UCLA Beat Writer: Gottfried a target

There’s just not a lot of info floating around on the UCLA coaching search. But, I’m also not scouring UCLA message boards (nor SFN’s peer boards, either).

What’s most interesting to me in this search is that UCLA has always been widely considered a career destination job, and is easily one of the five best coaching jobs in college basketball, yet the Bruins appear spurned by some of the same folks that State missed on two years ago. Many folks agree it’s simply easier — and far less stressful — to win big at VCU or, more specifically, Butler, which will shed the moronic mid-major moniker next season when it joins the new Big East. Besides, mid-majors are making comparable money nowadays.

Beyond the obvious Tier 1A choices of Pitino or Donovan and Tier 1B choices of Smart, Stevens and Few, Mark Gottfried seems to be getting attention (WRAL.com):

“Word is that Gottfried is one of the guys that UCLA boosters are looking at and are excited about,” UCLA beat writer Ryan Kartje told Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas Wednesday morning on 620 AM The Buzz.

Kartje, who covers the Bruins for the Orange County Register, granted that Gottfried is somewhat of a second choice. “The first tier that UCLA fans would like to see are guys like Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino – guys that are probably out of their reach,” he said.

Kartje said the Bruins are also targeting Butler’s Brad Stevens, and would likely wait for him to express whether he is interested in the job before more aggressively pursuing Gottfried.

“The indications are that he (Gottfried) would absolutely listen (if approached about the job),” Kartje said. “I think if Brad Stevens isn’t in the fold, I think Mark Gottfried is maybe the lead candidate for the job.”

Of course he’d “listen.” We knew that when we hired him. “Listening” is one of the ways coaches get raises they don’t necessarily deserve. This sort of reminds me of back in 2002 when we all worried Chuck Amato would replace Bowden at Florida State or Paterno at Penn State.

Obviously (well, arguably, depending on who you ask, while mired in the fear of off-season turmoil just a few days after the disgusting loss to Temple), Gottfried has done well in his first two years at State and has the program in better shape than its been since the 80’s, and we certainly want to maintain that continuity.

However, at least some folks seem to agree that losing Gottfried to UCLA isn’t a program killer. Beyond the buyout money that will be available, Gottfried has proven in a very short time, if nothing else, that it’s not impossible to win here, and even, as daunting as this seems, win against Carolina and Duke. Call me an optimist (at least 15 people just eliminated LRM as the writer here), but maybe the timing is better to make a big-name hire now than it was two years ago — for instance, Sean Miller (or similar).

If nothing else, we should be able to finally get Rick Barnes to Raleigh, right?

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61 Responses to UCLA Beat Writer: Gottfried a target

  1. Tyler_Durden 03/27/2013 at 3:21 PM #

    I trust Yow to do what (in her mind) is best for the program. I did not have that certainty with the previous AD.

  2. JKL 03/27/2013 at 3:47 PM #

    $3.75M is a hell of a signing bonus…

  3. RedandWhite97 03/27/2013 at 3:57 PM #

    Funny, a co-worker and I were just having this same discussion. Especially the part about finding a replacement and the idea of winning here is not as far fetched as the media made it out in 2006 and 2011.

    Agreed with Tyler too……I trust Yow.

  4. vtpackfan 03/27/2013 at 4:02 PM #

    Plz never mention Miller or Barnes again. Long, long since sailed. What is the Orange County Register? Do they also have a beat writer solely cover “Choppers” and “Pawn Shops”.

    Smart and Stevens look a no-go, and Donovan and Pitino are just ridiculous. A wait and see period until a proven commodity like Gregg Marshal is ready to look around after seasons end. Gottfried will stay on supposed “list” in order to always have a consistent name to drop and keep it from ever becoming a late night letter from Debbie type situation.

  5. ILPackfan 03/27/2013 at 4:03 PM #

    Admittedly, the first couple of years is a honeymoon and small sample size. I’d like to see Coach Gott stay. If he bolts, at least the cupboard might not be as bare as it was when either Sendek or Lowe took over the program (unless everyone transfers and/or decommits en masse).

    I’m sure he’d listen if UCLA called–not sure there’s many who wouldn’t–but I’d like to think that at least it would be a hard decision to leave.

  6. vtpackfan 03/27/2013 at 4:13 PM #

    Looks like a decent source after all. All depends on the Administration/Donor balance of power. Our situation seems to have the ball squarely in Yow’s and Woodsons side of the court.

    If the Big Money Donors have more control than this storyline may gain traction over the next days/weeks. I still think not. They’re swinging for the fences here and still have some at bats to come.

  7. Adventuroo 03/27/2013 at 4:19 PM #

    Interesting…..some random thoughts….one is REALLY mind blowing!

    This morning on the Fan, they were talking about the UCLA job.

