Neuheisel Is Candidate For UCLA Job
Former Washington coach confirmed Wednesday that UCLA contacted him about replacing Karl Dorrell
Dec. 19, 2007
Four years after Rick Neuheisel left the University of Washington with his reputation tarnished, the former UCLA quarterback has emerged as a candidate to become coach at his alma mater.
Neuheisel, currently the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, confirmed Wednesday that UCLA has contacted him about replacing the fired Karl Dorrell. Neuheisel's boss, Ravens coach Brian Billick, is lobbying for him to get the job.
"I have been contacted and, as an alum, I want what's best for them. And if I can help I would certainly be excited," Neuheisel told The Associated Press in Owings Mills, Md., where he was helping prepare the Ravens for Sunday's game at the Seattle Seahawks.
The 46-year-old Neuheisel said coaching the team he led to a Rose Bowl victory in 1984 would be a dream job, "But I want what's best for them ... All of us (Bruins) want to see that football program on top."
Neuheisel was also an assistant for UCLA from 1986-93.
According to media reports, the other candidates for the UCLA job are defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, the Bruins interim coach for the Las Vegas Bowl against BYU, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach John Harbaugh.
Neuheisel declined to discuss specifics of his contact with UCLA.
His previous head coaching stints at Colorado and Washington included winning and turmoil. He went 33-14 from 1995-98 with Colorado, but after he left for Washington the Buffaloes were placed on two years' probation and had scholarships cut by the NCAA for dozens of recruiting infractions that occurred under Neuheisel.
He went 33-16 and led Washington a the Rose Bowl in 2000, but he was fired in 2003 for participating in a betting pool on the NCAA basketball tournament. He sued for wrongful termination and settled in March, 2005, with UW and the NCAA for $4.5 million.
The NCAA eventually cleared Neuheisel of wrongdoing in the betting scandal.
Neuheisel began his road back to coaching in the fall of that year as a volunteer assistant, coaching quarterbacks at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School. Billick hired him in '05 to be Baltimore's quarterback coach.
Last January, Billick promoted Neuheisel to offensive coordinator - though Billick calls the plays for the Ravens (4-10).
"I think Rick has learned the college game is the thing for him," Billick said. "He's an excellent pro coach, but the enthusiasm and the affection he has for the college game, it's better suited for the college game.
Neuheisel's settlement still rankles many in Seattle. His destructive departure left the Huskies' program in a downward spiral it has yet to reverse.
Yet Neuheisel is looking forward to returning to the city Sunday.
"It will be fun because I have a lot of fond memories of my time in Seattle," he said.
"The ending was no fun, but we won a lot of games while I was there and made a lot of friends and had some very rewarding times. I don't have any ill will toward the city, nor the people, nor the school."
AP freelance writer Aaron Wilson in Owings Mills, Md., contributed to this report.