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Kurt Streeter of LAT: "...[Dorrell] has done exactly what he was asked to do"

OK, so I wake up this morning, pick up my LA Times (yes, folks, I still subscribe, but I only look at the pictures) and read the lovely piece by writer Kurt Streeter.  Streeter starts his piece thusly (emphasis added):

He's too staid, too indecisive, in over his head and doesn't win enough.

So goes the tired, old argument against UCLA football Coach Karl Dorrell. An army of you critics wants him gone. Bring in someone else, you say, and the Bruins will morph into a football juggernaut.

You are dead wrong.

Karl Dorrell is right for the Bruins. UCLA should not stoop to the maddening crowd and cut him loose.

Someone should square off against the lot of you who are trying to drive a good coach out of town. You have your websites and blogs. So I'm starting mine. I'm calling it, and it's on the web now. It is a forum for discussion about the embattled coach.

I'll post this column and respond to your reasoned arguments until we know his fate.

Streeter also states as follows (emphasis added):

And he has done exactly what he was asked to do.

UCLA brought him in before the 2003 season and told him to refashion an unruly, undisciplined team in his own straight-arrow image. Under Dorrell's watch, here is what you no longer see: Bruins in the headlines for run-ins with the law.

He was also told to win. His record could be better, but he's done plenty to keep his job. Two years ago, his team was 10-2, and he shared Pacific 10 Conference coach-of-the-year honors with Pete Carroll. Over time, Dorrell's teams have won nearly six of every 10 games -- pretty much the standard Bruins clip.

There's more, folks.  Streeter apparently spoke with Dorrell for an hour this week about whether the latter was "given a fair shake."  Granted, Dorrell does not say explicitly that he feels he is treated unfairly because of his race;  however, Streeter emphatically argues that position on his own (boldface added):

This brought me to the sticky issue of race. Dorrell is one of only six African American head coaches in all of Division I-A football. Six out of 119. Does he feel as if he is not getting a fair shake because he is black?

"Let me put it this way," he said. "In every opportunity that I've had in my coaching career, it was never in my mind that I was dealing with a level playing field. I've had to do more to accomplish what I've accomplished.

"It's getting better. But still, that's just the way it is."

Well put. I'm convinced that race plays a role in what some of you critics are saying. To think otherwise would be plain foolish. Some of you just don't know what to make of a coach who does not fit into your convenient stereotypes.

Dorrell believes this, too. But just as with the injuries, he is not going to lean on race as an excuse. Instead, he is simply going to focus on what he can do to turn his team around.

That kind of character needs to be appreciated and rewarded.

Like many here, I STRONGLY disagree with the substance and tone of Streeter's arguments in this piece.  I encourage EVERYONE on BruinsNation to respond to Streeter with the intelligent, reasoned, non-insulting, mature analysis and comments that members have been posting here for MONTHS, even if it means boosting his blog traffic for a while.  Again, however, I want to emphasize that we do so intelligently, without sophomoric insults and broad generalizations.

For an example, I refer you to the first post by one of our newest members, regul8in:


As an African American and a UCLA alum (class of '94) I found your article entitled "Keep Karl!" to be pandering and insulting.

Karl Dorrell should be fired for the same reason that anyone gets fired - because he failed to meet the agreed upon performance goals that his boss set out for him and that he accepted.  In his press conference HE said that his goals were to consistently win the Pac-10, play in the Rose Bowl, and beat USC.  We have not won the Pac-10 (shared titles are meaningless), we have not played in a Rose Bowl, and we have beaten SC once. And now, in his 5th season, with 20 returning starters, in what he called his "show me" season; Dorrell has embarrassed himself and the university on the field. Injuries are part of the game Kurt.  Ask Utah, who demolished us without their starting QB, running back, and top two wide receivers.   In any other job Dorrell would be considered an underperformer and a candidate for termination. As for his 10 win season, his predecessor Bob Toledo had TWO of them and still got fired! He has a stronger discrimination case than Dorrell.

The contention that 6 wins a year is on par for UCLA frankly shows some ignorance on your part. In the past 50 years, Sports Illustrated ranks UCLA as the #16 football program in the country.  That equates to more than "6 wins per year". Just because the Dorrell era has lowered your expectations of the program, you have no business projecting that on to the rest of us.  

Dan Guerrero did not hire a Truant officer, he hired a coach.  Keeping his players from committing criminal acts and having them behave like civilized human beings should be a minimum requirement, not a performance goal (if it was, Pete Carroll would have been fired years ago). Being a nice guy is not a reason to be retained. There are plenty of nice people in the world who cannot coach football (Dorrell apparently being one of them).

The insulting part of your article is where you essentially claim that Dorrell should be retained primarily due to the color of his skin.  This is completely antithetical to Martin Luther King's dream in which we are to be judged by our content, not by our color; by our performance, and not our skin tone.  I parlayed my hard work and education into a well paying career here in San Francisco, however if I were to be offered a position in which I failed to perform, I would have too much pride as a man to try to retain that job by using my race to curry sympathy at the expense of my company.  That Dorrell seems willing to do that (and you seem willing to support him) is completely pathetic and does race relations more harm than good.

I take pride in the fact that I refuse to accept mediocrity in my performance and in the performance of the coach of my football team.  Don't feel sorry for Karl Dorrell.  At the end of the day, he got a job he didn't deserve, got paid near seven figures for it and will get an enormous severance package after he is fired this year.  Save your sympathy for real victims of racism.

Channel your emotion into logic, intelligence, and analysis, folks.