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Two-Year Extension for Dorrell

After turning down a rollover last year, UCLA coach agrees to contract through 2010 season.

December 18, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

UCLA football Coach Karl Dorrell, who less than a year ago declined a one-year contract rollover, agreed Friday to a two-year extension, running through the 2010 season.

"The progress the program has made under Karl's leadership is clearly evident," Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "He has built a solid foundation for the program and we expect the next several years to be very successful ones for the UCLA football program."

Dorrell, who has a 12-12 record in two seasons with the Bruins, reportedly makes $600,000 a year.

The Bruins, who finished the regular season 6-5, will play Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday.

Dorrell said it was nice to see progress in the program. The Bruins were picked to finish eighth in the Pacific 10 Conference this season.

"It takes a great deal of patience and perseverance before you start seeing the fruits of your labor," Dorrell said. "We're starting to get ourselves out of the clouds and we're starting to see the reason why we do things a certain way."

Dorrell felt much different after last season. The Bruins finished 6-7, losing their last five games, and Dorrell said no to the normally automatic rollover, explaining that he'd failed to do his job properly.

"In my mind, we did not accomplish enough of our goals," Dorrell said in February.

Now, the Bruins believe they are on the rise after finishing 4-4, tying for fifth in the Pac-10, and playing tough in a 29-24 loss to top-ranked USC in the regular-season finale.

"Although we lost our last game, we received some national recognition and people are starting to believe what we as players have believed in and that's in Coach Dorrell," linebacker Benjamin Lorier said. "He has all of us really excited about playing."

Dorrell's ability to get his team to bounce back has been a key this season.

The Bruins were a deflated team when they were defeated, 31-20, by Oklahoma State in their season opener Sept. 4. But Dorrell and his staff got UCLA to win the next four games, highlighted by Maurice Drew's record-setting rushing day against Washington.

After a loss at California on Oct. 16, the team's character was tested again the next week when the Bruins blew a two-score fourth-quarter lead and lost at Arizona State, falling to 4-3.

UCLA responded with a 21-0 victory over Stanford but then suffered a home loss to Washington State on Nov. 6. Then, in the Bruins' final two games, a victory at Oregon and the loss to USC, Dorrell's team stepped up again.

"He's grown more and more comfortable with the job," linebacker Justin London said. "This is his first head coaching job and you can see his love for this football team."

Said Dorrell: "We're in the top end of the conference this year and that's what I predicted on media day. Our goal is to ultimately be the best in the conference.

"We're making strides in that direction and I do not think it's going to be long before we get exactly what we want. Is that next year? Who knows? That's our goal and there's no doubt we'll be pushing to be the best in the conference next year."

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