Talk about pressure -- who's going to replace Al Scates at UCLA?
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero will have many duties this coming school year, but one of his most important will be finding a replacement for men's volleyball coach Al Scates, who's scheduled to retire after 50 years as coach and 19 NCAA championships.
It's a tricky hiring, because Scates is coaching one final season and several of the likely candidates are involved with their own teams.
The No. 1 possibility to succeed Scates might be UC Irvine coach John Speraw, who has guided the Anteaters to two NCAA titles in nine seasons and is a former UCLA player and assistant coach.
Then there's the greatest UCLA volleyball player of all time, Karch Kiraly, who's working as an assistant coach for the U.S. women's national team.
Other possible candidates are longtime UCLA assistant Brian Rofer and UCLA women's coach Mike Sealy, who led the Bruins to a national title as a player.
If hiring a replacement for Scates doesn't produce enough drama, there's the season ahead as he tries to go out with a final national championship in 2012.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Photo: Karch Kiraly in 2006. Credit: Branimir Kvartuc / Associated Press