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Now, Question Is, Can Harrick Take the Heat?

April 23, 1988

Let me see if I have this straight:

Walt Hazzard was named Pac-10 coach of the year in 1987 and UCLA unilaterally extended his contract as an expression of its gratitude. This year, the Bruins played a hellacious nonconference schedule (something the Wiz had the good sense never to do) and barely broke even. Hazzard was fired and UCLA will graciously eat the remaining years it placed on his contract.

UCLA embarked on a much ballyhooed nationwide search for a new coach, mentioning about every big name but John Wooden and Red Auerbach. UCLA became a laughingstock after being rejected by all viable candidates in a scene right out of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

UCLA finally hires a guy from down the block with a worse record than Hazzard while playing against much weaker opposition, a guy who in fact failed to win half of his games over the last two years.

MICHAEL N. BELTRAMO

Los Angeles

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