Guerrero Interviewed Oregon's Mike Bellotti!!

Thanks to BruinCore and ryebreadraz for staying on top of the latest turn in the crazy rumor mill. Remember, UCLA is a crappy job, and there's no way a coach like Bellotti would be interested. We should just settle for Walker and be done with it. -T

This just came out moments ago. By the time I post this someone else might already have.  Brian Dohn reports that UCLA admins have interviewed Mike Bellotti up in Oregon for the HC job.  Now I would definitely support Bellotti for head coach.  He could bring in the NW recruits + the Nike contacts + UCLA and LA = great idea DG:

UCLA's coaching search has taken them to the Northtwest, where several UCLA administrators met with Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, sources said.

Bellotti is 105-50 since taking over at Oregon in 1995, and is considered one of the top offensive coaches in the West. Bellotti balked earlier in UCLA's interviewing process when intermediaries juggled.

He had the Ducks in position for a shot at the national championship this season until quarterback Dennis Dixon tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The Ducks, who play South Florida in the Sun Bowl later this month, lost their last three games after Dixon was hurt.
Oregon finished 8-4, including a 16-0 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 24.

Since winning the Fiesta Bowl in 2001, the Ducks have lost four straight bowl games.

Bellotti, who turned 57 on Friday, was also the head coach at Chico State for five seasons and is 126-77-2 all-time. He makes $1,055,000 annually, and has a $350,000 buyout.

The question is why would Bellotti leave Oregon for Los Angeles? My first thought ... Is this real? Does he really want to coach at UCLA?

Analysis by rye:

Bellotti, 56, played WR at UC Davis before turning to coaching. He was the offensive coordinator at Cal-State Hayward and Weber State before getting his first head coaching job at Chico State in 1984. He was there for 5 seasons the went to Oregon where he became the offensive coordinator, a post he held until he was named head coach in 1995. He has one outright Pac 10 title to his credit (2001) when his team should have gone to the national title game and one co-conference championship (2000). Bellotti is the only coach in Oregon history to have 3 10 win seasons (200, 2001, 2005) and he was on pace to add a fourth 10 win season and likely #1 ranking had Dennis Dixon not been injured.

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time UCLA made a push at Bellotti.

Bellotti balked earlier in UCLA's interviewing process when intermediaries juggled.

I think Bellotti has to be considered a first tier candidate...your thoughts?

UPDATE - N: I refuse to get my hopes up. But from the Oregonian:

Nobody at Oregon denied the interest is mutual.

Bellotti, who was at practice as the Ducks prepared to play against South Florida in the Sun Bowl issued a statement, saying only: "I'm focusing on this team to play in this bowl game."

UO athletic director Pat Kilkenny refused to say whether UCLA officials asked for permission to contact the Ducks' coach.

"I can neither can confirm nor deny," Kilkenny said. And from the Register-Guard: Oregon coach Mike Bellotti confirmed through a UO spokesman tonight that he has been contacted by UCLA officials about the Bruins’ open head coaching position.

"He’s acknowledging that they have spoken with him," UO director of media services Dave Williford said.

The Bruins parted ways with coach Karl Dorrell on Dec. 3 after Dorrell went 35-27 in five seasons. Defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker was named interim head coach for UCLA’s Las Vegas Bowl appearance.

After practice today, I asked Bellotti about the UCLA job and he said, "I’m just working on what we’re doing here." Again I am not going to get my hopes up because I am still bitter from losing out over an (untainted) Neuhisel and Gary Barnett back in 1995. I am not going to get excited. But you know the drill, we blog you discuss!

UPDATE II -N:Per Dohn decision to come within next 72 hours

UPDATE III - N: Even crazier news per Tracy Pierson of BRO via Washington Husky Sports Blog: Bellotti to UCLA?

According to Tracy Pierson at it is almost a done deal.

"Some sources have indicated that the deal is actually in the stages of being finalized." Oh My! Okay, we need to calm down. I need to calm down. This is not going to happen. I am going to get disappointed again. So I am not going to hold out hope until I see this actually happening.


UPDATE IV - M: Per the LAT, DG actually HAS interviewed Bellotti: Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti is being wooed by UCLA officials about the Bruins' head coach job, sources familiar with the search said. Bellotti has been interviewed by UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, who has actively pursued the Ducks' coach throughout the process, sources said. Bellotti has listened to UCLA's overtures, according to one source. Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel and Temple Coach Al Golden have been interviewed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, but Bellotti would likely become an instant front-runner. He has a 105-52 record in 13 seasons at Oregon and had the Ducks in position to reach the national title game before quarterback Dennis Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury. Looks like Bellotti was at the top of DG's super-secret "short list" all along.

Also, while it's still coming from (ugh) unnamed "sources", we may at least be trying to get into a bidding war:

Bellotti makes $1,055,000 per season and there is a $350,000 buyout in his contract. UCLA officials are in position to offer a new coach between $1-million and $2-million annually, a source familiar with the university said. Dorrell made $850,000 plus incentives. Brace yourselves, folks -- it's either going to be a painfully hard fall, or an unbelievably high leap.

-- M

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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