Rick Neuheisel is coming back to UCLA — this time as head coach.
Neuheisel, who quarterbacked the Bruins to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl and later served as an assistant under Terry Donahue, was hired Saturday as his alma mater’s 16th coach.
Neuheisel spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, who finish the season Sunday against Pittsburgh. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005-06, and was promoted to offensive coordinator last January.
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.
Neuheisel began his road back to coaching in the fall of that year as a volunteer assistant coaching quarterbacks at Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School.
Neuheisel’s resume also includes the San Diego Chargers’ single game passing percentage mark of .818 (18 for 22), compiled in a October 11, 1987 game against Tampa Bay. Since Neuheisel’s achievement occurred during the NFLPA’s strike of that autumn, it’s probably not something he considers a career highlight.