Dan Guerrero Press Conference, Part 1

Athletic Director Dan Guerrero addressed the media and answere questions pretty candidly about his firing of head football coach Bob Toledo and the search for his successor...

Dan Guerrero addressed a pack press conference this afternoon.

 

"You're aware this morning that I met with coach Bob Toledo and indicated effective immediately I'm relieving him of the responsibilities of head coach at UCLA. We will be moving forward with a search immediately Any questions?"

 

When did you come to this decision?

 

"The process of the evaluation was obviously a year-long process. The decision was not made on the basis of any one game or the basis of any one season. I evaluated, and indicated that I would make a decision at the end of the year, which is what I did. I actually made the decision yesterday. It was a cumulative evaluation process. I consulted with the Chancellor, which is the appropriate and necessary thing to do for a position of this magnitude, and we concurred, in terms of the outcome of this decision. So I informed Bob this morning and we went forward."

 

Was it a difficult evaluation process given the ups and downs of the season?

 

"Obviously an athletic director has to be able to handle a precarious situation with a coach in a number of ways. Certainly there were times and opportunities to step forward and give the proverbial vote of confidence. I didn't feel it was appropriate to do that any time during the course of the year. There were some very, very good signs with the program, some real ‘ups,' if you will, throughout the course of the year. I think our kids played hard. I think they were really committed to performing. There were certainly good indications and outcomes of success. But there were other things that obviously came into play as you evaluate the program. From my perspective, it's where the program is now, and what gives us the best opportunity to move forward with the future. I felt by changing the leadership it was necessary for that to occur."

 

What type of coach will you be looking for? Does a connection to UCLA, being a proven coach, west coast ties, experience – what are big factors?

 

"There is a composite that you'd obviously like to have as we go out and look for a candidate. Certainly someone who's a proven coach, a succesful coach, a tremendous leader, a great teacher, great educator, great role model for young men, someone with west coast ties, obviously, might be a benefit. Someone who understands the Pac-10. Someone who knows a little bit about rivalries, , the importance of those kinds of things in a city like Los Angeles. Someone who can bring an exciting brand of offense to the program, and an aggressive style of defense. And someone who can bring a real positive attitude to a program that's gone through a tough time in the last several years. We have a great young team. I thought it was important to make a decision that was relative to this program, to do it now. So that a coach could come in and take the foundation that exists here and move forward."

 

Was there a final straw that determined your decision?

 

"Not really. If you think about the program in the general sense and what we're trying to accomplish, it's all about having the right environment. And the right environment can be defined in a number of ways. I didn't want to create a situation where going into next year the first transgression one of our kids makes, or the first bad call that a coach makes, any of those kinds of things, would dredge up some really negative things in this program. Our student athletes didn't deserve that. And it's really more of a fabric of where we are as a program, the evolution of the program over a long period of time. So it's not even one thing that coach Toledo did. It's certainly not one thing that one of our student athletes did. It's a composite of all of those things. We want to have a national caliber program here. We think that we can compete for a Pac-10 championship every year. We think that we should be one of the top programs in the country. Certainly top 25 every year, and beyond that, playing in major bowls. In order for that to occur, you need to be clicking on all cylinders. And I just felt that our program wasn't clicking on all cylinders with Bob at the helm as we move into next year."

 

How much did the last two games come into the decision?

 

"Well, certainly. The fact that we lost the two games was not so much the issue. We played two really great teams. USC is a fantastic team. Washington State is also a fantastic team. I think what's important in those two games is that our kids were prepared to play hard. What shows is the gap that exists between our program right now and those two programs. We need to close that gap. And I felt that we need a new coach to do it."

 

How significant were the off-the-field incidents?

 

"Well, that's important. What we do and how we do it is sometimes as important as what we produce. I have to say this. When I first got here as athletic director, one of the absolutes to have in our program was that our student athletes represent this university with distinction, knowing full well all the issues and problems we've had in the past. They met that challenge. And I think that's a direct reflection of the coaching staff, the senior leadership. It's a whole attitude of collective responsibility that our team was able to develop this year. And that's important. Nevertheless, when you take all of the issues into account, the fact that those things did happen, and the fact that those things could be brought to the forefront again in subsequent years, I just think we needed to move forward, and to begin the healing process, and to work toward the future."

 

Given all of that, you thought this was the time to make the move even if it was inevitable that you would make it?

 


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