UCLA has fired head football coach Bob Toledo, sources indicated Monday morning.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero informed Toleldo at a Monday morning meeting.
Much has been written and discussed about the reasons for firing Toledo. There are the statistics (24-22, 113-19 in three years), the four consecutive losses to USC, and the widely reported incidents off-the-field.
But many close to the program believe one of the biggest determining factors was Toledo having lost the support of the program in recent years. There are pretty reliable reports that Toledo had lost the confidence of his players and coaches, as well as that of the player's families. A few players were seriously considering transferring if Toledo had been retained for next season.
Toledo losing the internal support has been a long, evolving situation. There have been a number of lingering contributing factors that have led to it. Many insiders believe the most significant turning point was the handicapped parking scandal in 1998. Sources indicate that when the scandal hit, Toledo's lack of support for the players had a big impression on them.
Here is UCLA's official release:
UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero announced today that Bob Toledo has been released from the position of head football coach, effective today. Guerrero will be available this afternoon at a 2:00 p.m. press conference in the Press Room of the J.D. Morgan Center.
Ed Kezirian, who is in his 21st year as a member of the UCLA athletic staff, will serve as interim head coach. Kezirian, currently Assistant Director of Academic Services, spent 11 seasons (1982-1992) as a Bruin assistant coach. The coordinators and current staff members will be responsible for developing the game plan for the SEGA Sports Las Vegas Bowl.
A national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
"This was an extremely hard decision to make but one I felt was necessary for the future of the program," said Guerrero about his decision to release Toledo.
"During the last five months, I developed a very good relationship with Bob and learned to have respect for all that he has accomplished at UCLA. This made the decision even more difficult.
"That being said, I believe that in order to revitalize our program and move it forward, a change of leadership is required. The circumstances over the past four years, both on and off the field, created an environment that, in my opinion, hindered long-term success," Guerrero said.
"In the final analysis, when I looked at all of the factors on both sides of the ledger, I felt that for UCLA football to take the next step, we needed a fresh start."
Toledo, 56, who compiled a record of 49-32 in his seven years as head coach, had six years remaining on his contract. The contract buyout consists of one year of the full package of $578,000 and five years at the base salary of $153,000.
Prior to his becoming head coach in January of 1996, Toledo served as UCLA's offensive coordinator for two seasons (1994 and 1995). He also served as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M for five years (1989-93) and at Oregon for six seasons (1983-88).
STATEMENT FROM BOB TOLEDO
"I came to UCLA with class and dignity and I will leave with class and dignity. I have nothing but great things to say about UCLA.
"I have met some super people during my time here and I've made some great friends.
"I want to thank the coaches who have worked with me and the players that have played for me. We've done some outstanding things during my time here (two Pac-10 championships, 20-game winning streak) and we've won some big games (Texas twice, Alabama twice, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M and USC three times).
"I have enjoyed my time at UCLA and wish the players the best of luck in the future."