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Spurrier In Westwood

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:

Spurrier opened his media-day news conference by attacking the university's decision to deny admission to players who were qualified under minimum NCAA standards.

"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."
I know what the naysayers will immediately say. The easy, lazy point usually by "The Risk Averse" bunch (no. 7) will be well how can an academic oriented institution such as UCLA will ever work with a coach like Spurrier who is having admission related problems at a place like USC? Uhm, the easy and logical answer is that if Spurrier were the head coach at UCLA, he wouldn't be scrapping for bottom of the barrel type of recruits he has to fight for at USC, in a recruiting landscape dominated by aforementioned schools and others.

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:
We told you last week about South Carolina's Steve Spurrier citing eight to 10 "so-called players" who were failing to show the proper commitment to summer workouts. Well, Spurrier was just getting started. "We got some real sorry, lazy guys; they won't go to class; they'll flunk out or fall by the wayside at some point, but we have to deal with them in the meantime." There's more. "Not attending class, that's something you run into everywhere, but usually, even those guys will show up for workouts -- not this group." Spurrier made the comments to Bart Wright of the Greenville News.
Well I am not sure if those issues are going to be at play at a place like Westwood. Coach Spurrier if he came to Westwood will have our total and complete support just like we provided Howland during his early years, when he had to do what needed to be done, to completely change the mentality of the previous regime which left Howland with bunch of players who were poorly conditioned, lazy, and did not have an ounce of winners mentality.  Coach Howland changed all of that and I have no doubt Spurrier can do the same with his brand of coach at UCLA.

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:
Spurrier said he would prefer to coach in a warm-weather climate. South Carolina? North Carolina? How about Texas?

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."
Well Spurrier has done his deal at USC. He is built a program, putting it in contention in his third year. However, the admissions issue mentioned above could be just tip of the iceberg in terms of the obstacle in building and maintaining a powerhouse at a place like Columbia. Obviously UNC and Texas are now out of the question.  Michigan will probably be looking at either Les Miles or Jeff Tedford. Plus from what I have heard over the years he likes being place where it is nice, sunny with pitch perfect golfing weather (and nothing wrong with golfing when you are so damn good at coaching).

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:
When Steve Spurrier was named head football coach at the University of Florida on Dec. 31, 1989, none of us ever expected what would happen over the next 12 seasons.

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.
And now the man has an also ran program like USC which doesn't really have long term prospect of staying competitive with other big boys in the SEC. Again also worth noting that he built a program at Duke. Duke! Just keep that fact in mind when against some risk-averse Dorrellista try to convince you academics issue at UCLA will be a hurdle for him.

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.