Ron Caragher, a former UCLA quarterback (1985-89), enters his seventh season as UCLA’s wide receivers coach and ninth as a member of the staff. He will once again coach the Bruin kickers this season.
In the 2001 season, Brian Poli-Dixon concluded his career in the top five on the all-time school list in both receptions and receiving yards after five seasons under Caragher’s direction. In 2000, he coached record-setting wide receiver Freddie Mitchell. A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, Mitchell ranked second in the nation with his average of 119.45 receiving yards per game. He set a school record with 1,494 receiving yards during the 2000 season and ranked fourth on the all-time Pac-10 list with 1,314 yards during the regular season. In 1999, Caragher tutored Danny Farmer who became the all-time UCLA leader in receiving yardage. He enters 2002 with another top receiving unit, headlined by Craig Bragg and Tab Perry. In addition, Caragher has helped punter Nate Fikse earn all-conference honors for two straight seasons.
The 1998 starting wide receiver tandem of Farmer and Poli-Dixon topped the Pac-10 in a couple of categories — reception yards per catch (Farmer 22.0) and touchdown passes caught (Poli-Dixon - 10). Only J.J. Stokes (728 yards in 1992) had a better sophomore season than Poli-Dixon who totaled 712 in 1998. In 1997, Jim McElroy averaged 21.0 yards and scored 10 touchdowns on 47 receptions. In 1996, Farmer became the first freshman to lead a Bruin team in receptions (31) while McElroy averaged a team-leading 20.3 yards on each of his 26 catches. Prior to becoming a full-time coach, Caragher served as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons (1994-95), working with the Bruin offensive unit while securing his Master’s degree in Education. He has coached in four bowl games — 1995 Aloha, 1998 Cotton, 1999 Rose and 2000 Sun.
The Morgan Hill, CA native was a four-year letterwinner and served as backup quarterback during his playing career. He was selected as a game captain for the 1989 Arizona game. Ron was a member of Bruin teams which posted wins in both the 1986 Rose Bowl and the 1986 Freedom Bowl. His teams also went on to register wins in the 1987 Aloha Bowl and the 1989 Cotton Bowl. That Cotton bowl victory set an NCAA record for bowl wins by a team in consecutive seasons at seven. During the 1987-88 campaigns, the Bruins posted a 20-4 record and were ranked No. 1 nationally for two weeks during the 1988 season. A graduate of Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, Caragher threw for over 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. He piloted his team to the West Catholic Athletic League championship and was named Most Valuable Offensive Player in the WCAL, All-Bay Area, All-Central Coast Section and All-Peninsula. The right-hander also was a two-year varsity letterwinner in track and basketball. He is married to former Bruin women’s tennis player Wendy Ouwendijk.
RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITIES — Local / California: Ventura County to San Francisco; National: Colorado, El Paso, New Mexico; wide receivers and kickers.
PERSONAL — Education: Bachelor’s in Psychology, from UCLA, 1990; Master’s in Education: Administrative Studies from UCLA, 1995; At UCLA: Ninth year, seventh as full-time coach (joined the staff in Spring of 1994); Born: January 24, 1967 in Redwood City, CA; Family: Married to the former Wendy Ouwendijk, also a UCLA graduate; they have three sons, Josh (6), Ryan (4) and Scott (3).