We Want Walker

DeWayne Walker for UCLA head coach.

“But he has no head coaching experience!”

Posted by wewantwalker on December 14, 2007

Jeff Tedford. Mark Richt. Bob Stoops. Bret Bielema. Mark Mangino. Jim Leavitt.  Jim Grobe. Mike Leach

All coaches who have built, revived, or simply maintained strong programs from the Pac-10 to the SEC.

 All coaches who had no previous head coaching experience whatsoever.

All coaches who’ve had considerable success in their first head coaching gigs. Tedford’s been on the brink of a BCS bowl for years (and was robbed of one in 2005). Richt’s on his way to his second BCS berth and his Georgia team was in the national title discussion to the end. Bob Stoops is Bob Stoops. Bret Bielema won 10 games in his first season. Mangino is on the way to a BCS game (though, Missouri got ROBBED). Grobe took Wake Forest to the BCS in his first year and continues to win. Leach is, if nothing else, an offensive guru that is also being considered for the UCLA job.

 You’re never guaranteed anything with any assistant. But if hiring a damn fine assistant is good enough for Oklohama, that means it should be good enough for UCLA.

Walker has worked with Bill Belichick. He’s worked with Norm Chow and Pete Carroll. He’s worked with Steve Mariucci. The guy’s got experience. Go ahead and say Walker doesn’t have head coaching experience, but if the first eight names of this post are any indication, Walker can (and we know he will) be a great head coach at this level.

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6 Responses to ““But he has no head coaching experience!””

  1. BruinMIM said

    In response, I would like to pose this question — how long were each of these coaches COORDINATORS before taking their head coaching assignments?

    Answer:
    Tedford — 4 years
    Richt — 12 years
    Stoops — 8 years (various schools)
    Bielema — 3 years (various schools)
    Mangino — 2 years
    Leavitt — 5 years (various schools)
    Grobe — none.
    Leach — 9 years (various schools)

    Also, Grobe’s first HC job was at OHIO, not exactly a major player.

    I believe Walker CAN become a good head coach someday, perhaps after 3-4 years more years of solid coordinator work.

    However, after hiring Toledo and Dorrell to their first head coaching jobs, only to have both of them dismissed from their positions, isn’t it time that UCLA hired someone who is already a good head coach, rather than pick someone whom we HOPE will become one?

    MIM

  2. wewantwalker said

    Those are all good points, MIM, but I’m wondering how many of those coaches as coordinators were calling their own plays. I could be wrong but I doubt Tedford was calling his own plays while Belotti was still there.

    Walker was an “assistant head coach” at USC and from a few things I’ve read (though they could be wrong), it appears he was coordinating the defense (though, of course, Carroll was making the calls on defense). As I mention in the post, his body of experience is very substantial, aside from his two years as coordinator at UCLA.

    About June Jones, I’m wondering how well he could recruit in LA, particularly the inner cities which could be UCLA’s gold mine in the future. Any comments/info on this?

    I understand you don’t want to take a risk on Walker and for the most part we wouldn’t want to take a risk with UCLA’s recent history of choosing dunces as head coaches. Seriously, we would have launched this site a looong time ago if that appalling history of hiring assistants at UCLA wasn’t so bad.

    That being said, considering what Walker has done with the defense, his undeniable recruiting ability, and the leadership qualities that other players, coaches, and from inside Morgan Center have come to recognize, we feel that the prospective rewards greatly outweigh the risks.

    Let’s not forget to mention that Walker loves LA and his son is coming to UCLA next year as well. I see that even if he had tremendous success, he’d stay.

  3. BruinMIM said

    Thank you for the response.

    Obviously, it is difficult to determine which OCs-turned-HCs were calling their own plays. I would venture a guess and say that Leach, at a minimum, called his own.

    Also, Stoops and I believe Leavitt (?) were D-coordinators, but even then, they had more experience in that role than Walker has now.

    Turning to Jones, I think his resourcefulness (though not spotless-clean, to be sure) in recruiting in going after military kids and others will help him in recruiting inner-city talent. One way or another, Hawaii does have name recognition to anyone following college FB; everybody knows whose game is on when you’re waiting for GameDay review on Sat. nights.

    Also, I submit that if UCLA were to be winning 8-10 games a year, a lot more local kids at the powers from Poly to Dorsey, from Crespi to Corona to Crenshaw would take notice. I don’t know who does the recruiting at $C, but when you win 9-11 games a year, recruiting can’t be all THAT hard.

    Yes, the inroads made by Dorrell, Walker, Scott, as well as predecessors Cable and Bienemy and Babers are important, and should be appreciated. However, even if good recruiters are not a dime a dozen, they are also not once-in-a-generation, either.

    I respect what Walker has done in recruiting and in preparing the defense. However, while you rightfully point out that Walker “worked with” great coaches, well, so did Dorrell, in working with Shanahan.

    I think Walker could be a good head coach — in 3-4 years, maybe.

    At this point in time, after roughly 12 years of giving rookie head coaches their shot and having our teams mired in inconsistent, one-side-of-the-field-only ball, I would LOVE to see us have a fully-formed head coach come in and take over.

    In my view, elevating Walker NOW in a time of uncertainty because he is (a) young, (b) a good recruiter, (c) a good motivator, and (d) is the key to holding on to our current recruits is simply a repeat of what happened when Dalis hired Lavin.

    It would be GREAT for UCLA to elevate “one of its own.” However, I think it would be better for UCLA to do that when he is better-prepared to take the job. That would be most fair to the school, the players, AND to Walker.

    Think of it this way: Forgetting names or alumni ties, who would be a better candidate on paper for this job, right now?

    (a) A candidate coming in with 2 years of DC experience at a Div. I school, no HC experience, and several years experience as a defensive assistant at the NFL level; OR

    (b) A candidate coming with slightly less years as an offensive assistant at the NFL, but 8-10 years as an offensive coordinator, including several years as coordinator at 2 BCS-conference schools, but no HC experience?

    You probably see where I’m going with this, but to be clear: (a) describes Walker, (b) describes Dorrell.

    I submit it is FAR better for UCLA to hire a head coach with head coaching experience, to minimize the risk of inconsistency and unbalanced production that has happened over the past 10-12 years of UCLA Football.

    Sorry so long.

    MIM

  4. […] promoting of assistants thing, and also thinks June Jones would be a great get. Read his comments here. The two issues with Jones are that Jones would not come on board if Walker were retained and […]

  5. […] have mentioned has lacking enthusiasm, may also suffer the same fate. I have to look into this, but see the post on head coaching experience for some coordinators-turned-head coach that did well right off the […]

  6. Editors note: Good points. I picked this line off of Wikipedia about his recruiting:

    “As for the recruits that Jones usually goes for as a coach, the profiles of typical targets are: (1) Polynesian kids, (2) kids who have lived in Hawaii or have family here, (3) military kids with no permanent home, (4) kids recovering from injuries and (5) kids from broken homes, (6) the rare kid from the penal system.”Some of my best players I’ve recruited out of jail,” Jones says in reference to current quarterback Colt Brennan’s past legal troubles.”

    I’m going to throw in my 2 cents on Jones and recruiting. Hawaii isn’t UCLA in a lot of ways, but the academic requirements between the schools are night and day. Jones has brought in a lot of, shall we say, “borderline” guys. He’s known for picking up kids with checkered pasts. Colt Brennan is a good example. Colt would never have been admitted to UCLA in a million years. I don’t think Jones would be able to hang with the academic restrictions UCLA brings to the table.

    But, getting back to the topic at hand, Walker will have experience after December 22nd! Ha! There ya go, case solved.

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