The UCLA football coaching search took a dramatic turn yesterday as it was reported that Oregon coach Mike Bellotti has met with Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero. In other news, Norm Chow has reportedly dropped out, but it's believed that Rick Neuheisel and Al Golden are still candidates.
We've said on here before that Neuheisel and Chow would be great fits, but Bellotti's entrance into the race changes everything. Bellotti is an established winning coach who has turned Oregon into a top-flight national program. He brings instant credibility to the Bruins, and would dramatically change the nature of the whole program. He also has gone 2-3 against Pete Carroll (not 5-3 as Bill Plaschke's column reported today), but ironically he did turn down the USC job after the 2000 season.
Bellotti is said to be upset with the media in Oregon, reporting on news regarding his wife and kids that he believes are private matters. He may be looking for a change of pace. He'll get that at UCLA, where he won't be nearly as much of a celebrity. But Bellotti also probably realizes that UCLA doesn't have Oregon's resources. The Ducks program has been funded by Phil Knight and Nike for years, and UCLA doesn't have the space-age locker rooms, plethora of dry-fit uniform combinations, and sterling practice facilities that you'll find in Eugene. Still, if it works out, then there is much to be excited about in Westwood.