No sooner did the news of Jim Mora’s firing break than I started seeing that suggestions that UCLA was acting quickly to prevent Chip Kelly from going to Florida.
Well, I’m here to say that UCLA should let Kelly go to the Gators.
I realize that this may be unpopular with many members of Bruins Nation but allow me to explain why.
Yeah, I also realize that, two years ago, I was all in favor of UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero hiring Chip Kelly. But things have changed since I wrote that and so has my opinion.
For starters, I learned that Chip Kelly was issued a “show cause” order by the NCAA as he left Oregon. A “show cause” order is basically the worst action the NCAA can take against a coach. It allows NCAA penalties to be transferred to another school if a coach leaves one school for another to avoid sanctions.
Adrian Klemm was issued a “show cause” order before he was fired by UCLA after last season.
Now, to be fair, the NCAA “show cause” order for Chip Kelly was 18 months long and it has expired. But, it’s the fact that it was issued at all which should give UCLA pause.
This week may be one of Dan Guerrero’s finest week’s as Athletic Director. He started the week coming down pretty hard on three basketball players who were arrested in China and, after the football team lost a winnable game against crosstown rival Southern Cal, he decided to fire Jim Mora. I can’t remember a time when I felt like he had done the right thing regarding both revenue sports in the same week.
Now is not the time to risk the future of the football program by hiring someone who has already been caught cheating by the NCAA.
On top of that, Kelly is unemployed as a coach right now for a reason. He has gone 8-23 over his last 31 games in the NFL. To be fair, 14 of those 23 losses came in his one season coaching the San Francisco 49ers. Sorry, Niner fans, but the Niners may just be the worst-run franchise in the league right now, even if they have won more games than the Browns this year.
It doesn’t change the fact that he has been fired from his last two jobs.
UCLA tried the NFL retread route with Mora and the successful former college coach route with Rick Neuheisel.
It’s finally time for UCLA to go in the direction of a young, up-and-coming coach for whom UCLA is a destination job and not just another stop on their way to the NFL.
Whether that’s Mike Norvell, Matt Campbell, Scott Frost, or somebody else altogether is another question, but that’s where UCLA should be looking when it comes to hiring a new football coach.