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Category: Rick Neuheisel

Rick Neuheisel's memorable duet with Joe Paterno


The Jerry Sandusky scandal left Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s legacy muddled. But there are men who have memories of Paterno from before the last four months.

A year ago, former UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel reminisced about his first meeting with Paterno in the 1990s, when the two were at a gathering of coaches sponsored by Nike.

“He told me to get him a bourbon,” said Neuheisel, who was Colorado’s coach at the time. “I was his [graduate assistant], so to speak. I was the new head coach in the deal.

PHOTOS: Joseph Paterno 1926 - 2012

"He said that I was ruining college football because I had just taken my team skiing. He wanted to know ‘what the hell the rest of us are supposed to do with our teams.’ He told me I had better call and ask to get permission before I did that again.”

The two became friends and, later on that trip, Neuheisel had Paterno try one of Neuheisel's newfangled ways.

“I had a guitar in my hand and I got him up there with me to sing ‘Wild Thing,’ ” Neuheisel said. “He didn’t know a lot of the words, but was effervescent with his rendition.”


Obituary: Joe Paterno dies at 85

Joe Paterno legacy: From triumph to tragedy in days

FULL COVERAGE: Penn State, Jerry Sandusky  scandal

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Coach Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions prepare to take the field before a game against Pittsburgh in 1998. Credit: Rick Stewart / Allsport

Rick Neuheisel: Jim Mora will have a good UCLA team next year


Former UCLA football Coach Rick Neuheisel was a guest on CBS Sports Network’s weekly studio show "Inside College Football" Wednesday and talked about new Bruins coach Jim Mora, as well as other topics.

"Jim’s got a good football team coming back," Neuheisel said. "I believe in those kids and I know he’ll enjoy those guys. He’ll be a good fit from the standpoint that he’s a defensive guy. That whole league now is about offense, with Rich Rod at Arizona, Mike Leach at Washington State, all the other offenses that are already pretty-well entrenched. He’s going to have to get his hands wet early to make sure that he can stop those guys."

You can watch video of Neuheisel speaking about Mora here.

Neuheisel also has a way to improve the coaches' poll:

"We are in a world in college football that arbitrarily decides its national champion. Someway, somehow we come up with a one and a two, and we just say these guys are going to play for a national championship. Factoring in the choice of those two teams are these polls. One of the polls is voted on by my former colleagues.... The bottom line is there is no chance for a coach in my former position to see all the teams across the country. I have no way to watch teams in the East, I have no way to watch teams in the mid-America section. There is not a chance for me to evaluate them as compared to teams that are in my conference. So what I would say, and my audible would be, that the voting should only be on teams in my conference. I see all kinds of videotape on them, whether I play them or not, because they’re playing against teams that I’m going to play. And I have a great idea as to who are the best teams in the Pac 12. I have no idea who the best teams were in the SEC. I have no idea in the Big 10 or across the country. So somehow, someway we have to reanalyze how that’s done and make sure that coaches are only voting on teams that they actually have some knowledge of."


Rick Neuheisel stays positive in first comments after firing

Chris Dufresne: For UCLA, it's a crazy time to seek a football coach

T.J. Simers: UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel is a class act in the face of firing

-- Houston Mitchell

 Photo: Rick Neuheisel. Credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press.


UCLA football: Players honor Rick Neuheisel after practice

UCLA players closed Coach Rick Neuheisel’s last practice by carrying him off the field, singing the UCLA fight song Wednesday.

Neuheisel, fired on Monday, led the players in the UCLA chant. He will coach the Bruins against Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference championship game Friday.

Asked if he could have received a better tribute, Neuheisel said, “It’s tough to imagine. It’s meaningful when you work to create relationships. You want the best for them, you want them to achieve what they are capable of achieving. Despite the fact that we didn’t win enough games, I think they are achieving as people. I am extremely proud to be a part of this team and I’m looking forward to a grand finish.”


Could lame-duck coach tip the scales for UCLA against Ducks?

UCLA football team will try to bounce back one more time

BCS motto falls way short this weekend

-- Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire

Who should be the next football coach at UCLA? [Poll]

Rick Neuheisel is out as UCLA's football coach; so who will be in?

Boise State's Chris Petersen is said to be the top choice at UCLA. The Times' Bill Plaschke agrees with the idea:

Petersen transformed an unknown outpost like Boise State into a team that has lost six games in six years, won two Bowl Championship Series bowl games, and is two missed field-goal tries from potentially playing for the national title the last two seasons. Petersen also transformed unknown Kellen Moore into a Heisman Trophy candidate, which could answer the other pressing question: Why can't UCLA ever have a great quarterback?

Houston's Kevin Sumlin is also said to be on UCLA's short list.

There are other interesting options out there. Jack Del Rio, a former All-American linebacker at USC, was fired Tuesday in his ninth season as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards seems to be a popular choice among some Times readers.

And, of course, it wouldn't be a coaching search if former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden's name didn't come up.

Who do you think should be the next coach of the Bruins? Vote in the poll and leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.