    First and Foremost was someone who would FIT the CA image….CHECK!

    Second – Someone who could RECRUIT….so that if he fell flat on his face (as most think that only John Wooden reincarnated will satisfy the West Coast crowd), then at LEAST he would have left a good stable of horses for the next trainer…..CHECK!

    Finally, they named five or so coaches. Shaka is currently supposedly reworking his contract. Brad Steven did not fit number 1….and they went on. They did NOT name Coach G as a candidate….

    I certainly would HATE to see him go….but he has to decide what is best for him at this juncture in life. In addition, if he DOES leave, then there is a NICE little nest egg for a signing bonus for a new coach.

    Bobby Lutz would certainly be NO slouch HC. The current staff is a blend of Coach G and Coach L’s old staff. I have the UTMOST confidence that Coach Lutz would do a great job. He is a true NC guy….raised in Catawba county. He currently is still, I think, physically located in the Charlotte area.

    NOW, for the mind blowing thought….IF Coach G DOES leave and UCLA does NOT come up with some really heavy duty bread, the buyout is actually WAY MORE than it seems like. Debbie Yow is a pretty crafty lady. When Coach Doren came, he got a “bonus” to pay off his buyout….but she did NOT pick up the taxes on it. That little item cost him upwards of $400K….

    UCLA can not BUY OUT the contract….that is a legal obligation from Coach G. UCLA can PAY Coach G. a bonus….and then Coach G. can write the check….but President Obama and probably NC Gov McCrory will get their share. Might be that Gov Brown would get the state share.

    The BUYOUT is considered as SALARY…..

    I KNOW that there are a LOT of folks that think you can merely write OFF the payment (sort of like a penalty) of your contract. NOPE….it is NOT an approved IRS deduction. Many of the larger schools that frequently RAID the other schools DO have a “Tax Neutral” clause in the new coach’s contract.

    It reads something to the effect that Coach X will receive an amount ($3.750K) which is to be paid to MY SU. In order for Coach X toNOT suffer tax penalties, then Coach X is to submit CPA info that specifically calculates the ADDITIONAL tax (Fed and State) on the “Bonus” or buyout money. The wording goes on to say that the intent is for Coach X’s bonus and subsequent payment (buyout) is to be, for Coach X, a TAX NEUTRAL event.

    Michigan (since it is a Public University) had several contracts ONLINE that went into great detail about HOW this was to be handled.

    Two FINAL comments, courtesy of the morning Fan ESPN guys…

    First, the income tax in CA is going through the ROOF…..Thank you Gov. Brown….so the Fat Cat (Coach’s) salary will be unbelievably TAXED….and the COL is unbelievably HIGH.

    Second…..UCLA is a PUBLIC unversity….regard of who (John Wooden reincarnated was excluded) they hire, there will be some really ugly and wicked editorials about how much UCLA is paying a BB coach when the students are getting hit with fees and tuition hits and the state could spend THAT money elsewhere. USC is private (according to them) and the coach’s salary is hidden.

    Interesting viewpoints from the cheap seats…..

    Check with Flight Aware for CA UCLA Donor Fat Cats’ tail numbers….

    PS…. folks DO recall that in Sept, 2012, Coach G got a $750K raise….he went from $1.2 Mil (Base plus additinal Comp or what is called “Guaranteed”) t $1.950 Mill….or a a 62.5% INCREASE….that was before a ball was tipped in the 2012-13 season….

    I don’t know if coach G has the cards to force another contract re-do this year…..lots of things going on….

    He was on the UCLA radar and closing like a MIG on Maverick….then Goose lost him in the clouds…..now UCLA just popped out of the clouds and you do NOT even need radr to identify them…..how will this dogfight end? Will Woodson give Yow the command….” You are auhorized to fire….even if you are NOT fired upon” or will the rules of engagement be more conservate? “You are only authorized to report being fired upon and I will decide if you can return fire…” Top Gun always has the answers to ALL of life’s dilemnas….

  8. 74wulf 03/27/2013 at 4:38 PM #

    Gottfried did not meet the Yow threshold (top 25 in the nation) this season for keeping his job. He did about as well as TOB.

  9. tjfoose1 03/27/2013 at 4:50 PM #

    “Gottfried did not meet the Yow threshold (top 25 in the nation) this season for keeping his job. He did about as well as TOB.”

    That statement belies the wisdom implied by the age suggested in your username.

  10. ncsu1987 03/27/2013 at 4:54 PM #

    ^Adventuroo: nice post, interesting points.

    I was not aware of the tax angle, and the California environment certainly makes that interesting.

    Regardless of the allure, the reputation, the history and everything else: there is no place on Earth where a college basketball coach is under more unreasonable pressure to win big than UCLA. The last two coaches were successful by most program standards (Lavin, 7 seasons, 6 NCAA berths; Howland, 10 seasons, 7 NCAA berths). You’d have to be nuts AND get paid REALLY well to jump into that pressure cooker.

