Former NCAA coach Neuheisel named newest coach of NFL rival league


We don’t know what the quality of the Alliance of American Football will be when the fledgling league kicks off next February.

We can be sure, however, that the sidelines will be colorful.

Rick Neuheisel will coach the Phoenix team, joining Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Mike Singletary (Memphis), Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake City) and Brad Childress (Atlanta), whose offensive coordinator is Michael Vick.

The outspoken former coach at Colorado, Washington and UCLA has had a checkered career on and off the field.

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Neuheisel was fired from the Huskies for playing an NCAA basketball bracket pool. He sued the school and the NCAA, and ended up with a $4.5 million settlement.

After working in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, he was hired at his alma mater, UCLA, in 2007.

Besides a dismal 21-29 record, part of the reason he was canned was because of his constant talk that the Bruins had closed the gap on USC — when indeed they hadn’t.

Even last year, while working as a college football analyst, Neuheisel wasn’t able to keep his foot out of his mouth, apparently trying to show everyone else how smart he is.

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When the University of Miami canceled its football game with Arkansas State because of Hurricane Irma, there was Neuheisel, questioning the school’s motives and suggesting the Hurricanes were afraid to play the Red Wolves.

“I get it, but this is suspicious. You don’t want to play the game, and they’re not making it up … to just say you’re not playing, especially when it’s not in Miami,” he said. “If the Miami Dolphins were on the road this week, they’d be playing in the NFL. … I understand safety, and I’m going to defer to the calmer and wiser heads that know the path of Irma, but this to me looked like you didn’t want to play the game.”

In all, Neuheisel was 87-58 as a college head coach, and he now returns to his home state of Arizona, perhaps as a new man.

“I’m really, really proud to represent my hometown here with this new alliance,” he said during his introductory press conference. “This is homegrown stuff, and I think that’s the idea behind this league. We’re thrilled. Looking forward to the challenge. Unbelievable amount of work to be done, but [where] better than to do it right here in the Valley of the Sun?”

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The AAF kicks off Feb. 9, 2019, and will play a 10-week regular season.

The league will feature two playoff rounds, and a championship game to be played in late April.

Neuheisel’s team is still unnamed, but it will play its games at Sun Devil Stadium, the home of Arizona State University.

Hopefully, the games will be entertaining, just like we can be sure the postgame news conferences will be.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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