UCLA AD Dan Guerrero’s Press Conference: What He Said Vs. What He Meant

On Tuesday afternoon, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero gave one of the most extraordinarily tone-deaf and obtuse press conferences in living memory in an ultimately failed attempt to put the issue of Steve Alford’s continued employment as UCLA men’s basketball head coach to bed once and for all.

For your viewing pleasure, we will attempt to break down select excerpts and translate some of what Guerrero lied about said into what he actually meant during his press conference earlier today:

(FYI, this is a completely satirical post; if you do not agree with it, learn to laugh.)

RELATED: UCLA Basketball’s Steve Alford Pens Letter To Fans

What he said…

“It’s been an interesting time here at UCLA over the last few months. Lot of great things that are happening with the program, with [the] Wasserman and Ostin [Centers] being built. Certainly the gymnastics team winning the conference championship is huge. The women’s basketball team’s success is obviously very important to the university, very important to the program. We had a very rough men’s basketball season, as you well know. And so we’re still dealing with the aftermath of that. […] With that, I’ll just open it up to the floor.”

What he meant…

-Ask your questions, peons. Get it over with so I can get to my previously scheduled meeting with my sommelier.

Question: When [Alford] talks about earning his extension back in his letter, is there a chance that happens pending what happens this upcoming season?

What he said…

“The decision itself to come to me and say that this was something he wanted to do was not an insignificant decision by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know if it’s unprecedented, but it probably hasn’t happened a lot. In terms of his commitment to the program, by making that decision, he was basically saying, ‘I’m committed to this program, and I’m committed to making this program successful. And would like to be able to earn that year back.’ To me, that sends a big message. That sends a big message to not only me, but to the fanbase. That, you know what, this year wasn’t acceptable. And everyone needs to get better.”

What he meant…

-Damnit, Steve, I’m trying to keep you employed until I retire so I can enjoy my obscenely high salary in peace and quiet. Stop messing with my chill, Alf! And the jerk who found out that what I said was unprecedented actually wasn’t unprecedented clearly doesn’t love Jackie Robinson as much as I did.

Question: There was a petition circling, there were the banners flying overhead. Did that have any pressure in terms of Steve making this decision?

What he said…

“I don’t know if that had any pressure. Certainly, it was very clear that the fanbase was not happy with the season. There was major disappointment with the season. But it wasn’t just with the fanbase. There was disappointment all the way around. I was disappointed. Steve was disappointed. The coaches were disappointed. The players were disappointed. There was disappointment that pretty much went across the board. […] Was there sort of a push from the fanbase? I wouldn’t necessarily say that. But I do know that, across the board, people were not pleased with the season that we had — including us.”

What he meant…

-Hah! You think I give a damn what the fans think? You think Steve Alford would still be coaching this team if I considered what the fans think? Lulz bro.

Question: Were you surprised, not necessarily by the level of frustration from fans, but how demonstrative they were? Especially with the planes and the banners?

What he said…

“It’s a byproduct of where we are in today’s society, with social media, the ability through Facebook or Twitter, or through various websites or things of that nature. To galvanize, if you will, is perhaps much more convenient, much easier than it’s ever been before. They took that opportunity to do that. They took those platforms to do that. It’s not surprising. Honestly, I wish that they hadn’t done that, in that I would rather have those individuals, down the road, spend their money on supporting this program, buying season tickets. Maybe donating to the basketball program, than buying planes with banners. Now, bottom line is, we have to earn their trust back. You do that by putting a great product on the floor, and winning.”

What he meant…

-I would have gotten away with coasting on my laurels if it wasn’t for these meddling kids with their newfangled mobile phones and electronic mail conspiring against me. Instead of being pissed off at substandard performance in UCLA’s signature athletic program and demanding that I be proactive and intelligent in doing my job, why don’t you make a donation to my new church, Our Lady of the Give Dan More Tax-Exempt Money to Waste on Bullsh*t?

Question: The difficulty of running an athletic department is you have to balance a lot of different constituencies. Should fans have any input on personnel?

What he said…

“First of all, you need to listen to your fans. Anyone worth their salt are going to listen to their fans. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you always agree with them. […] So when you make decisions, you’re not always going to appease everyone across the board. You’d love to. And certainly, when you talk about everyone in the UCLA family, whether there’s a polarization that exists or not, the bottom line is that everyone loves UCLA. And you would want that to be the common denominator — even if people don’t always agree with a decision that’s made.”

What he meant…

-I’ve treated the fans with arrogance and contempt for my entire tenure and haphazardly dealt with their justifiable complaints about how bad I am at my job for over a decade… what do you think I think about fan input?!

Question: What would you say to the fans that are still calling for Steve Alford to be fired?

What he said…

“I believe that those that want a coaching change are not going to be happy no matter what I say. I believe that others who may be disappointed in the season will understand what UCLA’s all about. We’re not all about a coaching carousel every two or three years. We’re about building a program and doing our best to build our program the right way. There are very few coaches around the country that, in their first two years, at any place, will go to two Sweet 16s.”

What he meant…

-These malcontents that want us to beat an actual Power 5 team in the tournament, win the conference, recruit LA beyond being spoon-fed kids by a single family and AAU program, play defense, show consistency, intensity, and effort on the court – screw them! Who cares if the program is hitting a dead end and is clearly in need of profound change? I’M TERRIBLE AT HIRING COACHES (AND MY JOB IN GENERAL) AND NEVER WANT TO DO IT AGAIN BEFORE I RETIRE WE DO THINGS THE NEBULOUSLY DEFINED “RIGHT WAY” AT UCLA! SWEET 16s (THAT WE WERE INCREDIBLY LUCKY TO MAKE) 4 LYF!

