Manchester United Shows UCLA How It Should Conduct a Coaching Search

Alex Livesey

If UCLA had the leadership of Manchester United, things would be very different in Westwood: there would be sustained excellence, no acceptance of mediocrity, a saavy cutting-edge multimedia team that incorporates both traditional and new media seamlessly, a full embrace of the fan base, and most importantly, a well-thought out and executed coaching succession search.

Manchester United. If you're a football (not the American kind) fan, you either love the Red Devils or hate them. Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, and Paul Scholes are either legendary heroes or hated villains, depending on your allegiance. But the one thing that all football fans have no choice to agree on is that Manchester United has been the definition of a successful machine in the English game over the past 25 years. United sits atop the global football world, alongside giants like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Juventus. They are not only the twenty-time champions of England and three-time champions of Europe, but they are one of the most valuable football clubs in the world, with a global brand that stretches to all corners of the globe and a name that is synonymous with success.

And one man is responsible for that success more than anyone else: Sir Alex Ferguson. The architect of United's resurgence to knock Liverpool off their perch will go down as one of the, if not the, greatest football managers in the history of the game. For the last month since Sir Alex announced his retirement, the football world has showered the Scot with plaudits and accolades from all corners, even from some of his biggest rivals (read: Arsene Wenger). Now, if United were run like Chianti Dan's Morgan Center, United would have languished in limbo for two or three months, offered Brad Stevens newly appointed Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola the job (only to be politely turned down since he just accepted the post with the newly-crowned European champions), would have leaked that Rick Pitino Jose Mourinho was being seriously courted, would have publicly flirted with Billy Donovan former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, and then turned around to hire a unworthy successor like Steve Alford Graeme Souness or Mark Hughes.

Can you imagine that happening at United? No. And why not? Because unlike UCLA, Manchester United has competent management, that executed a succession strategy in an efficient, professional manner. You didn't see a clueless Chianti Dan Guerrero David Gill flying from location to location, begging unworthy coaches to accept one of the most coveted jobs in college basketball world football. On May 8, United announced Sir Alex's retirement and transition to a director/ambassador role. The following day, on May 9, the Red Devils announced that Everton manager David Moyes, the unanimous choice of the board of directors and Sir Alex's hand-picked successor, was taking the reins at Old Trafford.

In fact, unlike Chianti Dan, who got clueless got caught in a contradictory statement about failing to properly vet Alford and his mishandling of the Pierce scandal at Iowa, it was clear that Sir Alex knew exactly who he was recommending to succeed him, having done his diligence over the years (not to mention the tough matches against Moyes' scrappy Everton sides):

When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes. David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I've admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this Club.

Amazing what a difference that competent top-level management can make to the overall success and brand of an organization. Wouldn't it be nice if UCLA had anything resembling that?

Shame we're stuck with Chianti Dan Guerrero, his gaggle of idiots at Morgan Center, all thanks to an indifferent and tone-deaf chancellor in Gene Block. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had Chianti Dan-esque job security: no matter how much you screw up, you'll never be given the ax. Apparently, accountability is a word that Gene Block has yet to learn.

And it's a damn shame.

GO BRUINS

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