Bumped. A must read post with an inside look at the dysfunctional state of UCLA Athletic Department. - BN Eds.
After weeks of contemplating whether or not I should share my story, I decided that it was time. A special thanks to gbruin for reaching out to me.
It has been a very long year for Bruin fans everywhere, and with the recent SI article providing our university with yet another black eye, I knew that it was time to share my story.
Please let me provide a little background about myself. I am one of you, another Bruin fan who is deeply disturbed and frustrated with the direction that our Athletic program is headed. Just like many of you, I grew up watching UCLA football play in Rose Bowls and UCLA basketball making the Big Dance was a given - UCLA was UCLA and nothing short of greatness was expected year in and year out, and why shouldn't it? While some of us here may have never experienced UCLA in its greatness, never ever forget that we share the same 4 letters as some of the greatest athletes and coaches in our times; Coach John Wooden, Jackie Robinson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Troy Aikman, Reggie Miller, Ann Meyers, Al Scates, Valerie Kondos-Field, Adam Krikorian, Walt Hazzard, Arthur Ashe, Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Lisa Fernandez, Andy Banachowski and that's just off the top of my head - I know there are dozens of others that deserve recognition.
It's plain and simple. UCLA. Champions Made Here. That used to be our mantra and we used to believe in that.
I began high school in 2002 when Dan Guerrero became Athletic Director of UCLA and by the time I had graduated high school, USC had become nationally relevant due to their football program and UCLA football had become a joke under the watch of Dorrell/Guerrero (although the 2005 team - aka the MJD and Marcedes Lewis Show overachieved). However, we Bruins had basketball. The day after I turned in my SIR to attend UCLA, a resilient UCLA team fought back to beat Gonzaga and brought tears to Adam Morrison's eyes. I immediately felt a sense of pride in my university and knew that this was where I had to be. I already knew that I was getting a first class education and I'd be living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world; several of my family members are Bruins, so I already knew that, but it was the athletics aspect of UCLA that stood out to me. I knew that I'd be watching football and basketball games long after I had left Westwood.
My experience working for the Morgan Center after the jump.I began working for the J.D. Morgan Center as an undergraduate student and enjoyed my experience there. In order to protect the identity of my bosses and colleagues, I will not disclose the department or my responsibilities. I have encountered stalkers on BRO, including a "booster" who went through a list of employees in an attempt to discover who I am.
I attended every UCLA football and basketball home game and became good friends with team managers in different sports, in both revenue and non-revenue sports. My job gave me insight into how the Morgan Center treated its athletes and I have nothing but highest praise for my bosses and how they run their department. It's quite unfortunate that the overall failure and lack of oversight under Dan Guerrero's watch, has really caused uninformed UCLA fans and outsiders to perceive that UCLA Athletics as a whole, is a cesspool of bureaucratic leaches and general incompetence. This is not true, as far as I know, the only bureaucratic leach and incompetent man is the man who is running the whole show, Athletic Director, Dan Guerrero.
My job is an overlooked, but very essential component of UCLA Athletics. This is not to say that I was an important individual, but rather, our collective work contributed significantly year in and year out. However, Mr. Guerrero was a man who either did not seem to take interest in our work, or had more important things to do. (Insert strap on joke here).
I would be at the Morgan Center 2-3 times a week for 2 years and not once did I see Dan Guerrero in the Morgan Center. That is kind of hard to do, considering that the Morgan Center is only 3 floors and you would think that the Athletic Director of UCLA would be walking around the building. In contrast, I'd see Rick Neuheisel, Ben Howland, their assistant coaches and Bob Fields frequently, showing people around the Athletic Hall of Fame or just walking around, from their office to another place. Let me repeat that, not once did I see Dan Guerrero in the Morgan Center.
As a fan, I'd also be at every UCLA football and basketball game. I saw Dan Guerrero once outside of the Rose Bowl, and he was not wearing any shade of blue or gold. Ladies and gentlemen, our Athletic Director, was wearing a tan suit with no hint of blue or gold. (In comparison, how many times have you seen Pat Haden actually on the field, wearing a ketchup and mustard colored hat?) This in itself, should be a fireable offense in any other university where the president or chancellor-equivalent cared a little bit about sports. I have never seen Dan Guerrero at Pauley Pavilion. I was one of the students who camped out and made sure that I was sitting in the Den. Not once did I see Dan Guerrero meet the students, wave at us or even walk by. In contrast, I've seen Cade McNown, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tracy Murray, Reggie Miller and dozens of other UCLA figures while sitting in the Den.
My job allowed me to interact with athletes from many different sports and I was invited to attend different functions where athletes, alumni and boosters interacted. I also learned from my friends, the UCLA team managers, tidbits about what would occur during their season, banquets and other events. I would like you to take a guess who was not present at most of the functions for the non-revenue sports.
If you guessed Dan Guerrero was not present, you are correct. The Athletic Director of a prestigious university with the richest athletic history in the nation was not present at functions where athletes, alumni and boosters were present? Yes, Dan Guerrero was a no-show. In contrast, I have even seen Gene Block at one of these events. Yes, the elusive "Chancellor" Gene Block who backs Dan Guerrero and signs his checks.
I was able to look past this, considering how Dan must have better things to do. (Insert 2nd strap on joke here). However, the biggest offense and what really angered me, was Dan being a no-show to a round table discussion where students, alumni and Den members were invited to share their feedback on the renovations of one of our major facilities. An associate AD was leading the discussion and respected our opinions and insights. It was very telling that Guerrero was not present and it told me that Mr. Guerrero did not care enough about student's opinions to even attend the meeting.
Do you, Bruins sense a recurring theme here? Along with the Pauley student fiasco, his bungling of the football head coach search, his handling of the UCLA basketball scandal and his general non-presence, I hope I have painted a vivid image of how hard Dan Guerrero is "strapping it on" everyday. How this man makes more money than researchers, doctors and other hard-working Bruins, while destroying the UCLA brand and making tonedeaf, idiotic statements to the press, is beyond me. If "Chancellor" Gene Block had half a clue, he'd also realize this as well and would've told him to take a hike, yesterday.
In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Fellow Bruins, never forget that we are UCLA. Champions Made Here. Never let an underachieving, uninspiring duo of clueless bureaucrats convince you that as Bruins, we are "headed in the right direction" when we are missing out on NCAA tournaments or being humiliated by the national media. We deserve nothing less than championships at U.C.L.A.
* I purposely left out my position and department at the Morgan Center in order to protect the identities of several people who do not deserve to be associated with Dan Guerrero's incompetence.