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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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January 7, 2008 12:32 PM

Neuheisel on KJR

Posted by Bob Condotta


Former UW coach, and current UCLA coach, Rick Neuheisel was a guest on the Dave "Softy'' Mahler show earlier today.

I'm assuming you'll be able to get the full thing here in a little while at SoftyCentral.com.

But I'll also pass along a few highlights.

--- Asked if he was a different person now than in 2002, Neuheisel said "there are some things I did in my past that I don't need to do again, no question. You don't need to take short cuts.'' Neuheisel said he was referring specifically to recruiting and that "we just need to make sure we do it exactly the right way and maybe be a little less hasty in the things we tried to get done and create the splash that we tried to create.''

--- In what might have been his most revealing comment about what happened on the field at UW, Neuheisel implied that he didn't ask enough of his players, especially during the recruiting process. "If I was negligent at all. I probably didn't articulate the cost of membership in this group as much as I should have. I was probably more excited in them joining the club or the school than in telling you 'okay, this is what you owe to be part of it.'''

--- Along the same lines, he admitted that when he first became a coach at age 33 at Colorado he tried to be closer to the players than he is likely to be now. "I'm going to be who I am,'' he said. "But as I get older, there is going to be more separation between myself and the players. I got my first chance to do this at age 33 and there wasn't as much separation.''

--- On his overall memories of UW he said "I don't regret my time in Washington. I believe there was a lot we got done and believe we had a good amount of success. Maybe not as much as we would have liked, but there were some things we can look back on with a great deal of pride.'' He mentioned winning some games and having the second-best graduation rate in the Pac-10 only to Stanford at the time he left.

--- Neuheisel said he would "agree wholeheartedly'' that the "49er thing was a tremendous mistake on my part and one I will forever be sorry for.'' That's when he lied about interviewing with the 49ers for a job in February of 2003. "There is no excuse for not being forthright. .... It was wrong and Washington and myself deserved better. It was a bad mistake.''

--- Neuheisel was less apologetic about the events that got him fired at UW, but said he has "been able to make peace with many of the people at the NCAA and tried to keep this thing as unpersonal as it could be so that no one went away feeling there were terrible people involved.'' Neuheisel said there were "a lot of things'' that never became public but said he didn't want to get into any of that saying "it's water under the bridge.... I'm just glad it's behind me.''

--- Asked what kind of reaction he expects to get when UCLA comes to UW next November, he laughed and compared it to going back to Colorado in 2000 with the Huskies. That, he said, "was spirited, passionate, and I'm anticipating the same. But I'll say the same thing today that I said at that time, that it's not about me, it's about two great universities competing and we'll come up there and we'll try to do our best.''

--- Asked if he knew who turned him in to the NCAA, Neuheisel said "I thought about it incessantly. I have no idea. And I've kind of let that time go. I told you there were times when I didn't know if I'd get a chance to do it again, times where I dealt with a lot of bitterness and did a lot of self-introspection, and how I could I do better. All of that helps you grow. But to worry about things like who it was is just really wasting your time and it doesn't matter now because it's behind me. But it has helped me, hopefully, to become a better person, a better husband, a better dad, and now hopefully a better coach. If anything, the guy did me a favor. I'm hopeful it will turn out that way.''


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