Rick Neuheisel stays positive in first comments after firing

Chris Dufresne: For UCLA, it's a crazy time to seek a football coach

T.J. Simers: UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel is a class act in the face of firing

— Chuck Schilken

UCLA football: Neuheisel relishes last days as the Bruins' coach


A teary-eyed yet optimistic Rick Neuheisel finished his first practice as UCLA’s ex-coach Monday and commented, “I’m a Bruin and I’m a Bruin for life.”

It was the end of a long day, with a few more to go.

Neuheisel was fired as coach Monday morning, but will coach the Bruins in the Pac-12 Conference championship game against Oregon on Friday. The winner goes to the Rose Bowl.

That made for an eerie evening under the lights at UCLA’s Spaulding Field on Monday.

“He decided to coach us this last game and the players are excited about that,” said wide receiver Taylor Embree, who has known Neuheisel since he was a kid. “We want to finish his UCLA career with him.”

Practice was routine, though a little more vocal. The post-practice was more emotional.

Quarterback Kevin Prince thought a change might come after the Bruins were routed, 50-0, by USC on Saturday.

“I wasn’t jumping to any conclusion, but the way we lost Saturday, I felt something might happen,” Prince said. “You never want to see a guy go out like that. We like Coach Neuheisel. We wanted him to stay.”

Neuheisel said he was “numb,” but admitted that “the rational side of me should have seen this coming” after a 21-28 record in four seasons.

He said his focus now was to “make the most of my last few days, not for sentimental reasons, but so our players have the best possible chance in a game where we’re given no chance.”

As to what is next, Neuheisel said he would have to “sit and think it through because I hadn’t done any of this thinking.… I love coaching. It is in my blood.”

If the Bruins were to pull off an upset, Neuheisel had hoped to be allowed to coach in the Rose Bowl, but said, “I was told that would not be in the best interest of UCLA. I understand that point of view.”

The Pac-12 championship game would have to do, he said.

“By hook or by crook, we are one game from achieving what we set out to do,” Neuheisel said. “It would be like not planting a flag on top of a mountain.”


Bill Plaschke: UCLA needs a football coach like Chris Petersen

UCLA to close the book on Neuheisel era, after one last chapter

T.J. Simers: Rick Neuheisel is a class act in the face of his firing

Chris Dufresne: It's a crazy time to be searching for a football coach

-- Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel talks with quarterback Kevin Prince after the Bruins failed to score on a fourth-down play against USC in the fourth quarter Saturday night at the Coliseum. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Rick Neuheisel fired: Live news conference

You can watch the live-stream video of the news conference at UCLA regarding the firing of football coach Rick Neuheisel. [3:16 p.m. update: News conference is over].

Neuheisel coached the Bruins for four seasons and has a 21-28 record with the school. His last game will be Friday against Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.

Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback, was greeted with much fanfare when he replaced Karl Dorrell in 2007, but managed to get the Bruins to a bowl game only once in his first three seasons.

Neuheisel said earlier Monday that he was not overly disappointed over being fired.


"No, we all know what we're getting into when we get into this," he said, referring to the coaching profession. "I'm excited for the challenge Friday. If it is going to be my last time at UCLA, I want to make it special."

Asked what went wrong during his tenure, Neuheisel said, "There is plenty of time to think that over. I am thankful for the opportunity. This has always been a place where I wanted to be at and have a chance to bring it back to being a place where everyone could be proud. We have fallen short of that, but there are lots of things I'm proud of from my time here."


UCLA fires Rick Neuheisel

Neuheisel stays positive in wake of firing

USC football: Rick Neuheisel could not beat the Trojans

--Houston Mitchell


UCLA targets Boise State's Chris Petersen to be next football coach

Boise State's Chris Petersen

Boise State's Chris Petersen will be the first coach UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero will approach about the Bruins' football job, according to influential people with knowledge of the situation who are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Guerrero, who on Monday announced the firing of Rick Neuheisel, is expected to make a trip to Boise to meet with Petersen. UCLA is believed to be able to offer a contract worth more than $3 million annually that includes donations from boosters.

Plans to refurbish the Bruins’ practice facility and a commitment of about $2 million for assistant coaches are expected to be part of the package, accord to one person close to the situation.


Petersen has long been at the top of the list for job openings at schools in Bowl Championship Series conferences. He reportedly turned down a $3-million offer from Stanford a year ago.

Boise State officials reworked Petersen’s contract this season, giving him a five-year deal worth $8 million, according to the Idaho Statesman. He made $1.5 million this season and is scheduled to receive a $100,000 raise every year through 2019.

UCLA also has Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and former NFL coach Jon Gruden on its short list of potential candidates. Sumlin is also believed to be a candidate at Arizona State.


Neuheisel's UCLA simply couldn't beat USC

Neuheisel stays positive in first comments after firing

UCLA riding reverse momentum into Pac-12 championship game

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Boise State''s Chris Petersen. Credit: Matt Cilley / AP.

UCLA's Rick Neuheisel stays positive in first comments after firing

Rick NeuheiselRick Neuheisel, true to form, stayed positive and focused on the future in his first public comments since being fired as UCLA's football coach.

