Dec. 18, 2002
One of the rising stars in the coaching profession, former Bruin wide receiver Karl Dorrell has been selected as the 15th head football coach in UCLA history, athletic director Daniel Guerrero announced Wednesday.
Dorrell and Guerrero will be available at a press conference at Noon on Thursday (Dec. 19) in the Press Room of the J.D. Morgan Athletics Center.
"Obviously, I am privileged and honored to be the new head football coach at UCLA," said Dorrell. "It has always been a dream of mine to someday return to campus as the head coach at this great university. I can't wait to get started."
"Karl Dorrell is an outstanding fit for UCLA," said Guerrero. "Everyone with whom I spoke held Karl in high regard in the areas of leadership, coaching, relating to players, recruiting and dealing with media and alumni.
"He has worked for some outstanding coaches, such as Terry Donahue and Mike Shanahan, and he has taken the best of their philosophies and organizational skills and blended them into his own.
"Karl is a man of high principles whom I feel is well suited to the college game. The fact that he enjoyed an outstanding career as a Bruin player gives him an appreciation for what a special place UCLA is.
"I believe that Karl is the man who can build UCLA football to the elite level and we are excited to begin that process. I know our alumni and fans will rally in support of Karl and our program."
Dorrell comes to UCLA from the Denver Broncos, where he was in his third year as the coach of the wide receivers. His receivers have played very well during his time with the club.
In 2001, Dorrell faced the challenge of replacing Pro Bowl veteran Ed McCaffrey after a season-ending injury in Week 1, and not only saw Rod Smith catch a franchise-record 113 passes, but also implemented many young players into the Broncos scheme while working through a variety of other injuries that affected playing time.
Though it was a trying season in that regard, Dorrell's tutelage allowed the club to glimpse the young talent it had assembled, as those players gained experience that will pay future dividends. Smith earned his second Pro Bowl invitation, and led the NFL in receptions while ranking sixth in receiving yards.
In Dorrell's first season in Denver (2000), his receiving corps played an integral role in elevating the overall offensive unit to franchise records in total yards, passing yards and first downs. McCaffrey and Smith took their performance to new levels that year, as Smith earned the first Pro Bowl selection of his six-year career while shattering the franchise record with 1,602 receiving yards and tying the previous record with 100 receptions. McCaffrey had the most productive season of his 10-year career by catching a franchise-record 101 passes for 1,317 yards, now third best behind Smith's 1,602. Both finished in the NFL's top four in receptions and in the top 10 in receiving yards. Smith's 1,602 yards tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in NFL history, while the duo became just the second pair from the same team ever to post 100 more catches in the same season. Smith and McCaffrey were virtually unstoppable with 13 100-yard games between them.
Prior to his arrival in Denver Dorrell coached 12 years on the collegiate level, including seven seasons as an offensive coordinator. In his career as a player and coach, Dorrell has participated in 12 bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, two Fiesta Bowls and two Cotton Bowls.
Dorrell spent the 1999 season at the University of Washington, serving as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. In his one season at the school, the Huskies led the Pac-10 in time of possession with an average of 32:57 per game, and scored 28.3 points per game.
He assisted the Broncos coaching staff during training camp in both 1993 and '99 through the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship program, and was offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of Colorado from 1995-98, after a previous stint as wide receivers coach from 1992-93. As offensive coordinator, he was responsible for developing and implementing game plans.
During his first tenure at CU, two of Dorrell's wide receivers, Charles Johnson and Michael Westbrook, became just the fourth pair of receivers on the same team in NCAA history to accumulate more than 1,000 yards in the same season. Johnson and Westbrook are two of the six collegiate receivers Dorrell has coached who have gone on to play in the NFL -- three of who were first-round draft choices.
A former wide receiver himself, Dorrell began his coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant at UCLA. The Bruins were 10-2 that season, winning the Cotton Bowl. His other coaching stops include Central Florida (1989; receivers), Northern Arizona (1990-91; offensive coordinator/receivers) and Arizona State (1994; wide receivers). In his first experience as an offensive coordinator, Dorrell made his mark at NAU, directing the Lumberjack offense to a school record for first downs in a season, and the second-highest total offense figure in school history.
Dorrell earned his bachelor's degree from UCLA following the 1986 season. He completed his playing career ranked second (tied) in school history in receptions (108) and fourth in receiving yards (1,517). His 108 receptions still rank ninth (tied) on that career list while his 1,517 yards rank 12th. He also played on teams that won three Rose Bowls -- following the 1982, 1983 and 1985 seasons -- and the 1986 Freedom Bowl.
As a true sophomore in 1983, he made 26 receptions for 390 yards and six touchdowns. In the 45-9 Rose Bowl victory over Illinois, he made five catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns (15 and 16 yards). He missed most of the following season due to a shoulder injury and was granted an additional year of eligibility. As a junior in 1985, he led all Bruin receivers with 39 receptions for 565 yards and one touchdown. As a senior, he was second to Flipper Anderson with 35 receptions for 451 yards and two touchdowns.
He had a brief professional career, spending part of the 1987 season with the Dallas Cowboys before being placed on injured reserve.
Dorrell, who was born in Alameda, CA on Dec. 18, 1963, is a graduate of San Diego's Helix High School, where he was a two-time all-league selection and honorable mention All-America as a senior. He led Helix to the CIF San Diego Section title in 1980 and to second place in 1981.
Karl and his wife, Kim, have two children, Chandler (7) and Lauren (4), and reside in Englewood, Colo.