The end for the Coliseum and Dorrell?

--It's been a busy sports week here in Los Angeles. USC and UCLA meet tomorrow in what could be the final game for Karl Dorrell and it could be the final game for USC in the Coliseum.

The LA Times has an editorial saying "It's USC's Coliseum". It's really amazing that the dysfunctional Coliseum Commission remains in charge of both the Coliseum and the Sports Arena. They chased out the Rams, Raiders, Chargers, UCLA Football, the Lakers, Kings, Clippers, and USC Basketball. Now USC football is considering moving out. I don't think any stadium management body has ever lost more high profile sports teams and kept the keys to the building. The bottom line is that sports facilities should be run by people who understand sports business and not by politicians. The Coliseum and the Sports Arena have fallen into disrepair, and it's time to move forward.

Mayor Villaraigosa has already told the Coliseum that it's time for them to give up on the NFL. That's somewhat ironic after all of the work local politicians (including Villaraigosa) put into trying attract a team to the historic stadium. This city wasted more than a decade quashing every football stadium plan except the one that the NFL said time and again it didn't want. In the process, it drove Peter O'Malley to sell the Dodgers, killed a perfectly good AEG plan in South Park, and lost an expansion team to the Houston Texans. Ed Roski and Frank McCourt are both capable of building viable NFL stadiums, so it's time to turn the page.

--As for Karl Dorrell, Kurt Streeter writes a column today discussing race and criticism of the UCLA coach. Perhaps I'm naive, but if UCLA does fire Dorrell, then I don't think it will have anything to do with race. It will have everything to do with wins and losses. After Bob Toledo went 10-2 in both 1997 and 1998, he went 4-7, 6-6, 7-4, and 7-5, and was then fired. In his last 4 seasons at UCLA, Terry Donahue went 6-5, 8-4, 5-6, and 7-5, and UCLA boosters were calling for his job before he eventually retired. In five years at UCLA, Dorrell has gone 6-7, 6-6, 10-2, 7-6, and now they're 6-5.

Perhaps, it's not fair to judge Dorrell completely on wins and losses this year, considering all of the injuries, but the Bruins still lost to Utah (44-6) and Washington State (27-7) while they still were in reasonably good health. The fact of the matter is that it's never been a tougher time to be a college football coach. The pay is higher than ever, but the expectations are often times unrealistic. Georgia Tech just fired Chan Gailey after six consecutive winning seasons. Nebraska fired Frank Solich after he went 8-3 one season. Lloyd Carr was under fire at Michigan for years, despite always having good teams, and he finally retired this year.

Many of these firings are unfair, and they're a signal of gross impatience in our society. Coaches generally get just a few years to make a dramatic impact, or else they're cast aside. It's not the 1950s and 60s anymore, when John Wooden could coach for 15 years before winning a national title and everyone would be fine with that. Dorrell has coached at a time that crosstown rival USC has flourished. There's little to indicate that the program is appreciably better since he took over. Maybe he will be able to take it to the next level if given a few more years. But if he's fired, then it will be the norm for a coach with his results.

November 30, 2007 12:21 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

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