Monday, December 3, 2007

This Dorrell Firing Talk Needs Perspective

There's been so much talk around LA the last two weeks about the impending firing of UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell. It's another example of our ever-shortening attention span when it comes to athletics--especially college athletics. Most of the talk seems to be uninformed and lacking perspective.

During Saturday's FSN Live pre-game show prior to the UCLA/USC foootball game, I gave the following report.

Just two seasons ago, Karl dorrell was the PAC-10 coach of the year, and his team has been bowl eligible every season he’s been the head coach at UCLA--only 15 other coaches have streaks of 5-straight bowl eligible seasons or longer and USC's Pete Carroll is the only other PAC-10 coach with such a streak.

However Dorrell’s critics point to poor showings in those bowl games and an average of 5-losses a year. Reason enough, some believe, for Dorrell to be fired if UCLA loses today to the Trojans for the 4th time in five years under Dorrell.

Earlier, I had a private conversation with the Bruins head coach and I asked him flat out if he thought today’s game would decide his fate. His response: “I don’t look at it that way.“ He also believes UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero isn’t looking at today’s game in that fashion either--neither do a handful of players I spoke to.

But having said that, Dorrell readily recognizes the disappointment felt by the fans, which pales in comparison to the disappointment he feels. As far as the talk about his potential firing is concerend, he told me, “I don’t worry about things I can’t control.. I can only control our practices and the preparation for this game," which, by the way, he feels really good about.

Some other things to consider about Dorrell’s tenure at UCLA: 1) he signed an extension last February paying him through the 2011 season (it includes a $2 million buyout) 2) not only did he lose 6 assistant coaches from his staff following the Bruins 10-and-2 season (three he dismissed and three others who left for NFL jobs), but the Bruins coaching staff is the 5th-best paid in the PAC-10 And Dorrell’s salary ranks in the 40s’s nationally among Division One head coaches.

So if UCLA expects Dorrell's team to play with the big boys, then they need to pay like the big boys!

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