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[UPDATE] UCLA Transitions Kathy Olivier (Out As Head Coach)

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 From the Daily News' Ramona Shelbourne, via Brian Dohn's Inside UCLA blog:

After 15 years in Westwood, Kathy Olivier's run as women's basketball coach is over.

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More details to follow...

For the record, this probably was something that Dan Guerrero had to do. The team wasn't getting better and many believe the potential is there for UCLA to have a strong women's basketball team. The team across town is not any better and it seems like someone should be able to establish a Southern California power in the sport.

That said, Kathy Olivier is a cool person who really loved UCLA. DG did what he had to do. But my feelings and my anticipation for next season are muted because a nice lady lost her job.

UPDATE -N: Looks like Kathy Olivier is getting the Bob Field treatment. She is being moved to an administrative position. From the official site:

UCLA Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women's Administrator Petrina Long announced today that Kathy Olivier has resigned from her position of head women's basketball coach, effective today. Olivier will continue to work for the Athletic Department on special projects yet to be determined.

"This was a very difficult decision for Kathy," said Long. "She has represented our program with class and dignity during her 15 years as head coach. She has recruited great young women who have excelled both on the court and in the classroom.

"Kathy and I have had several discussions over the future of the program. She still wants to be a part of UCLA Athletics, but she also realized it was time to turn the women's basketball program over to new leadership. Fifteen years is a long time, and I think she is looking forward to new challenges."

"This was one of the hardest decisions of my life," said Olivier, "I have won a Pac-10 title and the Pac-10 Tournament, but what has been most gratifying is working with the players in our program and helping them become young women who can make a difference in our society.

"I have been offered the opportunity to take the next step in my career by moving into administration, and I think the timing is right. The new coach will be able to build with almost the entire team returning, and I will still be a member of the Bruin family that I have loved being part of for over 20 years."
So kind of a smooth landing for Olivier. Let's hope UCLA finds a competent coach who will put together a program that measures up to standard of excellence marked by the Gold "C" in this year's uniforms. GO BRUINS.

UPDATE II - N: Interesting perspective from Rich Perelman from What's Bruin re. the firing:
This is an interesting move for UCLA, since women’s basketball is one of only three women’s sports in which the Bruins are not competitive nationally. If cross-country, which is only a feeder sport for the successful track and field program, is discounted, only basketball and rowing aren’t national top-20 programs . . . and the rowing team is improving.

Of the 12 women’s sports in which the Bruins field teams, UCLA ranks in the top 15 in the nation in nine of them this academic year. Eight were/are in the top 10 and the current golf, softball and water polo teams have legitimate chances of winning the national championship. In the fall, the women’s soccer team lost in the national semifinals and the women’s volleyballers got to the regional final. Basketball isn’t in the mix.

There isn’t an unlimited amount of money to throw around for a new coach, so look for the Bruins to hire a hot assistant from a high-profile program unless someone unexpected becomes available at a reasonable price.

It will also be a test for Senior Women's Administrator Long, who inherited all but one of the current group of coaches when she came over from UC Irvine in 2004. The only change in the sports she supervises was in softball, where Sue Enquist handed the reins to former player and assistant coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. And so far, that looks like a good move.
Given how DG has handled the replacements for hoops, baseball, and football I am feeling good about how this turns out. I am not expecting a big name hire, but the right hire who will fit in well with the Bruin culture and understand the expectations of striving for Bruin excellence.

GO BRUINS.