All those folks (there must be maybe three or four beyond his immediate family) fretting about the misfortunes of Rick Neuheisel should be mollified by the idea that the golden bad boy of college football probably will end up just fine.
Neuweasel, of course, was dispatched Monday as head mentor at UCLA. Yes, Skippy will still be on the sidelines Friday, watching (if not exactly coaching) his team to defeat by a margin odds-makers generously predict at just 31½ points against Oregon in what some actually call a conference-championship game.
Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess as to what Neu will do. Some ideas:
He could, of course, coach again. If he took a college job, he could be pretty sure that the experience would end (no doubt badly) after four seasons, which is precisely how long he lasted at each of his stints at Colorado, Washington, and UCLA.
There could be a place for him in the pros, where he worked as quarterback coach, then offense-coordinator, for the Baltimore Ravens. One will recall that his pro experience did not extend to the head job with the San Francisco 49ers, a gig for which he auditioned, lying about the bid to then Husky athletic director Barbara Hedges.
But there are other options. The perennial boy wonder actually turned 50 earlier this year, somehow looking no older than 49½ even with the wrinkles from grimacing through a 21-28 record coaching his alma mater.
Maybe he could follow the example of fellow former quarterback and golf aficionado John Brodie and join the pro Champions Tour. The Wease grew up from age seven at a house along an Arizona golf course. Unfortunately, he’s said to sport no better than a three handicap, meaning he’d probably struggle mightily against the likes of Fred Couples, the Seattle native who has become a star of the senior tour. Indeed, a few weeks of missing cuts at tour events might actually have Neu pining for that Nov. 26, 2011, night in L.A. when the Bruins lost 50-0 to USC.
A top-notch skier, Tricky Rick could retire (he must be worth many millions) to an exclusive winter resort. The Skipster first became identified as a model for young, seemingly hip, college coaches by escorting his University of Colorado players on a mountain recreational pursuit. Sometimes the Renaissance man would even sing and play guitar for his (apparently easily entertained) minions, meaning a shot at “American Idol” isn’t out of the question.
Or, come to think, how ‘bout “Dancing With the Stars”? Even were he to fall behind in the competition, who’s better than Neu at waltzing away from adversity? His deft footwork probably was best exemplified when he two-stepped out of court in 2005 with both a $4.5 million settlement with the UW and NCAA and forgiveness of payback of a million-dollar loan.
In fact, speaking of legal matters, law could be the best new-career shot for the guy who always seems to win even when he loses. It’s instructive to note, for example, that he earned his J.D. degree at USC. That being the case, the one-time Trojan could, if he wanted, smile while sporting the Bruin blue and gold in the aftermath of last week’s ignominious loss to Southern Cal and shout with impunity: “Hey, ‘we’ just beat UCLA, 50 to nothin’!”