Dear Chancellor Block,
As a two-time alumni (B.A. '86, M.F.A. '03) I am writing to express my very strong displeasure at reading the story today in Sports Illustrated and to ask that you remove Dan Guerrero and Coach Howland, then direct Mr. Guerrero's replacement to look for a new men's basketball coach.
I understand there are many challenges facing UCLA today. I'm certain that your day is filled with problems you may arguably deem more important than who runs our athletic program and who coaches our teams. But in briefly sharing with you my own path to Westwood, I would hope to convince you why the integrity, success and image of UCLA's major athletic programs are worth your attention, and why this change is so important.
In 1976 I lived in Northern Virginia. As a high school freshman at the time, I watched the Rose Bowl game in which UCLA played Ohio State. Until that time, I had never thought of attending UCLA. For someone who lived in Virginia and excelled academically, attending the University of Virginia would've been the more likely path. But there was something about seeing the sights of the Rose Bowl and the band and the team (and possibly the cheerleaders) that drew me to eventually find my way to Westwood as a freshman in 1979.
Since that time, I've earned two degrees at Westwood. I've given money to the school. I've supported its sports teams by purchasing season tickets. I've attended multiple Rose Bowl games. In 1995 I was even fortunate enough to follow our men's basketball team to Seattle, where I watched them win a National Title. That was truly a highlight of my life.
All because in 1976, a kid from freezing cold Virginia watched UCLA play in a big time game on TV.
So if you were inclined to think that athletics don't matter, I would disagree with you. For people like me, it's the very reason we chose UCLA in the first place.
After reading the S.I. article today, I no longer have the confidence that our current A.D. has the skills, judgement and competence required to field teams that will inspire future generations of Bruins to find their own paths to Westwood.
In the strongest way possible, I urge you to fire A.D. Guerrero and Coach Howland. Immediately.
P.S. As a parent of a grade schooler, I can't tell you how many times I've been at my daughter's school and seen her classmates wearing jerseys and shirts from that school across town, but rarely our own Bruin colors. That's the next generation of kids who, if you don't make this change now, will take their ideas and passion and dreams elsewhere.