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Rick Neuheisel, who quarterbacked UCLA to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl is entering his fourth year as head coach at his alma mater and will lead the Bruins into battle in the new Pacific-12 Conference this fall. The energetic and personable Neuheisel returned to UCLA in December of 2007 and has brought energy to the program.
This past season, UCLA scored a big win on the road at then #4-ranked Texas; posted three-straight 250-yard rushing games while upping its rushing average per game by over 60 yards; had a quarterback break the school completions in a game record; and had two players named to the AP All-America team. The Bruins win at Texas was the Longhorn's first home loss since 2007. The three straight 250-yard rushing games marked the first time a UCLA team had achieved that feat since the 1993 season. UCLA rushed for 437 yards agianst Washington State was its highest single-game total since 1979. Quarterback Richard Brehaut completed 33 passes in the game at Arizona State to surpass the old mark held by Troy Aikman (32, 1988). Safety Rahim Moore and linebacker Akeem Ayers were named to the third-team Associated Press All-America team and to the first-team All-Pacific-10 squad.
In 2009, the Bruins registered a huge win at Tennessee and won three straight games in November to become bowl eligible. Kai Forbath won the Lou Groza Award, Forbath, Brian Price, Rahim Moore and Alterraun Verner earned first-team All-America acclaim from at least one organization/publication and all, along with Reggie Carter, were first-team All-Pac-10 selections. UCLA capped the 2009 season with a 30-21 victory in the EagleBank Bowl and four wins in the Bruins' final five games and in February, signed a consensus Top 10 recruiting class.
Twice in 2008, the Bruins rallied late in the fourth quarter for victories, including versus Tennessee on national television on Labor Day evening. In addition, he laid a solid foundation to build upon and in February signed a second straight Top 10 recruiting class. Neuheisel is "relentlessly positive" and sees great things for the future of Bruin football.
In the Spring of 2009, he participated in the second annual Coaches Tour to the Middle East, visiting U.S. troops at various bases.
"Rick has enjoyed great success throughout his career and we believe he is the coach who can take our program to the next level," said athletic drector Dan Guerrero at the time of Neuheisel's hiring. "His teams at Colorado and Washington continually challenged for conference championships and national rankings and that is what we are looking to do at UCLA.
"Rick is an outstanding coach and recruiter. He is outgoing and personable and can motivate our players, fans and supporters. We believe he is well equipped to lead the program and attain the success all Bruin fans wish to achieve."
"I am thrilled to be returning to my alma mater as its head coach," said Neuheisel. "UCLA is a special place and I want to thank Dan Guerrero and Chancellor (Gene) Block for the opportunity to come home. We are going to build a program our supporters will be proud of, both on and off the field. I can't wait to get started."
Neuheisel, 50, returned to the collegiate ranks after spending the three seasons (2005-07) as an assistant coach for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005 and 2006 and in January of 2007, was promoted to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. With the Ravens, he worked with quarterbacks Kyle Boller, Steve McNair and, most recently, 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.
In his eight years as a college head coach at the University of Colorado and the University of Washington, he fashioned a record of 66-30, winning at least 10 games on three occasions and finishing in the Top 10 on three occasions, and led his teams to seven bowl games.
During his four seasons (1999-2002) as head coach at the University of Washington, Neuheisel led the Huskies to a record of 33-16 (.673) and four bowl games (one Rose Bowl, two Holiday Bowls and one Sun Bowl). His Pac-10 record was 23-9 (.719) and Washington won one league title and finished second twice in those four seasons. The Husky offense averaged over 390 yards per game in each season, topped by 420.7 in 2002 (17th in the nation) and 407.9 in 2000 (35th).
In his final season, the Huskies finished 7-6 and tied for 4th in the Pac-10 while ranking fourth nationally in passing offense (346.2 yards per game) and earning a spot in the Sun Bowl.
In 2001, Washington finished 8-4 overall and second in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 mark, earning a trip to the Holiday Bowl. The Huskies faced five teams ranked in the final AP Poll that season, winning three of those games.
In 2000, Neuheisel led the Huskies to an 11-1 record, a first-place finish in the Pac-10 and a victory in the 2001 Rose Bowl. It was a year of great comebacks as Washington trailed in eight of its 11 wins and recorded five straight fourth-quarter comebacks. It marked the first time Washington had won 10 games since 1991 and the school's first Rose Bowl title since that same season.
