Two days after a 50-0 loss to cross-town rival USC, Rick Neuheisel was fired Monday as head coach of the UCLA Bruins football team.
Neuheisel is still expected to coach the Bruins against Oregon in Friday's Pac-12 championship game. Neuheisel was 21-28 during his four years at UCLA, his alma mater.
The Bruins (6-6) played in one bowl game during Neuheisel's first three seasons, winning the EagleBank Bowl in 2009.
"I have a great deal of respect for Rick Neuheisel and the manner in which he has run this program during his tenure as UCLA head football coach," said UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero. "Decisions such as this one do not come without a great deal of heartache. However, it is apparent to me that a move was necessary at this time in order to give UCLA the best chance to enjoy the success that we all desire."
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UCLA offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Johnson will lead the team on an interim basis after Neuheisel officially steps down. The school will immediately begin its search for a permanent head coach, Guerrero said.
The team found itself representing the south division in the Pac-12 title game courtesy of Colorado's upset win last week over Utah. USC finished with the best record in the division, but the Trojans are not eligible for post-season play because of NCAA sanctions.
The Ducks and Bruins will square off in Eugene, Oregon at 5 p.m. Friday.
Neuheisel played quarterback at UCLA, starting as a senior in 1983. He led the team to a Rose Bowl victory over Illinois and earned MVP honors, throwing four touchdown passes in the surprising 45-9 route.
Two of those scoring passes went to wideout Karl Dorrell, who Neuheisel replaced as UCLA head coach in 2007.
Neuheisel played professionally in the USFL and NFL before becoming an assistant coach at UCLA and Colorado. Neuheisel was named head coach at Colorado after the 1994 season. He went on to coach at Washington for four seasons, starting in 1999.
Neuheisel was an assistant and offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens before returning to UCLA.