According to The Los Angeles Times, UCLA fired head coach Rick Neuheisel after four disappointing seasons, although he will be allowed to coach the Pac-12 championship game this Friday. He will not be able to coach them if the Bruins receive a bowl berth.
This begs the question: Who should take over?
Many coaches are in the conversation, including former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. However, there is a coach from a small school in Boise, Idaho who may be the Bruins' answer. Since 2006, Chris Petersen has led the Broncos to an impressive 71-6 regular-season record and a 3-2 bowl record. This includes the 2007 Fiesta bowl win over powerhouse Oklahoma.
Along with those feats, he has also received three coaching awards, including two Bear Bryant Awards and one Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2010. This guy knows how to coach.
In addition to an impressive record and accolades, now is prime time for Petersen to leave Boise State. Boise State suffered a loss this year, spoiling its chance at a BCS National Championship Game appearance. This past offseason as well, Boise State was issued three years probation by the NCAA.
In addition, Kellen Moore and many of the core players on the Bronco team are moving on after this season. Now would be a great time to go before the ship starts to sink.
Currently, UCLA runs the pistol. While the pistol is not exactly like the system Chris Petersen runs up in Boise, it is a lot closer in style than an air-raid style that Mike Leach would bring to the table. In addition, many of the players now could be easily transitioned into Petersen's system, while there might be a bit of a learning curve if a different coach came in.
A good example of this is Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. Trying to stick a square peg in a round hole almost never works.
In the recruiting hot spot of LA, Petersen could come in and challenge USC for many of its recruits, as numerous preps would be dazzled by the allure of playing under a successful coach like himself.
Chris Petersen is the right man for the job, and if UCLA is to ever return to national or even Pac-12 prominence, the Bruins better move fast.