Jan. 26, 2009
Carnell Lake, who earned All-America honors at UCLA and All-Pro acclaim in the National Football League, has been hired to coach the Bruin cornerbacks, head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today.
"We are thrilled to bring Carnell back to UCLA," said Neuheisel. "He had a great playing career, both at UCLA and in the NFL, and was a real student of the game. We believe the qualities that made him a great player will translate to his coaching assignment.
"I also feel he will be a great asset in recruiting. He grew up in Los Angeles, went to school at UCLA, was a great student and played for a long time in the NFL. He is the prototype of the young men we are looking to recruit to UCLA."
Lake, 41, was a three-year (1986-88) starting outside linebacker (he was a key reserve as a true freshman) at UCLA and excelled both on the field and in the classroom.
As a senior in 1988, UCLA was 10-2 and Lake earned first-team All-America and All-Pac-10 honors on the field while making 78 tackles, including 12.5 for losses. He was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and Lombardi Trophy. Off the field, he earned a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete award.
As a junior in 1987, he led the Pac-10 with 13.0 sacks, then a UCLA school record, and earned first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-America acclaim. UCLA compiled a record of 10-2 that season. During his four-year career, he made 45.5 tackles for loss, the No. 1 total in school history, and 25.5 sacks - No. 4 on that UCLA career chart. UCLA compiled a record of 37-9-2 during Lake's career and won all four bowl games (Rose, Freedom, Aloha and Cotton) in which he played.
A second-round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1989 NFL Draft (No. 34 overall), Lake played 12 seasons in the National Football League as a standout strong safety and cornerback - the first 10 with the Steelers plus one each with Jacksonville (1999, plus 2000 on injured reserve) and Baltimore (2001). While with the Steelers, he played in five Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in the 1997 season and second-team honors on four other occasions. He also played in Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys.
In Lake's first 11 seasons in the NFL, he missed just six regular-season games while starting all 170 games in which he played. Overall, he made 819 tackles, including 25 sacks, forced 15 fumbles and recovered 17, and made 16 interceptions. He scored five touchdowns, three on interceptions and two on fumble returns. During his career, he played for four head coaches who won Super Bowls - Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher with Pittsburgh, Tom Coughlin with Jacksonville and Brian Billick with Baltimore.
Lake starred at Culver City High School prior to attending UCLA. He is a member of the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (2000) .
Since his retirement following the 2001 season, Lake has worked in private business. He and his wife, Monica, and their three children - daughter Siena (13) and sons Quentin (9) and Austin (8) - have lived in Irvine since the summer of 2007.