I loved the discussion Bruin Blue and ryebreadraz's posts generated last week on a coaching search, which Dan Guerrero should be conducting right now through back channels.
Lot of interesting names have come up. I think there is a lot of merit to a point Bruin Blue made little more than two weeks ago when he talked about the urgency of making a "home run" hire. The five names Bruin Blue brought up were: Urban Meyer, Mark Richt, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Jimmy Johnson as "homerun hire"
I would like to amend that list by striking out Meyer (because I simply do not believe it is practical at this point of time to pry Meyer lose from Florida), and inserting another big name. I can see how one can make the arguments for other four coaches at UCLA.
However, I believe the "home run" hire out there who could be the right fit for UCLA is none other than this guy.
Photo Credit: G. Fouste Photography's photostream (flickr)
No not Marc Richt. Bruin Blue already has him in his list. I am talking about the Ol' Ball coach who beat Richt after that picture was taken, and who has his USC program down in Columbia sitting pretty this year with a top-10 ranking in major polls. He has them positioned well and set up for a historic BCS run in a conference that has been dominated by Florida (a program he built - more on it below), LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn etc.
Things are going well for the Bawl coach now, but he hasn't been exactly happy at USC. Right before the season there was a story out reporting how Coach Spurrier has not been happy with USC:
"As long as I'm the coach here, we're going to take guys that qualify," Spurrier said Sunday. "If not, then I have to go somewhere else because I can't tell a young man, 'You're coming to school here,' he qualifies and not do that. And we did that this year."
If Spurrier came to UCLA and had the access to same level of talent pool where a former high school assistant coach or a Redskins secondary coach (Spurrier if you have forgotten already actually was a head coach for the Redskins) can have decent enough success to put together a top-3 class, something tells me in 2-3 years, he would be in a position where he would be picking and choosing recruits like Coach Howland does with our basketball program.
Anyway, this was not the first time stories surfaced about Spurrier not enjoying himself at USC. Back in June of 2006, Spurrier also expressed his reservations with what is going on at USC:
Now why would a coach like Spurrier be interested in a place like UCLA? Well allow me to repost these excerpts from an AP story Odysseus put up almost four years ago when talks started surfacing about Spurrier wanting to come back to college game:
He declined to say whether he has spoken to any schools.
"I can't answer all that. I can't answer all your questions. In the next two or three weeks, once the season is over, we'll see what happens," he told The Sun.
"I think I've made it clear now that if I go back into coaching, it'll be at a good state university, a college job. Hopefully it will be in the South. I'd rather not get up there in the North."
Yeah, so I cannot think of a more pitch perfect set up for Spurrier at UCLA, while Pom Pom and his fun loving (alleged) criminals seem to be on their way down.
Once again for a quick refresher on what Spurrier did at University of Florida:
After 58 years of SEC participation and competition, no previous Florida team had ever won an official league championship in football (1984 was stripped after cheating). Spurrier-led Gators have accomplished this six times (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 2000) dominating the SEC, its title game, and rising to national dominance by always finishing in the top 10.
He is the first coach in SEC history to win three outright conference championships in his first five years in the league. Florida's 86-14 SEC record during this period is the best in history for any head coach with a minimum of five years at a league school. Spurrier has guided the Gator to ten straight bowl appearances including two BCS appearances in the Orange Bowl.
From 1906 to 1989, only seven Gator teams won as many as nine games in one season. In twelve seasons, Spurrier teams have won nine or more each year, including 10 in 1991 and 1994, 11 in 1993 and 12 in 1995 and 1996. UF has been ranked in The Associated Press' national poll in all but one week during his tenure at Florida (160 of 161 weeks). The Gators have appeared in the AP Top 10 in each of the last 123 weeks. Spurrier has been named SEC Coach of the Year five times and won the SEC's Eastern Division championship in the first five years of conference divisional play winning the four title games in a row (1993-96).
Spurrier became the first UF coach to beat Georgia in eight consecutive years (1990-97). The 1996 season was the greatest in school history, as the squad posted a superb 12-1 regular season record and chopped the Seminoles 52-20 in the 1997 national championship game - The 1997 Nokia Sugar Bowl.
At Duke his teams reached heights no Blue Devil squad had seen in nearly three decades. The offense set records and shredded Atlantic Coast Conference standards and resulted in a 1989 bowl appearance and an ACC conference championship - Duke's first bowl showing since 1960 and first conference title since 1962.
As for salary issues, I do believe if a coach like Spurrier expresses interest, UCLA will be able to raise the necessary resources to put a package together that will work.
It's just a matter of having of a vision that pictures Coach Spurrier in his UCLA visor (up by 10 points) stomping around the Rose Bowl, drawing up a little fun and gun play for Olson or Cowan or Forcier (whoever is at QB), and set up few rocket throws, merciless bombing Pom Pom's confused defense.
I like the sound of that kind of movie a lot.