So, now that Chow is out, let's move on, and I want to focus on one of the guys whose name has surfaced in public. Last night, after hearing Golden's name, I dismissed him right off the bat. However, I am starting to have some second thoughts.
He is still no where close to my top pick. He wouldn't be in my first tier of preferred choices. And I would probably opt for Rick Neuheisel over Al Golden. That said, I got a very interesting email from ATL_eagle, a superb blogger covering Boston College over at Eagle In Atlanta (whose opinion I have a lot of respect for) wrt to Golden. Here is what ATL_eagle wrote to me today, which I am publishing with his permission:
-- He is a great and tireless recruiter and would leverage all that UCLA has to offer.
-- He has a good eye for coaching talent. Two of our best staffers worked for him at Temple. And former UVA assistants are now in key positions at schools like Notre Dame and Florida
-- He has some personality and is good with the press
-- He won four games at Temple this year which is a flat-out miracle.
The downsides are
-- He's a bif of a self-promoter and you'll probably tire of hearing all the glory stories
-- He's got a bit of the Saban, Petrino bug in that if he has success at UCLA, he'll be off to the Big 10, SEC or NFL in four or five year.
Pros: Renowned Recruiter. Aggressive. Experience in the ACC and at BC.
Cons/: Sometimes a better self promoter than actual talent evaluator. Would view BC as a stepping stone. Didn't look all that great at Temple this season.
Bottom Line: If Golden had not taken the Temple job last season, he would be the leading candidate right now.
One thing that is intriguing to me is that Golden would represent a clean and clear break from the Donahue legacy in Westwood. It would also probably mean the departure of DeWayne Walker (given his specialty is defense) which could make it even more appealing for those of us who are looking for total separation from the last five miserable years of UCLA football.
Yes, getting Golden means that he may just leave in 4-5 years. But, then again, if he is leaving in 4-5 years to what he thinks he is better job, I would presume that would be based on some tangible results marking him as a success at UCLA (Pac-10 championships). In that case, UCLA would be better situated in attracting better coaches, as I would think the improvement of the program based on those tangible results (if he is successful) would make this program even more attractive to coaches around the country.
So I have gone from absolutely no way on Golden to the unsure category. I am also a little unsure whether he would even get such a close look if not for his previous connection to Block. And that is bugging me a little. But ATL Eagle definitely gave me something to think about.
At this point, I know I would definitely take him over Walker. I think I would still prefer Neuheisel over him. However, I am still waiting to hear from DG whether he brought in top tier options, such as the Petersen, Mendenhall, Leach, Jones or Mariuccis of the world, for second interviews. In other words, we have something to think about. Discuss.