By Jonathan Okanes
THE NEUHEISEL FILE
FULL NAME: Richard Gerald Neuheisel
ALMA MATER: UCLA
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Head coach at three Pac-12 institutions – Colorado, Washington and UCLA. … Won Rose Bowl with Washington in 2000. … Walk-on quarterback at UCLA was named Rose Bowl MVP in 1983.
Rick Neuheisel’s expertise is in football, but he will wear a variety of hats in his new role with the Pac-12 Network.
You know, like facilities management.
Neuheisel joked that he will be “sweeping up” at the end of the day at the Pac-12 Network offices in San Francisco. While Neuheisel can probably leave the broom in the closet, the network plans to tap into his experience with the conference and engaging personality to be one of the conference’s top storytellers in more than just football.
Neuheisel , who has served as the head coach at three Pac-12 universities, was hired last week as one of three faces of the Pac-12 Network, along with former Stanford swimming star and Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders and former USC All-American defensive back and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Ronnie Lott. Neuheisel will serve as both a game analyst and studio analyst for football but will delve into other sports as well.
“It’s a magnificent place,” Neuheisel said. “I’ve been in every arena. I know all the nuances in each of the places. I’ve spent a lot of time in this conference. I think there are a lot of untold stories that people will be fascinated by.”
Neuheisel walked on to UCLA’s football team in the early 1980s and became the team’s starting quarterback as a senior. He led the Bruins to a win in the Rose Bowl and was named the game’s most valuable player. Since, he’s gone on to head coaching jobs at Colorado, Washington and UCLA.
“This is a great opportunity for me to tell stories about the conference that I think is the first and foremost among all of them in terms of creating great student-athletes and great people after their playing days are done,” Neuheisel said. “Having been in this conference almost all of my life, I can’t think of anything else that sounded more fun and more challenging and more inspiring. I am so gung-ho about this that I am happy to do whatever the powers-that-be feel I am capable of doing.”
Neuheisel gained on-air experience with College Sports Television in the mid-90s between his head coaching stint at Washington and is time as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. He’s always demonstrated a presence in front of a microphone or camera, making him an exciting hire for the Pac-12 Network.
“We’ve all gone out and bragged about our conference,” Neuheisel said. “We always talk about the Left Coast. We’ve all planted our flag that ours is the best. Now we get to be the faces of the conference and tell the stories – not just about football and basketball but all the great athletes that have done so many wonderful things in this conference. This is an exciting thing for all of us and can’t wait to get started.”