Maybe Chianti Dan's definition of "hard work" includes the complete destruction of UCLA football, which under Dan's watch, has gone from a conference power and nationally prominent program, with regular Rose Bowl appearances, into the laughing stock of the conference, causing UCLA football to slide into total irrelevancy. Remember the BCS history less I started with? Burns doesn't it?
- Under Dan's watch, UCLA football has managed to hit an all-time low, with sagging attendance at the Rose Bowl and embarrassing defeats at home on national television, playing undisciplined, lazy, conservative football.
- Wait, I finally figured out what the hard work was that Chianti Dan was talking about: the entire student seating debacle at the lame, over-priced Pauley Pavilion renovation (#SFatPauley), which involved shady UCLA athletic department officials flat-out lying to the UCLA community. It's a lot of "hard work" to get naive student "leaders" to buy into a sleazy plan to screw over generations of students, promote it as part of a "student survey" and try to defend said stupid decision when the wider Bruin Nation went into full furor.
- Or perhaps the "hard work" is Dan's meticulous planning of high-priced wine-tasting trips to Italy to boost Morgan Center revenues since, under his failed leadership, we've seen declining operating revenue and ticket sales due to total mismanagement of UCLA's main revenue program.
- Finally, at least for me, this Chianti Dan is a total failure special edition of Bruin Bites isn't even unusual anymore. From my quick perusal of the BN archives, this is at least the fifth time that Bruin Bites has had to take a timeout from the normal round-up of news to talk about how Chianti Dan is a complete and total joke (past Chianti Dan failure editions are here, here, here, and here).
Naturally, this kind of stupidity is why we called for WHOLESALE REGIME CHANGE following the Disaster in the Desert, calling for Gene Block to axe not just Rick Neuheisel, but to fire Dan Guerrero immediately. The fact the man has now hired his third head football coach (none coming from success leading to another job, a la Stanford and Harbaugh) in a decade is absolutely unacceptable. Even Jill Painter, who is typically out-of-touch, picked up on that:
Guerrero has enjoyed a relatively calm tenure as athletic director until he recently had the opportunity to hire his third football coach, a luxury seemingly unheard of in big-time Division I athletics these days.
When even Jill Painter sees that your athletic director is a complete tool, it kind of makes you wonder what the hell is going through Chancellor Gene Block's head. Apparently, this kind of "hard work" is worth an annual salary of $688,296. Congratulations folks: nearly $700K in taxpayer dollars pays the salary of the worst athletic director in America.
So, with that, those are your special "Fire Chianti Dan in 2012" edition of Bruin Bites. Fire away with your comments, thoughts, and reactions to Chianti Dan's clueless, tone-deaf comments in the open thread.