Re-Setting of the Coaching Table

It's been just about 48 hours since athletic director Dan Guerrero fired football coach Bob Toledo. And it's already appropriate that we re-set the table on what's happened since, what we know, and the rumors we've heard...

Legitimate Candidates:


Guerrero and special assistant Bob Field flew to New Orleans to meet with Saints defensive backs coach Mike Riley on Tuesday.  Riley, the former head coach at Oregon State and the San Diego Chargers, is also being courted very seriously by his alma mater, Alabama. In fact, Alabama officials also met with Riley Tuesday.


Reportedly, neither UCLA nor Alabama has official offered Riley their respective head coaching jobs.


Riley is the one, lone coaching candidate that UCLA has clearly shown interest in.


It is known, though, from good sources, that also on Guerrero's list of possibilities is Illinois head coach Ron Turner and Hawaii head coach June Jones.


Jones has had some support from within the athletic department. His wide-open, spread offense is his calling card, and he's generally considered a good coach.


Turner, who is a year removed from being named the Big Ten Coach of the Year, is generally considered a good coach. 


That is not to say that there aren't more names on Guerrero's list of candidates, but these are the three we're aware of.


There other names that have been heard mentioned in and around UCLA and its athletic department, but aren't known to be considered by Guerrero at this time. These are:  


Rich Brooks, former Oregon and Los Angeles Ram coach. Brooks, 60, has been out of football in the last year.  Brooks has some backing from UCLA boosters and athletic department personnel.


Marvin Lewis, defensive coordinator, Washington Redskins.  He's been wishy-washy over the Michigan State position, and many think he's waiting for an NFL head job.  So far, any association with UCLA has just been speculation.


Mike Bellotti, Oregon Head Coach. There is no evidence that UCLA and Bellotti have been in contact. Sources close to Oregon claim no contact has been made.


Steve Mariucci, San Francisco 49ers head coach.  He said once that he'd be interested in the UCLA job, so his name has been bandied about. But again, no evidence that he's a viable candidate.


Rick Neuheisel, Washington head coach.  He claims publicly there is no contact, but very reliable reports indicate that Neuheisel wants the job, would be willing to take a pay cut, and has organized a pretty healthy group of UCLA boosters to back him.  It's believed by many close to the UCLA program that Guerrero wouldn't consider Neuheisel because of the black marks NCAA, fearing they would follow him to UCLA.


Mike Price, Washington State Head Coach. It's known that Price contacted UCLA to inquire about the job, and that he's interested.  It's unknown whether Guerrero considers him a serious candidate.


Walt Harris, Pittsburg Head Coach. One of the hottest up-and-coming names in the business. Originally from California.

Nick Ferentz, Iowa Head coach. Probably the hottest of the previously no-name coaches who are now hot.

Karl Dorrell, Denver Broncos assistant. Former UCLA asssistant and OC at Colorado and Washington, Dorrell wants the job, but there is a question of whether he's qualified.

Greg Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs assistant. Former UCLA assistant also wants the job, but his name doesn't seem to be generating much buzz.

Dan Hawkins, Boise State head coach. Along with Harris and Ferentz, one of the hottest new coaching names in the country. 


With Guerrero having conducted a preliminary, feel-out interview with Riley, it's believed that any decision by Guerrero could take a bit of time.  He more than likely will continue to go through preliminary meetings and interview a number of candidates. He has indicated that he could have some coaching candidates on campus.


There are rumors circulating that UCLA has a "big fish" that it's pursuing under the radar – which could be Bellotti, Mariucci or Lewis, or another coach on that status level, but there is no solid source confirming it.


It's very possible that more serious candidates will be added to this list during the process, and the eventual coach might not even come from the group of potential candidates listed above. 


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