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Dollars & Sense

So Dohn reports today that UCLA-Leach talks have cooled off. Leach is not my first choice (despite some of the good reading material on him we flagged in last few days). However, here is the part of the report that is bugging me today (emphasis mine throughout):

Leach has a reputation as being quirky - and outspoken - and that might not sit well at UCLA, sources said. Also, sources said Leach, who is scheduled to make $1.85 million next season and $2.15 million in 2010, is not salary driven and would come to Westwood for under-market value. But finances could still be an issue with hiring Karl Dorrell's replacement.
Finances are still an issue? Let's go over what Dan Guerrero specifically told us on the day he fired Karl Dorrell. He told us that he wants UCLA to be a "national player":
"I believe we can be a national player and you can define that however you want. I believe UCLA could be a program that is in the national rankings every year, that can knock on a BCS door, that can win the Pac-10 Conference. If you win the Pac-10 Conference, you have a chance to play in the Rose Bowl and you maybe have a chance to play in a national championship game. Is it hard here? Yeah, there are some constraints, there’s no question about that. But, this is a great institution, a great place to be. And I believe that all of those things are possible; you cannot concede that they are not."
And he also told us UCLA would be "competitive in the marketplace":
"One of the positives during our tenure here in the last five years is we’ve really been able to build the resource base in our [athletic] program in a general sense. We raised a budget from $42 million when I first came in here to $60 million and we’re still in the black. That tells you that we’ve done some things that are very positive and will allow us the opportunity to be more competitive in the marketplace as we move forward.
I had a huge post written up in last few weeks in which I was going to praise Dan Guerrero and how he handled the Dorrell situation over the years and publish it the day after Dorrell was gone. But in last few days I have decided to hold that one up and see how this hiring process works out.

I am not going to draw any conclusions yet based on a report from Dohn. However, the people in Morgan and Murphy Hall who are reading this post should know, we don't think Dan Guerrero can expect to get away by publicly saying one thing and doing something entirely else when it matters.

We love the notion of striving to make UCLA football a "national player" and pledging to be "competitive in the market place." However, it is more than disconcerting when we read the same old song about how "finances could still be an issue" wrt to hiring of next head football coach at UCLA. If UCLA administrators decide to revert back to penny pinching days of Pete Dalis, and complete screw up a coaching search for that reason, they will pay dear price in terms of public relations, and it will cause the next football coach (if we perceive him as someone they "settled" for and took the easy way out on) to start his UCLA career finding himself in a divided Bruin Nation and bitter civil war that made the UCLA community bitter and toxic during last days of Karl Dorrell. We are more than ready to fight this battle all over again.

So if I were the bureaucrats from the Morgan/Murphy axis, I'd work hard on making sure the few extra $$ are there to make sure we can land a coach in the caliber of Mike Leach. It makes sense to invest a little extra million here and there now, which will only reap enormous dividends down the line when the right coach has rebuilt the program like Howland and Savage. Its basic dollars and sense. And we fully expect Dan Guerrero to be well versed in it. If not as mentioned above we are going to speak out with the same intensity we did during the run up to December 3, 2007.