What's wrong with turning the athletic programs of Jackie Robinson and John Wooden into an irrelevant joke?
heynowhotshot has already fanshotted a must read column from OC Register's UCLA beat writer Scott Reid, in which he tears apart both Gene Block and Dan Guerrero for their lack of leadership in Westwood. While the column contains a baseless accusation about Coach Wooden, the underlying point concerning Guerrero's total incompetence is worth emphasizing again on our frontpage.
Reid zeroes in on the biggest issue in front of the UCLA athletic family. It is not Ben Howland - who has no business being the coach of John Wooden's program. The focus needs to be on Guerrero (emphasis added throughout)
The much more important question is whether Dan Guerrero should be allowed to continue making major decisions about the direction of UCLA's athletic department?
Should Block really let the same man who botched two football hires and stumbled onto Jim Mora only after his first four choice weren't interested continue to do the hiring and firing at the Morgan Center?
Under Guerrero UCLA has become a gymnastics and volleyball school.
Balance Beam U.
Reid then goes through the extensive list of Guerrero FAILS, which has been exhaustively and thoroughly catalogued and archived here on BN in last few months. Reid's column - notwithstanding the usual OC Register potshots at UCLA brand in general - is significant because he does get the story out on perhaps the most incompetent athletic director in the West Coast and certainly in the history of modern Bruin athletics.
Thankfully it appears that other member of the national and local media are starting to pick up on Guerrero's failings at UCLA. The media is starting to turn its focus on S.S. Chianti.
Local blogger Jimmy Bramlett called out Guerrero (along with Howland) at the LAist, pointing to the "incompetence" at Chianti's athletic department:
UCLA athletics have fallen on hard times. Both the football and men's basketball teams stink, and mentioning the school elicits responses such as, "Oh that's where that old guy coached something, right?"
It's a disgrace. John Wooden coached there. Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton won national championships there. In the last decade the program went to three consecutive Final Fours. However aside from those three seasons, the revenue generating sports for the Bruins have been awful under Athletic Director Dan Guerrero's watch.
This should help usher both Guerrero and Howland out of Westwood, but it won't. This is UCLA after all, and the incompetence in their athletic department will allow this to fester until the only option would be to lance it off. Can UCLA continue to compete in the Pac-12 or will they have to be demoted to the West Coast Conference?
While nationally Mike Miller of NBC Sports channeled our topline argument and agreed that Guerrero should be facing heat at UCLA:
Athletic director Dan Guerrero also is fending off angry Bruins fans. And he should be.
The news that Howland, UCLA's coach since 2003, was an aloof figure to his players and ignored excessive alcohol and drug use among them wasn't a surprise to those who've watched the Bruins decay recently. A program that went to three Final Fours from 2006-2008 has hardly lived up standards Howland set, let alone what John Wooden did.
Miller went on to add:
And if you doubt Guerrero is hearing it, then read this post from Bruins Nation. It essentially rails at him in print form, as if Guerrero were an idiot teenager who never considered how his actions affected others. That's no small thing given Bruins Nation qualifies as a staunch support of the school.
Chianti is clearly feeling it. In the process he is making it crystal clear to everyone by now that Guerrero is nothing more than a spineless bureaucrat, who only cares about his self-preservation instead of worrying about the best interest of the four letters. He has no shame in trotting out shameless spin and talking points that are devoid of reality. Even a dolt like Bill Plaschke can recognize how Chianti is setting up Ben as the guy to blame, by cozying up with what appears to be an equally clueless Chancellor who has no grasp of the tradition of Bruin athletics.
As disipirited as the situation may appear to some of you, we suggest use it further turn up the pressure. We can tell you that we are starting to get emails from donors who are essentially agreeing with pretty much every point we have raised concerning Guerrero's total degradation of our major revenue programs in recent years. We are hearing folks who also agree with our approach that focus needs to be on getting Guerrero out of Westwood asap, before turning to Howland.
While the crisis management hire by UCLA has been able to inject some of their talking points through traditional media outlets, the excerpts above make it apparent that there is also pressure building on Chianti. He is already a national joke about new media outlets. Now number of tradmed reporters are seeing the writing of the wall. Let's keep up the pressure.