As many of you have heard by now, Bob Toledo is no longer the head coach at Tulane University.
Toledo was hired there before the 2007 season, after a 4-year hiatus from coaching during which he allegedly sat on his butt and enjoyed his UCLA payout. In 4 1/2 years at Tulane, Toledo's teams went a pathetic 15-40.
After last season, Tulane gave Toledo a two-year extension in the hopes that his recruiting efforts would pay off with a winning season in 2011. It didn't work out, and he is now the second coach in the FBS to be fired mid-season.
So why does this matter? Well never mind that this is yet another example of a coach being fired mid-season, though his situation is decidedly much more clear-cut than Neuheisel's.
Still, it gives us a chance to revisit the goals that Dan Guerrero had set out, back when he fired Bob Toledo before the bowl game at the end of the 2002 season.
UCLA had just suffered lopsided losses to U$C (52-21) and to eventual Pac-10 champion Washington State in its last game, but still ended the season at 7-5 and 4-4 in the Pac-10. This is what DG said when he addressed the media afterwards:
"I did not want to create a situation where going into next year the first transgression that one of our kids may have, or the first bad call a coach would make, would dredge up some really negative things in this program," Guerrero added. "Our student-athletes didn't deserve that." ...
"We want every one of those games to be competitive," Guerrero said. "What is important in the last two games... is that our players were prepared and played hard and what that shows is the gap between our program and those two programs that exist. We need to close that gap." ...
"We want to have a national caliber program here, certainly top 25 every year," he added.
He also said:
"We need to raise the bar, we need to start winning Pac-10 championships again,"
and from a column by Plaschke on December 8, 2002:
There is a phrase Dan Guerrero has used to describe what he likes to see in his teams.
"Fire out," he says. "I like to see them fire out."
Maybe that's why Neuheisel went to the Pistol...
Some day someone will be able to explain to me how DG can make statements like these, and UCLA somehow ends up hiring Karl Dorrell, an unproven, inexperienced coach. And, sure enough, 3 years to the day he fired Toledo, UCLA ends the season on two lopsided losses to Arizona and U$C. This time, nothing was done, though of course that 2005 team ended the season 10-2.
The guys who were around here knew better, and implored DG to stop the madness then. Instead we got Dorrell for two more years (even if it got us 13-9).
The 2011 season is not done and Neuheisel can still give us a solid season.
Bob Toledo was fired after a 7-5 season. Karl Dorrell after a 6-6 season. In a way, you could argue that DG does not accept mediocrity in the UCLA football team (I should say, repeated, sustained, bang-your-head-on-the-wall mediocrity). Yet somehow, mediocrity in the head coach hiring process has been the norm.
It's been 9 years since DG set a standard for a top 25 program that is competitive and wins championships. UCLA has accomplished half of that, once, in 9 years.
It's time to hold DG to his word.