Rightly so, the fire underneath Rick Neuheisel‘s coaching seat is scorching hot following an embarrassing and emasculating 32-point loss to a one-win Arizona team, with some concluding that a trip to the coaching gallows could occur as early as this week.
Fortunately for Pistol Rick, and unfortunately for a sizable chunk of the Bruins fan base, his dismissal is not imminent. Probably.
Speaking after the loss to the Wildcats, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, at least publicly, dismissed talk that Neuheisel could be fired at some point in the near future. Guerrero said Neuheisel and his staff are working hard, and that an evaluation of the entire football program, including the head coach, will take place at the end of the year.
In other words, Neuheisel has just received the dreaded vote of confidence.
“Rick is my coach,” Guerrero said. “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.”
Despite an abysmal 18-26 record in three-plus seasons with the Bruins, Neuheisel still insists he’s the man to get the program back to some type of national relevance.
“My argument is I’m absolutely the right guy for the job; I’m looking forward to continuing in that quest,” the coach said following the blowout loss.
If the current trend continues, and despite Guerrero’s public stance at the moment, Neuheisel will very likely find his quest come to an abrupt end very shortly after the final whistle blows on the 2011 season.