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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:01 PM ET, 11/28/2011

Rick Neuheisel fired as UCLA coach


Rick Neuheisel in UCLA’s 50-0 loss to USC on Saturday. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)
Rick Neuheisel has one more game as UCLA’s head coach.

He will coach the Bruins in the Pac-12 title game, but will not return next season, the school announced.

Mike Johnson, the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, will take over as interim coach after the game Friday and then the school will search for Neuheisel’s successor. The school will hold a 5:30 EST press conference.

“I have a great deal of respect for Rick Neuheisel and the manner in which he has run this program,” Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said in a statement (via the Los Angeles Times). “Decisions such as this one do not come without a great deal of heartache. However, it is apparent to me that a move was necessary at this time in order to give UCLA the best chance to enjoy the success that we all desire.”

Although the Bruins are 6-6 and 5-4 in the Pac-12, they will represent the Pac-12 South in the game against Oregon because South Division champion USC is ineligible. On Saturday USC crushed UCLA, 50-0, in the worst conference loss in Bruins history. Neuheisel is 21-28 in four years at the school.

“I was told that we need to move the needle and if the needle moved that we would be fine and I'd get to continue along my five years of my five-year contract,” Neuheisel said. “We have won five conference games as opposed to three last year. We have won the right to represent the South in the conference championship. We've certainly had some unfortunate evenings where things haven't gone our way, but I think the program is headed in the right direction.”

By  |  03:01 PM ET, 11/28/2011

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