LOS ANGELES (AP) -UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was fired Monday, a day after the Bruins accepted a bowl bid and two days after a loss to cross-town rival Southern California.
Dorrell was let go despite leading the Bruins to a postseason game in each of his five seasons at UCLA, which had an outside chance to reach the Rose Bowl before its 24-7 defeat by USC over the weekend.
The 43-year-old Dorrell, a former UCLA player who previously had not held a head coaching job, had a 35-27 record.
The Bruins (6-6) will play BYU (10-2) in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said Dorrell will decide whether he wants to coach that game and, if not, defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker will serve as interim coach.
``I hired Karl five years ago in the hopes that this program would grow and prosper under his leadership,'' Guerrero said at a news conference. ``In many ways, it did.
``But after an analysis of the five-year tenure at the helm, and my discussions with him through the season, my discussions with him even yesterday, I felt it was important for us and this program to move forward.''
UCLA had some off-the-field problems when Dorrell took over, and he essentially cleaned up the program. But that success wasn't reflected in the Bruins' won-loss record.
``Certainly the issues of injuries came into play this year,'' Guerrero said, alluding to a string of injuries to quarterbacks and others. ``But the concerns that have plagued us just in a general sense over this period primarily relate to inconsistent play.
``In my mind, it created a scenario that I felt needed to be changed.''
Dorrell's teams had a knack for losing games they should have won, including this year's stunning 44-6 defeat by Utah and a 20-6 loss to Notre Dame.
Guerrero said one reason Dorrell was hired was to ``build this program into a consistent winner, a program that would be in the national discussion on a regular basis.''
While UCLA flirted with national prominence several times with Dorrell at the helm, the Bruins always seemed to stumble into one of their mysterious losses.
That inconsistency, Guerrero said, was a factor in his decision to let Dorrell go.
Dorrell's firing leaves five black coaches at 119 major college programs.
Talk of Dorrell's ouster has been building all year. If the Bruins had made it to the Rose Bowl, it would have been the first time a team with five losses had played in Pasadena.
Boise State's Chris Petersen, Texas Tech's Mike Leach and former NFL coach Steve Mariucci reportedly have been contacted by UCLA about the job, but Guerrero said that wasn't the case.
``Neither UCLA, my office, me directly or through any emissaries or third parties have been out there contacting prospective candidates for this position,'' he said.
``That has not been the case. The decision has been made as of today and we will begin that process, our search for a new coach, imminently.''
Leach, who was in New York, said he has not been contacted by UCLA.
``I'm just worried about getting first downs against Virginia,'' said Leach, referring to his team's Gator Bowl opponent on New Year's Day.
His boss, Tech athletic director Gerald Myers, said he hasn't been contacted.
Expectations were high for Dorrell's 2007 team. The Bruins were ranked in the Top 25 of almost every preseason poll. They were up to No. 11 in The Associated Press poll before losing at Utah on Sept. 15. Then Notre Dame upset them, and the Bruins went on to lose three Pac-10 games.
Dorrell's best season was 2005, when he led UCLA to a 10-2 record, with one of the losses a 66-19 pounding by USC.
``I want to thank Dan Guerrero for the opportunity to coach at my alma mater,'' Dorrell said in a statement. ``I know that the program is in much better shape than when I inherited it and I believe that it is ready to flourish.
``I am proud of what the program accomplished during my five years, especially in the areas of academics, citizenship and recruiting. I will be pulling for all the young men I recruited.''
Dorrell was under contract through 2011, but it included a buyout clause that would pay him $2.05-million over a two-year period.

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