USC won’t be the only Los Angeles-based university looking for a new athletic director.
UCLA announced Thursday that athletic director Dan Guerrero will retire when his contract expires on July 1, 2020. The University of California System Regents voted unanimously Thursday to extend Guerrero’s contract from Dec. 31 of this year through his retirement date.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block “requested” that Guerrero, whose contract was set to expire in December, stay in his role through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
"Today is bittersweet for me and for my family, as UCLA has been a part of my life for more than 50 years," Guerrero said in a statement. "It truly has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this world-class university and, more importantly, to befriend so many incredible Bruins along the way. I am so grateful to Chancellors Carnesale, Abrams and Block for their confidence in my leadership and incredible partnerships over the years, and to the many student-athletes, coaches and colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of working.”
In his statement, Guerrero, 68, said he is retiring in order to spend more time with family. He also revealed that he recently had a bout with cancer and that his prognosis “is excellent” moving forward.
“Two significant changes in my life over the past 18 months led me to this decision after much consideration and discussion with my family and the Chancellor. First, though it was not widely known, I successfully battled the toughest opponent I have ever had to face in my life: cancer. The world-class medical team at UCLA, however, helped me beat the disease and my prognosis for the future is excellent,” Guerrero said.
“Second, my wife and I recently welcomed our second granddaughter, and spending time with our growing family is incredibly important to me. For these reasons, it is time for me to step aside and for UCLA Athletics to flourish under new leadership while I focus on my health and on my family. In the remaining year ahead, we still have a great deal of work to do and championships to win, and I look forward to every minute of it."
Guerrero has been the AD at UCLA since 2002
UCLA has won 32 NCAA championships in 15 different sports and also revitalized its athletic facilities during Guerrero’s tenure. But in recent years, the Bruins have underwhelmed in men’s basketball and football.
UCLA has one of the most storied men’s basketball programs in NCAA history but has not made it beyond the Sweet 16 since 2008. The school fired Steve Alford early in the 2018-19 season and Guerrero led a winding search that ultimately yielded Mick Cronin from Cincinnati.
In football, the program sputtered under the leadership of Jim Mora Jr., who was fired before the conclusion of the 2017 season. Soon after, Guerrero hired Chip Kelly to run the program. But Kelly’s success from his time Oregon has not materialized at UCLA thus far. The Bruins went 3-9 in his first season and are off to an 0-3 start so far in 2019 while averaging just 14 points per game.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Terry Tumey, currently the AD at Fresno State, is “widely considered a strong candidate” to follow Guerrero at UCLA. Like Guerrero, Tumey is a UCLA alum. Tumey was an offensive lineman for the Bruins from 1984-1987 and later was an assistant coach for the program.
UCLA will join USC as a school looking for a new athletic director. USC announced last week that Lynn Swann had stepped down from his position after a scandal-plagued three-year stint.
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