Neuheisel takes UCLA coaching job

Ravens offensive coordinator is returning to alma mater

December 30, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

After three seasons as a Ravens assistant coach, Rick Neuheisel is going home.

Returning to his beloved college ranks and his alma mater, yesterday Neuheisel was named head coach of UCLA, the school he quarterbacked to a Rose Bowl victory in 1984.

Neuheisel will be on the Ravens' sideline for today's regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"[The college game] is something that has been in my blood," Neuheisel said. "I've missed it the last five years."

His five-year contract reportedly will pay him $1.25 million each season, plus incentives.

"This is a great marriage," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He loves UCLA. He's a Bruin ... and he will succeed."

Neuheisel's departure is the first move on an offensive coaching staff that could be reshuffled this offseason. The Ravens' offense ranks 23rd in total yardage and 25th in scoring.

The next offensive coordinator hired by the Ravens might take over play-calling duties from Billick and install a new system.

Neuheisel was completing his first season as offensive coordinator, but he was not in charge of play-calling or game planning. He joined the Ravens in 2005 as quarterbacks coach, deciding to test the NFL after an acrimonious dismissal from the college game.

Neuheisel had a 66-30 record as a head coach at Colorado (1995-98) and Washington (1999-2002). But he was fired from Washington in July 2003 - 2 1/2 years after guiding the Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory and a No. 3 national ranking - for his involvement in an NCAA men's basketball tournament pool and for allegedly lying to NCAA investigators.

In March 2005, he received a $4.5 million settlement after it was revealed that the university's compliance office had sent out a memo that said the type of pool in which Neuheisel participated was permitted by the NCAA.

Billick repeatedly has expressed his disapproval that Neuheisel has had to wait so long to return to the coaching ranks because of a basketball pool.

"We couldn't be happier for Rick," Billick said. "I really believe that there are coaches meant to teach and coach students, and Rick is one of those."

Neuheisel succeeds Karl Dorrell, who was fired after going 35-27 in five seasons.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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