A little over a week after Mike Johnson was hired as the new offensive coordinator at UCLA, the Bruins have progressed in their efforts to fill in the rest of the coaching vacancies. Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon interviewed for the defensive coordinator job over the weekend and is close to being hired. Bruin Report Online’s Tracy Pierson says he’s heard from recruits who have been told that the deal is done for Shannon and it just needs to be signed. I’ve heard similar information, but that the deal for Shannon is not done yet.
I’m told that Coach Rick Neuheisel likes Shannon but that one of the issues regarding a potential hiring could be money. As a head coach, Shannon was making approximately $1.2 million before receiving a four-year extension prior to last season. We’re told he may have been making around $1.75 million in 2010. Comparatively, Chuck Bullough who was fired in December, was only making $325,000 as UCLA’s defensive coordinator. It’s possible the school will be able to pay around what Norm Chow made, which is $500,000.
Additionally, I’ve heard that Neuheisel has plans to interview Mark Carrier for the position. Carrier, the former NFL safety, played high school ball at Long Beach Poly and graduated from USC. He’s currently the defensive line coach for the Jets, and just became available for an interview after his team lost Sunday. If you’re wondering the connection to Neuheisel, Carrier, like Mike Johnson, was a coach on the Baltimore Ravens’ staff in 2006 and 2007, serving as their secondary coach.
Lastly, if he is to be hired, Randy Shannon is expected to have a major impact on recruiting. For starters, Shannon reportedly has a good relationship with Tony Steward who is ranked as one of the top high school linebackers in the country. Neuheisel is planning to visit Steward soon and it would be a major help to have Shannon on board for the meeting. As recently as Friday, Steward said “Right now it’s dead even with FSU and Clemson. To be honest, UCLA is right there too. The Bruins are in it. I had a great trip there and I love that coaching staff.” After a disappointing 4-8 season, Neuheisel is eager to do anything possible to turn things around otherwise he could be out of a job.