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The Karl Dorrell Mythology

I've met Karl Dorrell.  It was only briefly, and in a group, but he's was quite nice.

I've also been to a couple of those breakfasts.  You know the ones.  At one, Karl was there, and was a perfect gentlemen (he also said we had a "BCS caliber team," by the way).

But, you know what?  Karl isn't all that good of a guy.  I'm not saying he's a terrible guy.  But, he's just a regular guy out for himself.

It's sort of funny, the way this mythology has come to be.  How many times have we heard of how nice a man good `ole Karl Dorrell is?  He represents the university so well, we're told.  He's engaging, and personable.  He may have spent a year or two too many "learning" and "growing" on the job, but he's a fantastic guy.  Beyond reproach.  And don't even get me started on the birthdays.

I've got news for you, as difficult as it might be to hear.  Karl Dorrell isn't that good of a guy.

Before I go on, here is what I don't dispute.  KD is handsome, and polite.  He's well mannered.  And well dressed.  He is respectful, and reserved.  He's not flamboyant, and doesn't have any obvious vices that give me reason to believe he is the sort of bad guy that will someday have to explain away gambling, drinks with co-eds, or a hefty tab at the Gold Club.

But just being clean cut isn't what makes a man.  A man is the sum of his actions.  And Karl's actions tell me he's just a regular guy, out for number one.  Consider the following:

  • KD was concededly a green and inexperience coach when he hired by DG in late 2002.  But, he was a Bruin, and he had the promise of becoming a good coach over time.  That was the deal.  If he honored that promise, it would vindicate the chance UCLA took on him, and make the investment in youth, loyalty and diversity one that paid off big time by capture a star on the rise.  We, and I firmly believe DG as well (and likely DG directly during KD's interview), were told that KD would repay the once in a lifetime opportunity afforded to him with a long tenure as UCLA's coach.  That, my friends, was a lie.  KD has made no secret of his ambitions.  Unlike a certain basketball coach, he does not see his dream job in Westwood. From what we hear Karl has always, always, wanted to go back to the NFL.  So, even assuming we were all wrong, and KD "turned one last corner" and became a good coach, he'd be gone in an instant.  KD was, and is, using us.  And he has the tremendous gall to try to shame us for not giving him even more chances to succeed, and leave (not to mention complaining about the pay along the way).  That, my friends, is not a good guy.
  • KD has been through more than his fair share of assistants.  No one would suggest that a head coach should keep a lousy assistant, but Karl's history is not one to be proud of.  Can anyone tell me exactly how many assistants he's fired (or asked to resign, etc.)?  It's a lot.  Or how many he's blamed for his failures.  That's a big number too.  In truth, Karl has just been doing what he had to in order to stay around.  He's scapegoated as many as necessary to stay around for another year.  And, funny thing, you never hear about how any of those guys were such "good guys."  Or, were they "bad" guys, unlike Karl?  And, just as with Karl, we are talking about these guy's lives.  Still, when was the last time we were asked to feel sorry for those assistants, when in many cases, they uprooted their families to LA only to be fired after just a year or two (how awful is that?).  So, even if I didn't believe that KD had a penchant for firing his scapegoats assistants by text message (which I firmly do, for reasons I'm at liberty to disclose more than I have), I'd still tell you that Karl isn't so great a guy.
  • KD must know that he's not getting it done.  He's no genius, but I can't believe that Karl doesn't know that he's underperforming.  Sure, he may have deluded himself into believing his own excuses.  But, he's got to know that he's not bringing in conference championships.  And he knows that was what he was hired for.  Yet, he still has no problem whatsoever with collecting nearly a million dollars a year in public funds, and complaining on national television that this isn't enough.  Are you kidding me?  You know, I've done jobs that paid me more than I was worth.  Even before I became a lawyer ;).  Each time, I knew it.  I think Karl does too.
  • KD isn't forthright with us or the media.  I know that's harsh, but I don't know what else to conclude from how KD conducts himself.  Many have said that KD isn't a polished spokesperson.  I think it's more than that.  He doesn't answer questions.  He is sometimes disrespectful to the press (Football 101, anyone).  He's cut off media access to players in unusual and far reaching ways.  Sure, I get it, that's sometimes part of the job.  But, does any of this lead you to believe that Karl is such a good guy?
  • KD does things that make one wonder if his priorities lay with himself, or his players.  I'm not in the locker room.  But am I missing something?  How many times have we seen an injured player left in the game, or put back in the game (maybe after getting a shot).  How many times have starters been left in games despite great fatigue, and a result that was no longer in doubt.  More often, how many times have we seen promising young athletes have their skills, and very careers, threatened by being misused, or not used, or simply forgotten?  Let's ask Osaar about his playing time.  Or BO about the WC offense.  Or any number or young players (Austin comes to mind) who don't get playing time in deference to guys with more seniority.  Again, does this make KD a nasty guy?   Maybe, maybe not.  But, a good guy?  No.
  • KD has sometimes compromises his principles.  Karl was all about restoring the honor of the program.  Cleaning up Toledo's mess, right?  That is, until he needs an ace recruiter to haul in inner city commits.  Thus, we were given Mr. Eric Scott.  An inexperienced high school coach with no real qualifications, besides a good repartee in a few LA schools.  Oh yeah, and a rap sheet- a long one.  Thanks to Mr. Dellins, and a willingness by the local press to let this one slide, we still don't know how Scott got hired, or who knew what when.  But, we know that KD was willing to cut a rather large corner to shore up his inability to recruit.  And then preach to us about second chances once we found out.  Again, a damning indictment?  Maybe, maybe not.  But, saintly conduct this is not.  
In the end, I don't give a rat's ass how well KD glad hands donors, or how often he presses his slacks.  On the other hand, I do it's important to have an honorable coach, that plays by the rules, and looks out for his colleagues and players.  In this case, I just don't see Karl as having lived up to his reputation as Mr. Nice Guy.  

No, he's just a regular guy, who isn't doing his job very well, and who's making nearly a million dollars a year.  What we've been told to the contrary is simply a myth.

And, if he get's fired, and collects his $2.05 million buy out payment (which will pay a lot of greens fees), I'm not going to feel sorry one bit.


PS: Please contact Saba Riazati, Daily Bruin's Editor In Chief and ask her calmly why did the newspaper decide to pull the anti-KD ad today. Email her at Please be polite and respectful. But we all deserve an answer.