A few weeks ago, I wrote about the reaction to the news that UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero had been named as a finalist for Athletic Director of the Year.
Well, it turns out that whomever selects the winners of the Sports Business Awards had some good sense after all because they chose Clemson’s Dan Radakovich as this year’s winner.
It’s too bad that the National Football Foundation didn’t follow their lead in selecting this year’s recipient for the NFF John L. Toner Award. That’s right. They passed over the guy who built Clemson into a national champion for the guy who hired Jim Mora, a football coach who is just 13-17 against Pac-12 teams with winning records.
According to the press release from the NFF, the NFF John L. Toner Award is “[p]resented annually by the NFF, the Toner Award recognizes an athletics director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football.”
Hiring three of the worst coaches in the near-century of UCLA Football certainly doesn’t show “outstanding dedication to...college football.” It shows an ineptitude for hiring college football coaches.
The release goes on and quotes NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell:
Since taking over as UCLA’s Athletics Director in 2002, Dan has overseen a very successful Bruins athletics program. His leadership has helped create one of the most successful periods in school history, including great success by the football team. His accomplishments place him at the forefront of his profession and make him truly worthy of this prestigious honor.
By exactly what measure has UCLA achieved “great success by the football team” since 2002?
Let’s look at some facts. Shall we?
Since UCLA’s first year in existence in 1919 through 2001, UCLA Football had a record of 489-316-36. That’s good for a .603 winning percentage over 83 years. That includes the six pre-Spaulding years when the team won a grand total of six games.
In 15 years under Dan Guerrero from 2002 to 2016, UCLA Football has a record of 105-87, which is a .547 winning percentage.
Can someone please explain to me how a winning percentage that’s nearly 10% lower than the school’s winning percentage prior to Guerrero’s hiring constitutes “great success by the football team?”
Of course, there’s only one answer: It isn’t.
Yet, somehow, Dan Guerrero deserves an award from the National Football Foundation for it? Of course, not.
Now, on the other hand, if the NFF wants to give away an award to someone who has advanced the building of facilities to support football, that’s another story.
Guerrero certainly played an important role in the Rose Bowl renovation and the building of the Wasserman Football Center.
If that’s the criteria the NFF is using, then say so and don’t sugarcoat it with platitudes about how UCLA has achieved “great success by the football team” under Dan Guerrero because it hasn’t.