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Coaching Search News & Notes

I know we have we have two games hat we need to keep our focus on, but I do have some news and notes on the coaching search that I wanted to share with all of you. First, Robert Kuwada from the OC Register has a little report on today's game in which he pretty much lets out how much he hates UCLA. Just check out the tone in these lead grafs in which he basically asks us to throw up the white flag:

[A]thletic director Dan Guerrero and his search committee appears just as clumsy as a Bruins' offense, which 96th in total offense, after Oregon coach Mike Bellotti spurned their overtures to be the Bruins' next coach. [...]

Friday, as interim coach DeWayne Walker was at dais with Bruins' flanker Brandon Breazell and safety Dennis Keyes at a Las Vegas Bowl press conference (Elvis also was in the building), Bellotti released a statement that he had no interest in the position.

"The primary issues that have always been important to me are the quality of life, my family and the opportunities to win. The University of Oregon has always offered me all of those things," he said. "UCLA wanted to present to me a scenario that would offer all those things and asked if I would listen. That's as far as it ever went. I never considered it an interview, merely an opportunity for them to provide me with some information and insights into their program."

It is not known if that information included a list of high school prospects through the years that the UCLA admissions department spat back at its football coach, or that UCLA has not played in a BCS bowl game since losing to Wisconsin in the 1998 Rose Bowl.

Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow also has withdrawn his name from consideration, after failing to receive even a phone call since his interview.

With Bellotti out and the Bruins unable to generate much interest from Boise State coach Chris Petersen or the financial wherewithal to induce more than a passing glance from Steve Mariucci, the Bruins are left with a shallow pool of candidates. When they get around to hiring a replacement for Coach Karl Dorrell they will be introducing, at best, their third or fourth choice.
He sounds like a bitter little guy who is completely out of the loop doesn't he? Haplessly throwing out the old academic excuse and flailing around unsubstantiated stories re. Petersen and Mariucci without any sources. No need to be so bitter Rob. You still live in the OC with beautiful weather and lovely beaches (man it is always good to come home).

Anyway, not sure if I need to add any more to the MB story. I fall somewhere in the middle on this. What I like about this story is how DG went for a top notch football coach (despite what bunch of whiners may tell you MB is a good coach, and I am not going to be all bitter about him deciding to stay in Eugene, which I hear is a beautiful place), and was able to keep a lid on the pursuit till the very last minute.

What bothers me about the MB-UCLA story is how it leaked out. It seems like the story was leaked via UCLA sources (Dohn was the first to break it, which was followed up by Pierson's BRO story saying a deal might have already been in place). Whoever leaked that story to those two guys did a huge disservice to DG's efforts and ought to be ashamed of him or herself. But whatever such is life. As I have said before I have become a little numb  to getting my football taken away all the time. So right now I am hoping that DG is pursuing some other tier 1 options with due diligence and in a methodical way, keeping everyone else in the dark.

What is evident even to someone like Dohn is how DG is taking his time this time around compared to 2002:
Perhaps the biggest different on the outside is this time Guerrero is taking the methodical approach in his search for a football coach.

Dorrell was hired nine days after Toledo was fired. This coaching search is on its 20th day, and Guerrero might be learning that taking one's time can also be a treacherous - not to mention embarrassing - journey.

Boise State's Chris Petersen wouldn't return phone calls for UCLA to even gauge interest, sources said. Former NFL coach Steve Mariucci was priced out. Oregon's Mike Bellotti's one-day dalliance ended with the type of egg-on-the-face public humiliation Guerrero hoped to avoid when he tried to envelope the search with a cone of silence.
Again gotta love those darn "sources" these UCLA beat reporters get their info from, making them look like perhaps the most incompetent, ignorant, and uninformed group of "journalists" in America. And that's not saying much considering I have as much respect for American journalists, as I have those students who graduates out of Senora Rossa's classroom. So ya know I am not going to get all worked up about his "report" re Petersen and Mariucci.

Anyway, one guy who has been actually providing some insight and often interesting analysis during this coaching search is Richard Perelman from What's Bruin. This time he uncovers a little important detail wrt to DG's search firm:
Even the search firm that current athletic director Dan Guerrero selected to assist in finding a new coach was a legacy. Reilly Partners of Chicago, formed in 2005, is the firm of record, and Guerrero is working with former UCLA assistant and recruiting coordinator (1979-93) Bill Rees, who is listed as a managing director and partner of the firm. Rees left the Cleveland Browns in May after spending two-plus seasons in the player personnel department. He previously had been with the San Francisco 49ers (under Donahue, who was the general manager), Chicago Bears, and Kansas City Chiefs as a scout and player personnel director. Rees's son Danny is the Bruins' back-up punter.
HT to for flagging that nugget. This makes me question (even though I am doing my best to keep faith on DG) is what took so long to even locate this firm and exactly to what extent Donahue is pulling the strings in this search (once again).

