-Bumped. BN Eds.
In football, my sense is that UCLA has not been relevant on the national scene since the fumble in the Miami game. So when it was time to replace Bob Toledo, the bar for a suitable hire was pretty low. Simply find somebody who could make us relevant again- didn't have to be in the BCS title game every year, just make us part of the BCS equation on a regular basis. And yet DG went under the bar with Karl Dorrell, a totally untested member of the family.
When it was time to replace Karl Dorrell, the bar for a suitable hire was again low. Not only were we not part of the BCS equation, we weren't even part of the Pac-10 equation. Simply find us somebody who could make us relevant again in the Pac-10, and then move us back to the BCS discussion. And DG again went under the bar by hiring Rick Neuheisel, another member of the family, and tying him down with DG's hand picked coordinators.
When it was time to replace Rick Neuheisel, the bar for a suitable hire was again low. We were still not part of the BCS equation, we weren't part of the Pac-10 equation, and we were getting blown out by $C. Simply find us somebody who could make us competitive in every game, relevant in the Pac-10, and get us back at some point to the BCS discussion. And DG again went under the bar by hiring Jim Mora, who has no meaningful experience at the college level, and was run out of town after 1 year in his most recent NFL gig.
If Jim Mora does turn the program around, it will not be because DG made a competent search. It will because DG was lucky. At the salary DG is taking down (highest in the Pac-12), we should be getting excellence
competence, not luck.
In basketball, the expectations are completely different, and rightfully so. The last time our team was revelant on the national stage was Kevin Love's season. That is not ancient history. And yet since that time we have morphed into a program where the discussion has become about whether winning the Pac-12 regular season would get us into the dance, or whether we would need to win the tourney and get the automatic slot. After last night (losing to the next to worst team in the conference, coupled with Cal winning in Seattle), we can forget about winning the Pac-12 regular season. So now we are down to talking about our chances of winning the conference tourney, and thereby sneaking into the dance. Let me spell out after the jump why we need to get rid of Chianti NOW before he is position to make another dumb decision with regards to hiring of a new hoops coach.
For me, there are 5 fabled college basketball programs in the country- UCLA, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. We are the best public university in the second largest city in the country, with plenty of talent in our backyard and beyond, and with our history, we should be in the mix every season. You can bet that the other 4 schools on this list don't talk about whether they can win the conference and hope to get in the dance, whether they have to win the conference tourney to get in the dance, or similar topic. They talk every year about whether they will be in the final 4, or whether it will be a major disappointing year because they got knocked out in the elite 8. That used to be the discussion we could reasonably have also. We need to get back to that level.
Back in the day, I would have added Indiana to the list. But they have been down so long, that people don't think of them at the start of the season as an automatic program to be reckoned with. If we keep going on our current path, in a few years people will say "UCLA. Didn't they used to have a good basketball team?"
Given where we are, and the reasonable expectations we should have for basketball, we need a coach who can bring us back to the level where being in the dance is a given, not a hope for, and the question is final four or "only" elite eight. This is not like fottball, where we wanted to compete in the conference and hope to play for the national championship in special years. And yet in football, with the bar lower, DG came under the bar time after time. It is pretty clear based on recent experience, that Ben Howland is not the coach to get us back to where we should be in basketball. Otherwise, we would still be there.
One down year is possible. More than that? No. So the athletic director will be making a basketball hire at some point. If DG can't hire a football coach with a low bar, how could he possibly hire a basketball coach with a high bar? He would be under the bar for sure. And we, the long suffering alums and fans, would pay the price, as would the student-athletes who devote their time to the university for the honor of playing in front of ever decreasing crowds.
Dan Guerrero must go. And now.