I just came back from a road trip through the midwest and east. One of the highlights was sipping mint juleps at the source, the Seelbach in Louisville, while watching the Bruins destroy MSU in the final game at Omaha. This inspired me upon my return to update the grades I had assigned in a previous post, to all of Dan's hires/retentions.
The basic premise was, and is, that Doughnut would be evaluated on results, not on extenuating circumstances or explanations. If a sport was led by a coach who was already in Westwood when Doughnut arrived, and that coach continued to succeed at the highest levels, then there is no grade assigned for that sport. The highest paid AD in the conference should not receive credit for leaving well enough alone.
If a sport is led by a coach who was hired by Doughnut, then the program would be graded, based on success at the national level, compared to the record of the coach who was leading the program when Doughnut took over. A grade of A would be reserved for coaches who win national championships. Again, with the highest paid AD and the natural advantages at the best university in the 2nd largest city in the country, we should not hand out A's for "almost". A should mean "attained".
If a sport is led by a coach who was on the scene when Doughnut arrived, and that program has floundered during Doughnut's tenure, then the program receives a grade of F. Inactivity on Doughnut's part is inexcusable, when a sport clearly needs a new direction, at least based on results (or lack thereof).
Before the final spring sports, my grades were as follows-
Baseball (Savage) B
Men's Basketball (Howland, Alford) C Howland was clearly a step up from Lavin, but Doughnut allowed the program to take a steep drop and followed that up with a dubious hire
Women's Basketball (Caldwell, Close) D It was not hard to improve on Olivier's record, but 3 early exits in the subsequent 5 years should not be acceptable
Men's Cross Country (Maynard) F
Women's Cross Country (Maynard) F
Men's Track (Maynard, Frazier) F Hopefully, Frazier, hired last month, will turn things around, but until then..
Women's Track (Bolton, Johnson) F The glory days of UCLA women's track are in the ever receding past. Hopefully, Johnson, hired last week, will turn things around, but until then..
Football (Dorrell, Neuheisel, Mora) F A blowout in the Holiday Bowl is an improvement, but only in comparison to the absolutely epic failures of Doughnut's previous hires
Men's Golf (Vincent, Freeman) A
Women's Golf (Forsyth) N/A- here before Doughnut arrived, has continued to succeed
Women's Gymnastics (Kondos Field) N/A- here before Doughnut arrived, has continued to succeed
Women's Rowing (Fuller Kearney) F Here before Doughnut arrived, program remains irrelevant on the national scene, with a single season best finish of 8th in the NCAA's since Doughnut took over
Men's Soccer (Salcedo) D
Women's Soccer (Snow, Cromwell) F UCLA was in the College Cup frequently when Ellis (here before Doughnut) was coach. Hopefully, Cromwell, hired in April, will get us back to our prior heights and beyond, but until then..
Softball (Inouye-Perez) D has won a championship, but look where we are now compared to when Enquist was coach. The highest paid AD should be able to keep programs at the level which existed with the coaches he inherited
Women's Swimming (Gallagher) F More non-benign neglect on Doughnut's part. Gallagher was here when Doughnut arrived- program remains irrelevant on the national scene, with a single season best finish of 7th in the NCAA's since Doughnut took over
Men's Tennis (Martin) N/A- here before Doughnut arrived, has continued to succeed
Women's Tennis (Sampras Webster) N/A- here before Doughnut arrived, has continued to succeed
Men's Volleyball (Speraw) N/A- at the time of the prior grading, he had not started his first season, succeeding Scates who was here well before Doughnut
Women's Volleyball (Sealy) A
Men's Water Polo (Wright) B
Women's Water Polo (Brooks) F
Back in my time at UCLA, the GPA was computed disregarding plus and minus. So an A or A- was worth 4, a B+, B, and B- was worth 3, etc. Using this scale, Doughnut's overall GPA with the above grades was a resounding 1.12. Hardly retention material, except in the eyes of our esteemed Chancellor.
Since these grades were assigned, the Bruins have won in Omaha, so Baseball goes up from a B to an A. The men's volleyball season ended in the MPSF tournament, so Men's Volleyball goes from N/A to D. Again, there could be extenuating circumstances, but Doughnut should be responsible for results, not for stories. The other sports continued on their prior trajectories, so no change in grades would be warranted.
The changes in baseball and men's volleyball result in a new overall GPA for Doughnut of 1.17. Although this is objectively an improvement over 1.12, it hardly seems worthy of a contract extension, except again in Block's looking glass world.
If Doughnut extends his vacation in Italy through 2019, I am sure that Kondos Field, Sampras Webster, Martin, and Forsyth will do just fine, and will hopefully add to the total of championships "earned" by Doughnut (as a reminder, of the 23 championships cited by him, 4 were by his hires). The other sports led by his hires, or by non-succeeding retained coaches, would probably also do fine if he extends his Chianti excursion.
But, for the amount Doughnut is getting, it would be nice to see active, competent management, weeding out the non-succeeders, and stopping the string of embarrassing new hires.
Our student-athletes deserve the best possible environment in which to succeed for themselves, for their teammates, and for their school.
There could be quibbles with some of the grades above. But a GPA in the sub-2 range shows that Doughnut is clearly not providing the best possible environment for our student-athletes.
Thank goodness for mandatory retirement. Chancellor Block can't be aroused to take action. But he will be gone in a few years. And Doughnut will be gone a few years after that, even if Chancellor Block's successor shows the same lack of interest in the total UCLA experience.