UCLA fires football coach Rick Neuheisel
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rick Neuheisel returned to UCLA determined to do everything correctly after a coaching career filled with big successes and equally big trouble.
Even athletic director Dan Guerrero, who fired Neuheisel on Monday after four disappointing seasons, agreed the formerly scandal-plagued coach did most everything the right way at his alma mater.
All except the winning part.
UCLA is 21-28 under Neuheisel, who will be allowed to coach in Friday’s Pac-12 title game at Oregon. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will be the interim coach if the Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) receive a bowl berth.
“Rick was a great representative for our school, and I’ll always be grateful for that,” Guerrero said. “I believe the sign of a good program is consistency. We just weren’t there. We certainly had some losses that were of epic proportions … in the second half of the season, and that simply wasn’t good enough.”
Neuheisel never built the momentum necessary to challenge mighty Southern California for city supremacy, and Guerrero fired Neuheisel two days after UCLA’s 50-0 loss to No. 9 USC, the Bruins’ largest loss since 1930 in their crosstown rivalry game. UCLA also lost 48-12 to lowly Arizona after a bye week, along with a 26-point loss at Stanford, a 29-point home blowout by Texas and a 25-point loss at Utah two weeks ago.
The Bruins will represent the Pac-12 South in the inaugural league title game on Friday despite finishing two games behind postseason-banned USC in the division standings. UCLA is a 30-point underdog against the Ducks with a Rose Bowl berth on the line for the winner.