Neuheisel Returns to College Coaching

By: Julie Smith

Rick Neuheisel is returning to UCLA, the school where he achieved the best moments of his career as a quarterback. He began his playing career at UCLA in 1979 as a non scholarship player on special teams where few years later he was named the Most Value Player in UCLA's 1984 Rose Bowl victory. The 46-years-old comes to his Alma Mater team to replace Karl Dorrell who was fired on December 3 after five seasons.

Neuheisel spent the last three seasons in the Professional League as an assistant with the Ravens where he worked as a quarterback coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator during the last season. Rick hasn't been in the college scene since Washington fired him in 2003 for participating in a basketball betting pool in Washington. At that time he was awarded $4.5 million for wrongful termination.

Coming back to UCLA it's a dream come true for Neuheisel, his experience and success as a head coach has been significant for the appointment. According to UCLA's Director Dan Guerrero they have found "the right person for the job after an "exhaustive" search". Moreover, Neuheisel will make 50 percent more than his predecessor, Karl Dorrell; he agreed on a 5-year deal from which he will get $1.25 million per season plus incentives, what means an additional $500,000 per year.

As the 16th head coach for the football team, Rick has a big responsibility on his shoulders. However, since he left College Football, his experience and success has been significant. He is already a proven head coach with a very successful record in the Pac-10 and he will surely be able to compete with any team in the conference. Actually, he currently holds two UCLA records with his completion percentage in his senior year (0.693) as well as his completion percentage in a game when he completed 25 out of 27 passes against Washington (0.926).

Regarding his new position at UCLA Rick said: "It's a thrill for me to return to my Alma Mater and take over a program that I think can and should be one of the best in the country." UCLA's first game next season will be a home game on August 30th against Fresno State; hopefully, Neuheisel will show to be the right hire and will take advantage of his second opportunity in the NCAA.

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