What he said…

“We had a subpar year. There’s no question about that. But that was one year. We have experience coming back.”

What he meant…

-That is, if those players don’t transfer.

What he said…

“We have a really good recruiting class coming in that this coaching staff recruited. Those student-athletes want to come to UCLA, and they want to play for this coaching staff.”

What he meant…

-Highly-rated freshman classes at LSU and Cal are overcoming subpar coaching to put those teams in position to reach the Final Four. Why can’t that happen at UCLA?!

What he said…

“My hope is that some Bruin fans out there that are on the fence will get that, and they’ll say, ‘You know what, you’re right. That isn’t what UCLA’s all about.’ Case in point: We just won in gymnastics, the Pac-12 gymnastics meet. A person falls off the beam. They learn from that experience. You evaluate why that happened. And you get them right back up on that beam so they can compete again. You’ve got a closer at a baseball game that blows a save. You sit down with the coaches, you evaluate why that happened, and maybe a different approach on how you deal with it the next time you get out there. But that coach puts that closer out there again the next time.”

What he meant…

-Let me spout some gibberish about non-revenue sports that 98% of the fanbase doesn’t follow and see if that doesn’t get these jerks with moderate expectations off my back.

Question: Is there another instance of that type of buyout [similar to Alford’s]? At the time, I think it was, if not unprecedented, then at least very rare to have that size of a buyout on both sides.

What he said…

“I don’t know. I don’t know about other contracts.”

What he meant…

-Wait, you expect me to keep my finger on the pulse of my industry and use common sense based on its standards? That sounds like actual work. I’d never do such a thing.

Question: How do you gauge what’s an acceptable or a successful season next year?

What he said…

“Well, when you look at your 25 sports across the board, every one of our sports is competing for championships. That’s the expectation. And sometimes you fall short, and sometimes you’re successful. And when I say competing for championships, you want to be able to compete for a Pac-12 championship, because if you do that, then you’ll get a pretty darn good seed in the NCAA tournament, and that gives you a better opportunity to advance. Now, there’s no guarantees of that. Look at this tournament. I mean gosh, high seeds are being knocked off. A lot of it has to do with matchups and how you play on one particular day. A single-elimination tournament, anything can happen. But our goals across the board in all of our sports is to try to compete for national championship every year. Excuse me, conference championships every year, because that sets the table for moving on.”

What he meant…

-MUST. MANAGE. EXPECTATIONS. MUST. PRESERVE. PENSION. The more I lower the bar, the more I can make these fans stop caring and leave me alone to do the important parts of my job. Like wine tasting. Did anyone notice that the basketball coach I’m defending hasn’t come close to meeting even the lowered expectations I have for him? No? Ok, good. Back to the Pinot.

Question: Do you anticipate any changes within the basketball coaching staff other than at the top?

What he said…

“I really don’t. In fact, Steve was very adamant about retaining his existing coaches. He believes that these are the individuals that can help us get to where we need to get, and so there won’t be any changes.”

What he meant…

-Steve was very clear that he needed this staff of yes-men in order to showcase Bryce regardless of what impact it had on the product on the court or the culture of the program.

Question: Expenditures on recruiting and on travel for the players to go to games and for coaches, how do you feel those compare with schools that are similar across the nation?

What he said…

“From a recruitment standpoint, we really don’t put a whole lot of restrictions on our coaches in terms of who they should recruit or where they should recruit, and that’s pretty much across the board. Our recruiting philosophies are generally to try to recruit the very best you can locally and in Southern California, because if you’re successful, you immediately have a fanbase and a support base that will come and see games.”

What he meant…

-Good thing adidas-sponsored AAU power Compton Magic started funneling some local talent our way or else Steve might have inexplicably went national with his recruiting, let USC reel in a bunch of the good local players who badly wanted to come to UCLA, and had them bite us in the ass all over again.

Question: Basketball attendance has decreased a little bit — do you see that as a concerning trend or an anomaly?

What he said…

“It’s a national trend. When you look at basketball attendance across the board throughout the country it’s going down. With that being said, it’s going down at UCLA but there are a lot of factors for it. We may be selling a lot of tickets, but we might not be getting a lot of fans in the seats. A lot of it has to do with an opponent you may be playing, maybe it has to do with game start times. Midweek games at 6 o’clock or 9 o’clock are not conducive to getting a lot of fans here. You’ve got the traffic dynamic that comes into play. In Los Angeles you’ve got to be relevant for people to go to your games. I’m not just talking about UCLA basketball or UCLA football — I’m talking about Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers, and everyone else. The Rams are going to find that out.”

What he meant…

-If I make a bunch of excuses that don’t address the product on the court in the slightest, can I make people think our poorly-drilled team, awful results, and disengaged coach have nothing to do with fans abandoning us in droves?

Question: This is looking ahead, but your contract expires at the end of 2019. Have you given much thought to your future with the program, how long you want to stay and how much you want to accomplish?

What he said…

“Well, the reason why my contract expires at the end of 2019 is that it’s synonymous with the end of the $4.2 billion centennial campaign and I pledged to move this program forward such that we would accomplish the objective of raising the $265 or $270 million that is our charge towards that initiative. I believe we’re going to surpass that, which is something I would really like to do. Certainly there are a number of things we have planned that are important to me — completing the two facilities; the next project is the academic center that we would like to build. We haven’t hit the streets with that yet but that’s what we would like to do next.”

What he meant…

-If I mention a bunch of administrative stuff about building facilities, then maybe people won’t realize I mentioned nothing about building winning programs. Set those expectations too high and people might start thinking they should see positive results or something absurd like that.