In 1999, his first season in Seattle, Washington finished 7-5 but finished second in the Pac-10, earning a trip to the Holiday Bowl. Neuheisel became the first coach in school history to lead a Husky team to a bowl berth in his first season. During his four seasons (1995-98) as head coach at the University of Colorado, Neuheisel won 33 of 47 games (.702) and won all three bowl appearances. In his final season, Colorado finished 8-4, including a 51-43 victory over Oregon in the Aloha Bowl, and the Buffaloes ranked 13th nationally in total defense that year. In 1997, Colorado finished 5-6 but still led the Big 12 in passing offense (232.4). Neuheisel then signed a recruiting class that formed the nucleus of Colorado's 2001 Big 12 championship team.
During the 1996 season, Neuheisel recorded his second straight 10-2 season, including a 33-21 victory over Washington in the Holiday Bowl, and finished second in the Big 12 North. The Buffaloes were ranked eighth on both polls and outscored opponents 319-199 while setting a school record by winning 10 consecutive road games. That team produced three All-Americans, including Butkus Award winner LB Matt Russell, and averaged 452.1 yards of offense, including 303.5 in the air, while allowing just 315.5 yards to opponents.
Neuheisel's 20-4 record in his first two seasons were the fifth most wins at the time for a first-time head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division IA). In his first season as a head coach (1995), Colorado finished fifth on both major polls. He guided the Buffaloes to a 10-2 record (the best ever by a first-year CU coach) and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl (a 38-6 win over Oregon), becoming the first rookie Colorado coach to take a team to a bowl game. Following his first season, he signed a recruiting class (February 1996) that was rated No. 2 nationally.
Neuheisel spent the 1994 season as a Colorado assistant coach under Bill McCartney after going to CU from UCLA. That year, Colorado defeated Michigan in Ann Arbor on a last second touchdown play modified on the sideline by Neuheisel.
Neuheisel spent six seasons (1988-93) as an assistant coach at his alma mater. During his final four years he tutored the wide receivers, helping to develop some of UCLA's all-time great receivers, such as J.J. Stokes, Kevin Jordan and Sean LaChapelle. In 1993, Stokes helped the Bruins reach the Rose Bowl while setting school records with 82 receptions, 1,181 yards (since broken) and 17 touchdowns. LaChapelle made 73 receptions in 1991 and Jordan made 45 as a sophomore in Neuheisel's last year (1993). In 1990, three Bruins - Scott Miller, Reggie Moore and LaChapelle - all made at least 35 receptions for at least 600 yards.
Neuheisel joined the UCLA staff full-time in 1988 and coached quarterbacks for two seasons, including NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's senior year (1988). Aikman earned consensus All-America honors and finished third in the Heisman Trophy race, completing a school record 228 passes (since broken) for 2,771 yards, a .644 percentage and a school record 24 touchdowns (since broken). Aikman was the No. 1 selection in the 1989 NFL Draft.
In 1986, he served as a volunteer coach and his major assignment was to teach the offense to a transfer from Oklahoma who had to sit out the 1986 season - Aikman. The Bruin head coach also played some professional football. In 1987, he played in three games with the San Diego Chargers and started twice. He completed 40 of 59 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown and also ran for a score. Against Tampa Bay, he completed 18 of 22 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown, setting a team record for completion percentage in a game (81.8%).
He also spent two seasons (1984 and 1985) in the United States Football League (USFL), playing with the San Antonio Gunslingers. In his rookie season, he completed 211 of 385 passes (.548) for 2,544 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Neuheisel began his collegiate career at UCLA (1979-83) as a walk-on, holding for place kicker John Lee, and earned the starting quarterback job during his senior season (1983). He led the Bruins to the Pac-10 title after a 0-3-1 start, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors while completing 185 of 267 passes for 2,245 yards and 13 touchdowns. His completion percentage of .693 that season is still a school record. In a classic game against Washington, he completed 25 of 27 passes for a then-NCAA record .926 completion percentage in a 27-24 victory. That mark is still a UCLA record.
In his final game as a Bruin, he overcame food poisoning to lead UCLA to a 45-9 victory against Illinois in the 1984 Rose Bowl. He was named the game's MVP after throwing for 298 yards and four touchdowns. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame for his efforts.
During his career, he completed 198 of 290 passes for 2,480 yards and 15 touchdowns and his completion percentage of .683 is also a school record.
Neuheisel earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1984. In 1986, while he was tutoring Aikman as a volunteer, he attended law school at USC and earned his degree in May of 1990.
Born February 7, 1961 in Madison, WI, he grew up in Tempe, AZ, attending McClintock High School. He and his wife Susan, a UCLA graduate, have three children, Jerry, Jack and Joe.
Rick Neuheisel's Head Coaching Record