UCLA fires Rick Neuheisel; will coach Pac-12 title

By Greg Beacham

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 28 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Neuheisel had more success during his first two head coaching stops at Colorado and Washington, leading the Buffaloes to 33 wins and three bowl victories over four seasons before taking the Huskies to four straight winning seasons and a Rose Bowl victory after the 2000 campaign.

Neuheisel eventually was dismissed by Washington after a series of problems in Seattle ranging from player discipline to a rift with school leadership to his infamous involvement in an NCAA basketball tournament pool. After two years out of coaching and a stint on the Baltimore Ravens' staff, Neuheisel took over at UCLA.

But the Bruins went 4-8 in his first and third seasons, with a 7-6 finish in 2009. He had high expectations for his current team, but the Bruins have won consecutive games just once all season.

When Neuheisel returned to UCLA, he appeared in newspaper ads created by the school's marketing department and highlighted by a quote: "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over." Although Neuheisel didn't order the ads, the words hung over him with each loss by his Bruins.

Neuheisel ended up with much less success than former teammate Karl Dorrell, who was fired in 2007 after going 35-27 in five seasons that included four bowl berths, a 10-2 campaign in 2005 and a Sun Bowl victory.

Johnson joined Neuheisel's staff this season, replacing Norm Chow after Neuheisel's messy public breakup with the longtime offensive mastermind. Johnson, a Los Angeles native and veteran NFL assistant, was the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator for most of last season, and he has helped Neuheisel to lead a resurgence of UCLA's offense this year.

Neuheisel said he hadn't thought about his future.

"This has kind of hit me between the eyes here a little bit," Neuheisel said. "I've been on one track, which is just to do the best I can with this particular team. That will be the case at least through Friday, and then we'll make any decisions on which course I take."

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