Now the way it is shaping up as of today we could end up with Rick Neuhiesel (I sure hope he waits this out and remains patient). And if we do we will raise questions about why we had to hire the search firm to begin with. However, I think wrt to Neuhiesel, here is a post from a Washington Husky fan on Bruin Report Online, that I think is a must read for all UCLA fans:
I think Rick is a very good coach (though not great). He wins far more often that he loses. I think most of the criticisms of him are short-sighted, or just plain foolish. I'll list a few of my favorites:

"He destroys programs" - He was 15-10 in his last year at the two schools. Despite unceremonious endings that caused great upheaval, neither school had a losing season the year after he left. Washington hired two awful coaches who produced awful results with Rick's kids - Colorado hired a decent coach who produced decent results with Rick's kids (note that in the four years after RN left Colorado they went 29-21 with as many BCS births as losing seasons).

"He doesn't recruit lineman/he overrecruits receivers" - There was one year at UW where he recruited a small number of lineman. According to sources, it was a tactical decision - that year was devoid of OL talent in the state of Washington, and the next year was stocked full of it. That one class that he pulled few lineman he signed 7 receivers. Of course, he had signed a total of 3 receivers the two years before.

I think there is one legitimate complaints about RN's recruiting and one that could be legit. First, I do think he recruits to himself rather than the university. This is fine as long as he's around, but if and when a new coach comes in he inherits a group of kids who were REALLY attached to the former regime. This is not a huge problem IMHO, but probably not a good thing. Second, I think Rick's recruting philosophy lends itself to unbalanced classes positionally. In his mind (and history bears this out) they even out over a two year span, but there may be something to be said for spreading things out a little better.  Overall, I think his recruiting philosophies are decent, and his salesmanship is top notch. At UCLA, he'd be a recruiting powerhouse.

"He only wins with other people's players" - Closely related to #1, I think this is just silly. Colorado was a top notch program when he came along, but Washington was mediocre. While he did perform better earlier on at both places, he still went 8-4 in his last year at CU and 7-6 in his last year at UW with almost entirely his own guys. Furthermore, both programs were ranked top 10 coming into the following seasons before he left. The perception nationally was that he was set to do serious damage with entirely his own guys. I think he would have.

"He is dirty" - I can't imagine that anyone has ever gotten such a horrible rep for doing so little. He was famously reprimanded by the AFCA (or whatever the coaches group is) for some illegal contact while at the same convention Hal Mumme was given full recommendations by the group after getting busted for paying players at Kentucky.

Rick is cocky and rubs people the wrong way, and they blow his transgressions out of the water. He is an aggressive recruiter, sure, but he's  never been guilty of anything that lost multiple scholarships or cost a program bowl eligibility. He had some illegal bumps at Colorado and his first month at Washington contacted some kids during a dead period. He once played horse with a recruit.

Is he squeeky clean? No. But he's far from some rogue. He's not dirty enough to even survive in the SEC.

Oh yeah, and he gambled on an NCAA tourney bracket when the NCAA's own website said it was okay. And he beat the NCAA (and UW) in court for trying to penalize him for this.

Seriously, look up his list of violations and explain to me what he's done that is so awful?
Make sure to read the whole post here.

Honestly, I am starting to get a little amused by all the Neu hating on our own team's message boards and by bloggers from other team. I will tell you right now if Neu comes here, while I will raise some serious questions about the search process, I will firmly support him. I am going to give him my full support and give him the chance to earn redemption. I have met Coach Neuhisel before. I have heard him from person during those "Beat SC weeks" (which are now comically referred to as "Blue and Gold week"). If there is one person, who can reignite the passion and fire in Bruin Nation, it's RN. The only question is whether he has learned from some of his mistakes? And I will be more than ok if he gets that opportunity that is his home.

Anyway, I will have more thoughts on RN if he indeed gets the call. For now though lets see how this search process turns around. Despite the potshots coming from the ignorant beat press and despite some of the red flags that are coming up re the process, I am going to wait this out till I reach the final conclusion on DG.