At one point during a  conference call promoting Friday's Pac-12 Conference football championship game, he even went so far as to say he was not disappointed about being let go.

"No, we all know what we're getting into when we get into this," he said, referring to the coaching profession. "I'm excited for the challenge Friday. If it is going to be my last time at UCLA, I want to make it special."


Neuheisel spoke about an hour after UCLA announced it was firing him. Win or lose Friday against No. 8 Oregon, offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will take over as interim head coach.

"I will talk to the players this afternoon and make sure they know this is not about me, it's about us," Neuheisel said of Friday's game, which will be played at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

UCLA is an underdog of more than 30 points.

Asked what went wrong during the four seasons in which he had a 21-28 record, Neuheisel said, "There is plenty of time to think that over. I am thankful for the opportunity. This has always been a place where I wanted to be at and have a chance to bring it back to being a place where everyone could be proud. We have fallen short of that, but there are lots of things I'm proud of from my time here."

Neuheisel declined to say what reason he was given by Athletic Director Dan Guerrero for his dismissal. "I don't need a reason," he said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity Dan gave me. Certainly when you're the UCLA coach you have to play better against USC. When you lose in that fashion, it's a tough pill to swallow."

Oregon Coach Chip Kelly said he was "sad, sad," to hear Neuheisel had been let go.

Continue reading »

UCLA fires Rick Neuheisel

Click here to see photos from the USC vs. UCLA game.

UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel was fired Monday morning after a four-year run in which the Bruins had a 21-28 record, the school announced

The Bruins are coming off a 50-0 loss to USC, the worst conference loss in school history, on Saturday. They will still play in the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon on Friday.

Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback, was greeted with much fanfare when he replaced Karl Dorrell in 2007, but managed to get the Bruins to a bowl game only once in the three previous seasons.


Athletic Director Dan Guerrero became frustrated with the lack of progress in the program after the Bruins finished 4-8 in 2010, and that heightened after a 48-12 loss at Arizona in which Bruins players were involved in an on-the-field brawl.

Neuheisel has one year left on his contract and will receive $250,000, his base pay.

Neuheisel will coach the Pac-12 game this weekend, and Mike Johnson, offensive coordinator, will then take over as interim coach.


USC piles it on against UCLA with 50-0 rout

UCLA riding reverse momentum into Pac-12 title game

T.J. Simers: For Rick Neuheisel and UCLA, time to wave white flag

-- Chris Foster

 Photo: Rick Neuheisel. Credit: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press.

UCLA 29, Arizona State 28 (final)


UCLA controls its own destiny.

The Bruins improved their record to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the South Division of the Pacific 12 Conference, which moves them into a tie for first place with Arizona State (6-3, 4-2). What's more, UCLA holds the tiebreaker with their victory Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

But the Bruins didn't get there easily.

In fact, even if that game going on in the Deep South is said to be the Game of the Century, there's a good chance it won't live up to what transpired tonight in Pasadena.

At the finish, Arizona State kicker Alex Garoutte was short on a 46-yard field-goal attempt as time expired. 

Just before that, the Sun Devils moved down field from their 24-yard line to the Bruins' 29 largely on three plays: a 20-yard pass from Brock Osweiler to Gerrell Robinson, a controversial pass interference call on UCLA cornerback Aaron Hester and a 12-yard pass from Osweiler to Mike Willie.

But Garoutte couldn't come through. He missed all three of his field-goal attempts tonight. He had missed only three all season coming into the game.

Some final stats: 

--The Bruins tallied 416 total yards, and 220 of them came on the ground. Derrick Coleman had 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries. Quaterback Kevin Prince had 61 yards in 15 rushes.

--Arizona State had 465 total yards, 264 through the air from Osweiler, who completed 22 of 38 passes and threw for two touchdowns. Robinson was his main target, catching six passes for 131 yards.

--Prince completed 11 of 17 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. Nelson Rosario caught five passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.  


UCLA vs. Arizona State photos

Here's a recap of the game:

UCLA 29, Arizona State 28 (late in the fourth quarter)

The Bruins have shown plenty of fight tonight and just retook the lead with 49 seconds left after a one-yard touchdown run by Derrick Coleman with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Continue reading »

UCLA football: Bruins limit player injury reports


UCLA, which has struggled on the field this season, decided to change its media policy regarding injured players.

The policy shift followed a week in which Coach Rick Neuheisel became angry about player injuries being reported in the media.

Injured players were placed off-limits to the media. Neuheisel will give injury reports only on Mondays and Thursdays.

Neuheisel said this week that he expected cornerback Sheldon Price (knee injury), safety Dalton Hilliard (shoulder injury) and safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion) to play and that it would be a “game time decision.”

None of the players made the trip to Stanford.

“We decided to amend and formalize our injury policy to streamline the injury reporting process,” UCLA spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso said. “The new policy draws its principles from similar policies at [Football Bowl Subdivision] institutions as well as several professional sports leagues.”

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Bruins cornerback Sheldon Price hits the turf after nearly making an interception against Oregon State last week. Credit: Jim Z. Rider / US Presswire


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