UCLA WR Coach Candidates -- Updated Wednesday

Feb. 8 -- UCLA has been in the market for about week for a new wide receivers coach. Monday we posted a speculative list of candidates, but Wednesday we have some information about a potential hiring...

Update, Wednesday, 2/8:   We're hearing that the situation between Jim Mora and Jimmie Dougherty (profile below), the current Oregon wide receiver coach, has progressed.  One source said that Mora has struck a deal with Dougherty to be the next UCLA wide receivers coach, but we're still trying to confirm. 


Monday, 2/6: The search for a new wide receiver coach is, obviously, new, with BRO breaking the news of Eric Yarber moving on to the Rams late last week.  

There isn't a pressing time consideration for hiring one either, with National Signing Day completed and spring practice not until the beginning of April. Of course, UCLA coach Jim Mora would prefer he hire his new receivers coach as soon as possible, to get him acclimated to UCLA, the program, the staff and players well ahead of spring practice. But that still gives Mora some time to conduct a sufficient search.  

We will admit, this is so new that, so far, we only have a vague notion of the coaches Mora and UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch might be targeting. In fact, we're not even sure if Mora and Fisch are even to that point yet, probably still doing research and talking to contacts about potential candidates.

But we've put together a list of coaches we could see being on UCLA's list of candidates. Again, we haven't heard these are definitely actual candidates, just coaches that have some reason to be considered by UCLA. 

We don't know how much is available in the assistant coaching salary pool for the receiver coach position, but we'd have to guess it would be around what Eric Yarber was making, and that's about $400,000 a year. 

Jimmie Dougherty / 38 / Oregon WR Coach

Update, 2/8: See Above.

Dougherty was hired as Oregon's wide receiver coach December 23rd by new head coach Willie Taggart.  He got the job through the Taggart-Jim Harbaugh connection, since Dougherty was an offensive analyst at Michigan. So, there's the connection to Jedd Fisch, too, with Dougherty working directly for Fisch in the Michigan program. There's also a connection between Dougherty and UCLA's new offensive line coach, Hank Fraley, with both of them coaching at San Jose State together, with Dougherty being the receivers coach and passing game coordinator there from 2013-2015.  Before that, Dougherty was the WR coach at Washington under Steve Sarkisian, and had started out his coaching career with Harbaugh at the University of San Diego. Dougherty has a reputation as a very good recruiter, and his salary at Oregon is $275,000, so he's affordable.  Downside:  The obvious question...why would he leave Oregon?  Just speculating, but perhaps he's not entirely loving the experience at Oregon so far and would like to work for Fisch again?  Also, when new Oregon co-offensive coordinator David Reaves was arrested Jan. 22nd for a DUI, it was learned that Dougherty was a passenger in the car. It doesn't appear that this would be significant in regard to UCLA hiring Dougherty, however.   

Dennis Simmons / 43 / Oklahoma WR Coach

Simmons has earned a reputation as being a good coach and excellent recruiter. He's the guy who convinced L.A.-area receiver prospect Gabe Marks to go to Washington State. He's been at Oklahoma for two seasons and has coached two Biletnikoff Award candidates, and been a force in recruiting, actually getting two four-star 2017 Texas recruits (CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo) that UCLA was recruiting, and bringing in six four-star prospects in his two years.  He spent three seasons at WSU before Oklahoma, and before that at Texas Tech, where he helped Michael Crabtree win the Biletnikoff Award.  He went to BYU, and knows the west well, and has strong recruiting ties in Texas.  Downside:  He's close with Oklahoma OC Lincoln Riley, and he makes mid $300K. To attract him to UCLA, without any connections, he might need a considerable bump in salary and another title. 

Keith Williams / 45 / Nebraska WR Coach

Josh Harvey / Scout.com

Williams has earned the reputation as one of the best receiver coaches in the nation, and one of the top recruiters, and he's getting some recent accolades for the job he did with the 2017 recruiting class, namely snagging the No. 1 receiver in the west, Tyjon Lindsey.  We've all seen how Nebraska has made recruiting in-roads into SoCal, and Williams is the main reason.  From a coaching perspective, he's given a great deal of credit for revving up Oklahoma's passing game in the last two seasons he's been there. Downside:  He's had three DUIs and is probably UCLA-untouchable, and he also makes $400,000 at Nebraska. 

Robin Pflugrad I 58 I Co-OC, Assistant Head Coach, Phoenix College 

Pflugrad is a long-time west coast coach, having coached at Arizona State, Washington State and Oregon, while also being the head coach at Montana. He's served as receivers coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in different stops.  He's currently at Phoenix College, a school getting some publicity for turning around a dormant football program, and he's there because he was fired as the head coach at Montana after the sexual assault scandal in 2012.  He was considered one of the scapegoats and probably unjustly fired.  He's an interesting story, too: He's well-respected as a great offensive mind, given credit for helping to design Chip Kelly's offense at Oregon, and leading Montana to the semi-final FCS game in 2011. Now he's at Phoenix College because of the Montana fall-out, where he has to do everything from the team's laundry to painting the fields himself. So you could say Plfugrad is hungry.  You might be even more familiar with his name because he's the father of Amanda Plfugrad, the sports reporter and former Oregon cheerleader who dated former UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone. His son, Aaron Plugrad, is the former all-Pac-12 receiver at ASU (and current WR coach at Northern Arizona). One of Pflugrad's biggest selling points is that he has a rep as a great recruiter, and he's obviously affordable. Downside:  How would the Montana sexual assault scandal sit with UCLA administration?  

Eric Scott I 41 I Nevada WR Coach

Most UCLA fans know the Eric Scott story. He's the former UCLA receiver who was UCLA's receiver coach in 2007 under Karl Dorrell but had some run-ins with the law. Before he was hired at UCLA he had been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and then in 2007 he was again arrested, for suspicion of burglary, but the charges were dropped. Scott, though, is very well respected in football circles in Los Angeles, being from Crenshaw and having just coached at Los Angeles High (being the coach of UCLA signee Martin Andrus).  He loves UCLA and would probably do anything to get back to Westwood. Scott, however, has been given his second chance at coaching in college when he was hired at Nevada by new head coach and former UCLA offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. Scott, of course, has great recruiting connections to the L.A. inner-city that Norvell wants to exploit.  Downside:  The obvious -- would UCLA consider Scott for employment?  And while he's only making $100,000 at Nevada, Scott might feel some considerable gratitude and loyalty to Norvell.  


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