-Bumped. GO BRUINS. BN Eds.
In a comment earlier this week, this significant week in the recent history of UCLA Athletics, I noted how Mora can potentially and finally remove us from the Donahue Yoke that has taken hold of our football program for far too long. If I can be so presumptuous, I think this deserves some discussion. Is this correct? A valid argument even? Does it matter? Did Donahue/Field even have any influence in this last coaching search and decision?
Much has been written about the Donahue years, his contribution to the Bruin football legacy, and his influence on the program well over a decade after he left. I don't really want to regurgitate that debate. We all recognize that Donahue has made so many valuable contributions to UCLA and UCLA football. Any rational Bruin can also recognize Donahue's shortcomings.
What has exasperated many of us here has been the enduring influence he has had well after he left. The Donahue Coaching Tree has left UCLA Football gutted of any relevance nationally. It seem with every new coach Donahue or his minions have made their case and affected the choices, outcome, and maybe still to this day the mediocre mindset that dominated the program, the administration and the alumni and fan base.
And yet, despite what Chianti and his supporters would have us believe, and despite even this alum's reservations in hiring Mora (I won't regurgitate that argument here either), Mora may actually be our best chance yet of finally getting UCLA back to our own standard of excellence. Mora may actually usher in a new post-Donahue era, whether or not Donahue/Field were already a non-factor in his hiring. If Mora gets it done in the next couple of years, with all the talent he has, with the momentum he has, with the implosion across town, he might finally remove UCLA Football from the Donahue Yoke, the commitment to mediocrity, once and for all.
We need that!
Donahue, for all his contributions, never won a national championship. Though he had a number of top 10 and top 20 finishes, and the string of Rose Bowls, he stayed far too long relying on his arrested legacy while reducing expectations year by year. His enduring legacy, in my view, is not a dominant UCLA, but a UCLA that settles. That may unsettle some, but I was at UCLA during the Donahue years and have lived with the aftermath far longer. I am tired of it. Much like I was tired of the Wooden "Coaching Tree" eroding his legacy. Once we finally went outside of that we finally won #11. Think about it. Before #11 Dalis and the powers that be were always looking for that Wooden connection. Remember?! It seems like an impossibility now but it's true. Now, no one would even think once about a new basketball coach having any connection to the Wooden legacy (and apparently for Chianti, same goes for rape apologists, but that is another matter).
We need the same change with football!
We may have tripped embarrassingly into the cusp of the Post-Donahue era I wish for, but I welcome it nonetheless. If Mora wins here Donahue and his legacy of mediocrity will never again be a factor in the direction of the program. That is a monumental change and for the better. It has the potential to be one of Mora's greatest legacies.