Football Coaching Search Update

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero is in his second week of the head football coaching search, and this is the week when things will actually begin to happen. Has Norm Chow emerged as the potential front runner?

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero will conduct interviews with candidates for the head coaching job this week, according to sources.

We've heard that Norm Chow, the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans and former OC for USC, will get an interview.

Guerrero is still trying with former NFL and Cal Bears head coach, Steve Mariucci, and there are sources that believe Mariucci will still talk to Guerrero about the position. As of now, the hang-up with Mariucci is money. One source close to the situation, who believes that the potential for Mariucci to come to UCLA is over, indicated that Mariucci wanted $2 million plus.

Mike Price, the current head coach at UTEP and former Washington State head coach, is considered a very real possibility by program insiders. It's believed that Price is interested but we haven't heard that Guerrero has arranged an interview with Price.

Sources are saying that Guerrero continues to show interest in Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, but they are also indicating that Petersen hasn't shown reciprocal interest.

UCLA defensive coordinator and interim head coach DeWayne Walker has a strong backing by many inside and outside of the program. Sources maintain that Guerrero will try to get someone with head coaching experience, or someone with Norm Chow's extended experience, first. It's known, though, that Guerrero is a big Walker fan and, if he can't get any other former head coaches, would not be adverse to hiring Walker.

There is a very strong push by some influences close to the program for a Norm Chow/DeWayne Walker combination. We've heard that Walker would be very positive about that scenario, with the potential that Chow would hand the head coaching reins to Walker after a number of years.

Chow, we've heard, is very interested in the UCLA position, with playing against USC being one particular motivating factor.

Other names we've heard on Guerrero's consideration list are Hawaii's June Jones, Cincinnati's Brian Kelly and Montana's Bobby Hauck. Texas Tech's Mike Leach is still a possibility, too, according to sources.

It's believed that UCLA has considerable interest in Jones, but are wary that he might want to use the UCLA interest to leverage a better deal at Hawaii.

Probably the most conflicting information we've received is in regard to Leach. We heard UCLA was interested last week, and he had indicated interest through intermediaries. Then, late in the week, sources said that Leach wasn't a possibility. During the weekend we then heard that Leach could still be a possibility.

While there have been other reports that Rick Neuheisel, the current Baltimore Ravens OC and former head coach at Washington and Colorado, is a consideration, we continue to hear that he will not be a candidate for the position.

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