LOS ANGELES -- Rick Neuheisel is returning to college coaching at the school where he first found fame and success.
|Rick Neuheisel served as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator. (Getty Images)|
His five-year contract is for $1.25 million annually, plus incentives.
Neuheisel, 46, succeeds Karl Dorrell, who was fired Dec. 3 after five seasons on the job. Dorrell, who caught two of Neuheisel's scoring passes in UCLA's 45-9 victory over Illinois in the 1984 Rose Bowl, had no head coaching experience before taking the Bruins' job.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero said Neuheisel's experience and success as a head coach were significant.
"In the end it was all about 66 collegiate wins, a percentage that places him among the top active coaches in the country, and an opportunity for Rick to start anew with a clean slate at his alma mater," Guerrero said in a conference call.
"He brings an energy, enthusiasm and a swagger that we needed."
Neuheisel spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, and will conclude his duties with them when they face Pittsburgh on Sunday. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005-06, and was promoted to offensive coordinator last January.
"This is something that has been my blood," Neuheisel said of the college game. "I've missed it the last five years.
"It's a thrill for me to return to my alma mater and take over a program that I think can and should be one of the best in the country."
He had a 66-30 record as a head coach at Colorado from 1995-98 and Washington from 1999-2002. He hasn't been in the college game since Washington fired him in 2003 for participating in a betting pool on the NCAA basketball tournament. He sued for wrongful termination from Washington and settled in March 2005 with UW and the NCAA for $4.5 million.
Colorado was placed on two years' probation by the NCAA for infractions committed while he was the Buffaloes' coach. All were deemed secondary violations and most involved improper contact with recruits.
Neuheisel said he took full responsibility for his past errors in judgment, and assured Guerrero and other UCLA officials that he'd learned from his mistakes.