Firing Karl Dorrell Is Great For College Football

Bumped from the diaries. GO BRUINS. -N

cross-posted from

Pretty heady title.  So what do we mean?  Firing Karl Dorrell is not only the right thing for UCLA and UCLA football, but firing Dorrell will achieve 2 other significant results: 1) UCLA will have proven once again that we continue to live up to and add to our great legacy of diversity, and 2) College presidents, athletic directors and boards across America will see see a good, if imperfect, example of how to fire a bad black college football coach, and that will help increase hiring of black coaches.  

That second point is sure to raise the hair on the back of some Dorrellistas necks.  We will start with that.   We have long pointed out as so many have that the dearth of black coaches in NCAA football is deplorable.  Karl Dorrell is 1 of only 6, out of 119 in Div 1A (there are only 6 out of 122 in Div 1AA)!  Clearly there is a problem.  No one knows what the problem is, although many obviously point to racism. 

To blame racism though is a knee-jerk reaction that won't help solve the problem.  The problem is more complex and probably at least partially systemic. We have said many times that to have equality in hiring you must have equality in firing.  We will bet that it doesn't help when the black head coach of Louisiana Lafayette files a discrimination lawsuit when he got fired after going 6-27 in 3 seasons (he actually won, but it appears that the verdict will be overturned as the jury did not understand the judges directions).   Nolan Richardson filing a discrimination lawsuit at Arkansas probably doesn't help either.  

The point is this: universities have to consider the RISKS of hiring a black head coach before they hire them - no university wants to be labeled racist for firing a poorly performing black coach or face legal jeopardy for the same.  Look at the blowback Notre Dame still faces after firing Willingham after 3 seasons.  They may have been right to do so, but since Weiss put up record losing numbers in his 3rd season Notre Dame is shamed with the racist label.  

UCLA, on the other hand, can show that we fired a black coach for poor performance.  And that is a great thing for all promising black coaches and college football as they will now be hired based on their qualifications or potential to meet performance goals.  UCLA has given Karl Dorrell 5 full years.  No one in college football can argue reasonably that 5 years is not enough time to prove you can meet performance goals.  One can argue, as Dorrellistas and the Save Dorrell beat press have, that there have been mitigating circumstances in Dorrell's 5 seasons to keep him one more year, but no one has argued successfully that 5 years isn't enough time.  

More importantly, sites like and have put forward arguments and framed the debate over Karl Dorrell's tenure using factual data on his performance and the stated goals of our football program.   By framing the debate on solid numbers and verifiable metrics, we at UCLA have taken a highly charged racial debate and diffused it ... for all the right reasons.  By firmly and without apology framing the debate on numbers and verifiable metrics and our goals, we have also helped shield Dan Guerrero and the administration from being labeled racist as they consider firing Dorrell.  With the political cover firmly in place, Morgan Center and Murphy Hall can safely fire Dorrell without the fallout Arkansas, Louisiana Lafayette and Notre Dame experienced. 

So we at UCLA have shown the nation how to fire a poorly performing black college football coach (whether Dan Guerrero actually goes ahead with the firing is a separate issue).  Now as university boards, presidents and athletic directors consider a promising black coach as a candidate to take over their football program they can look to the example we have set at UCLA.  They can hire promising black coaches without worrying so much about the risks of letting them go and that increases the chances of black coaches getting hired.

To be more specific, now university boards, presidents and athletic directors have proof that the risks of being labeled racist or taking on legal liability for firing an under-performing black coach can be mitigated considerably.  Now they know that if you state publicly up front what the goals are for the program that the coach has to meet, like Dan Guerrero did when Dorrell was hired, they can reduce the risks.  Now they know that if they give the coach all the resources to succeed and the time to succeed, they can reduce the risks.  Now they know that if they base their decisions on measurable performance criteria that directly relate to stated goals, as Guerrero clearly is doing, they can reduce the risks.  All these facts focus attention on abilities and performance and away from race ... which is exactly the way it should be for ALL coaches! 

There is only one meaningful person who injected race into the debate of Karl Dorrell's record at UCLA.  Remember it was that Karl Dorrell himself who, fortuitously as it turns out, raised the race issue by playing the race card to defend his poor performance!!  Remember also that Karl Dorrell had to retract his statement due to OUR (, DD readers, et al) response condemning his actions.  Don't underestimate the significance of that retraction.  Dorrell helped Guerrero and black coaches everywhere by making that mistake because it was he who had to correct it ... publicly.  By making his public retraction, Dorrell himself removed the racist label from UCLA and he removed the legal liability of a racial discrimination lawsuit.

We at UCLA have the worlds greatest university legacy when it comes to diversity.  Firing Karl Dorrell may not make any top 100 lists of important achievements in diversity, but it will go a long way towards correcting a huge inequity in college football.  More black coaches will be hired going forward because universities now know that a bad black coach can be fired.  That is a huge step in the right direction. And we at, as well as our readers and contributors, will take our pat on the back, whether you think we deserve it or not, for playing a small role in that important development.  

Regardless, our work at and all the efforts of our readers and contributors were obviously never about race.  Nor were our efforts even about Karl Dorrell (despite the name of our site).   Our efforts were always focused on one thing: EXCELLENCE for our football program ... always!

Go Bruins!!!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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