UCLA AD backs Rick Neuheisel
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's seat might have grown exponentially warmer after the Bruins' 48-12 loss to Arizona on Thursday night, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon.
Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Thursday night that replacing Neuheisel after Thursday's loss "isn't even a remote possibility," his strongest statement to date on Neuheisel's immediate future.
"Rick is my coach," Guerrero said after watching the lopsided loss. "I don't know who is talking about him being relieved early, but it's certainly not me. He's a great Bruin. I want to see him succeed.
"We'll evaluate at the end of the year like we always evaluate and make determinations (of) what we're going to do at that point. But right now, all this talk about him staying or him going, that does nothing for our team that is trying to regroup and go out there every week and play hard and try to win football games."
Guerrero said he wanted to speak out Thursday because he felt a cloud over Neuheisel's immediate future was counterproductive to the team's success.
"My argument is I'm absolutely the right guy for the job," Neuheisel said. "I'm looking forward to continuing in that quest."
Neuheisel is 18-26 in three and a half seasons in Westwood. The Bruins are 3-4, but have a favorable schedule ahead with California coming to the Rose Bowl next weekend. Neuheisel is in the fourth year of a five-year contract with an annual salary of $1.25 million.
"In our situation right now, we need to support our coach," Guerrero said. "We need to support our players. Obviously we're disappointed in the outcome tonight, but we get another crack at it next week and let's see how we bounce back.
"The reality is, Rick is working hard. The assistant coaches are working hard, the players obviously didn't play their best today, they got thumped pretty good, but it wasn't because they laid down."
UCLA has new offensive and defensive coordinators (Mike Johnson and Joe Tresey, respectively) after Neuheisel fired defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough last season and Norm Chow was bought out of the final two years of his contract.
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.