    Maybe that’s where Gott’s head is. But I think he’s got a pretty good gig here, and I hope he thinks the same.

  11. tjfoose1 03/27/2013 at 4:55 PM #

    If there’s any truth to this, a lot of those who posted comments on the “Gottfried to UCLA Is In The Rumor Mill” entry are looking a little foolish right now.

  12. ryebread 03/27/2013 at 4:55 PM #

    There are seemingly 3.75 million reasons why Gott isn’t going anywhere. I don’t think UCLA really has any interest in him anyways. Should UCLA want him that badly, then I’d suggest they can have him.

    I suspect Gott is back and this will be nothing. I would hope we’re smart enough not to offer a raise, particularly after the results this year.

  13. hellfishtat 03/27/2013 at 5:06 PM #

    I found this on BruinNation.com…

    I will end this update on a funny note. Yesterday, I linked up a funny story from the OC Register in which Lorenzo Romar’s name was floated in connection with this search process. Romar is waiting for a phone call! Today it’s Mart Gottfried’s turn. Read this amusing post from Zagsblog which suggests “UCLA boosters want Mark Gottfried.” Yes, UCLA boosters are really fired up about a coach who hasn’t won a conference title in 15 years (when he coached at Murray State) and had to resign from Alabama. Yes, Gottfried will really fill up those blue seats facing the cameras inside Pauley. LOL.

  14. jbwbubba 03/27/2013 at 5:15 PM #

    “that losing Gottfried to UCLA isn’t a program killer”

    Except Gott goes and Zo and CJ walk (already factored in), TJ decides to go pro, one or both of Lewis and Purvis transfer, two of the three incoming freshman decide to go elsewhere. And we are left with maybe four scholarship players, and left to find low level JUCO’s and guys who couldn’t play at ECU. Make no mistake this has potential to be a epic disaster for NC STATE

  15. eas 03/27/2013 at 5:15 PM #

    I am not sure he is going anywhere nor is UCLA is all over him. There is one thing for sure is if you went just on personality and “flash” he has the job wrapped up. Gott is liked my the media, can work a crowd, talk to the best of the Hollywood snobs, wine and dine etc. He can sale snow to Eskimos like nobody’s business. Now the coaching part is the other part of the equation…..

  16. TheAliasTroll 03/27/2013 at 5:52 PM #

    Factor in the much higher cost of living on the west coast and he likely wouldn’t be getting much if any of a pay raise either.

  17. john of sparta 03/27/2013 at 6:04 PM #

    better/more/hotter Coeds.
    Gott has a rep.

  18. vtpackfan 03/27/2013 at 6:26 PM #

    Yeah, men from Sparta had a rep too.

  19. wolfpackdawg 03/27/2013 at 6:45 PM #

    Found this comment..LOL

    UCLA basketball fans are pompous oafs who will never again be able to obtain the services of a coach to replicate what John Wooden did in another era. No one can. They are delusional, and represent all that is wrong with college athletics. I love to watch them squirm when they lose to the likes of Minnesota and others whom they hold up their snob noses. Why would any coach want to hang his hat there? Disgusting!

  20. ringo 03/27/2013 at 6:54 PM #

    My feeling is that if he gets a reasonable offer, he is gone. This is a middle age man. In his mind it is likely now or never for that job if he is offered. If that was the one place in the back of his mind he wanted he will likely say “eff it, you only live once.” Millions never get to live out their dreams. If that is truly his dream (which it seems it is) I don’t really begrudge him of chasing it.

    Now if they low ball him or make it abundantly clear he is 4th or 5th tier fallback…that could be different or maybe not. We shall see.

  21. TheCOWDOG 03/27/2013 at 6:55 PM #


  22. Gene 03/27/2013 at 7:07 PM #

    ” Howland, 10 seasons, 7 NCAA berths”

    That’s not that good in this era of 64-68 teams in the NCAA tourney.

    Imagine our neighbors to the west missing the NCAA tournament 3 times in the last 10 years. UCLA should be at that level.

    Howland’s 3 straight trips to the Final Four helped him keep his job for so long, but the program had been heading in the wrong direction.

    Given how bad the PAC-12’s gotten in basketball, I don’t know if anyone can win at the level UCLA expects, because the suckage in the conference as a whole seems to be pulling previously good teams down like UCLA and Arizona.

  23. WeAreCured 03/27/2013 at 7:17 PM #


  24. MARinRVA 03/27/2013 at 7:32 PM #

    Lutz as head coach is crazy talk.

  25. ringo 03/27/2013 at 7:38 PM #

    Agree on Lutz. I would say throw the absolute kitchen sink at Larranaga. Damn the conference.

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