Head CoachRick Neuheisel has been named the University of Washington's head football coach by director of athletics Barbara Hedges. He formally accepted the offer to take over the Husky program on Saturday, Jan. 9. Neuheisel has served as the head football coach at Colorado for the past four seasons. He becomes the 23rd head football coach at Washington and just the fourth Husky head coach in the past 42 years.
Neuheisel will be paid a base salary of $195,000. The length of his contract is seven years. His total package includes other compensation from the University, including potential postseason earnings, as well as outside compensation from University-related contracts (radio, television and NIKE).
This is the second head coaching position for the 37-year old Neuheisel, who spent seven seasons as an assistant coach prior to securing the Colorado job. He worked six years at his alma mater, UCLA, under his college coach Terry Donahue. Neuheisel was an assistant coach for one season on Bill McCartney's staff in Boulder. He is currently the third youngest coach in the Division I-A ranks.
At Colorado Neuheisel compiled a 33-14 (.702) record and was 3-0 in postseason bowl games. All three of his bowl games were against Pac-10 Conference opponents. He had 20 wins in his first two seasons as a college coach, which tied for the fourth most by a first-time college coach in the Division I-A modern era. Both of those Colorado teams finished in the top-10 of the national polls.
The road that led Neuheisel into coaching was an interesting, if not a unique one. After finishing his college career with a spectacular performance in the 1984 Rose Bowl in which he was named the game's most valuable player, he graduated from UCLA in May, 1984, with a bachelor's degree in political science. Neuheisel had a solid 3.4 grade point average, the highest of all graduating football seniors, and was named Academic all-Pac 10. He won the Jack R. Robinson and Paul I. Wellman awards from the school to honor his academic excellence, and he also earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship as he aspired to attend law school.
He played two seasons (1984,1985), with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League. Following the 1985 USFL season (which was over by the end of summer), he decided to use his NCAA scholarship award and enrolled in law school at Southern California. The following summer, he joined the UCLA staff as a volunteer coach, specifically to tutor Troy Aikman on the UCLA offense. Aikman matured under Neuheisel's tutelage, and the two remain close friends to this day.
In 1987, Neuheisel had a "cup of coffee" in the National Football League. He played three games for the San Diego Chargers (starting two), and still holds a team record to this day for completion percentage in a game (81.8, going 18-of-22 for 217 yards and a touchdown at Tampa Bay). He completed 40-of-59 passes in those three games for 367 yards and one touchdown, and he added another touchdown rushing. Another claim to his short-lived NFL fame is that he is the last player to rush for a one point conversion, running in a muffed PAT attempt at Cincinnati. This is forever a trivia answer, with the NFL now sporting the two-point conversion.
He closed out the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (dressing out for two games, but never getting the chance to play). He wore the same number at Tampa Bay (No. 7) that he wore for San Diego. But the NFL strike that season left him with a bad taste in his mouth for professional football, and he decided to return to the college ranks.
Neuheisel would again return to his alma mater, UCLA, but this time in the capacity of a full-time assistant coach in charge of the quarterbacks, which he would coach for the next two seasons before switching to receivers coach in 1990.
While an assistant at UCLA, Neuheisel continued his studies in his pursuit of a law degree. He graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Law in 1990 with his Juris Doctor degree. He would be sworn into the Arizona State Bar Association in May of 1991, and the Washington, D.C. Bar in March, 1993.
He originally walked on at UCLA as a holder for kicker John Lee, and eventually battled Steve Bono for the starting job by his senior year. He secured the starting job four games into the regular season and quarterbacked the Bruins to the Pacific-10 Conference championship in 1983, earning honorable mention all-Pac 10 honors in the process. He was named the most valuable player in the 1984 Rose Bowl when UCLA beat Illinois, 45-9. In that game, Neuheisel completed 22 of 31 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair to Karl Dorrell, who is now CU's offensive coordinator.
Neuheisel completed 198 of 290 passes for 2,480 yards and 15 touchdowns in his UCLA career, which at the time placed him sixth on the Bruins' all-time passing yards list. He still holds school records in completion percentage for both a single season (69.3 as a senior) and career (68.3). Another school record he still holds, completion percentage in a single game, set an NCAA record at the time: he completed 25 of 27 passes (including 18 straight at one point and for 287 yards overall) against Washington in 1983, a remarkable 92.6 percent.
He graduated from McClintock High School in Tempe, Ariz., in 1979, and was the school's most outstanding athlete his senior year as he lettered in football (quarterback), basketball (guard) and baseball (shortstop, outfield, pitcher). He is a member of McClintock's Hall-of-Fame.
Richard Gerald Neuheisel, Jr., was born on Feb. 7, 1961, in Madison, Wis., where he made his debut as a head coach when CU beat Wisconsin 43-7. He is married to the former Susan Wilkinson, and they have three children, Jerry (6), Jack (3) and Joe (1).
Neuheisel's father, Dick, was one of the original Tempe Diablos, a group which helped the Fiesta Bowl get off the ground, and is president of Sister Cities International, a worldwide good will organization. Rick in one of Dick and Jane's four children; he has three sisters, Nancy, Katie and Deborah. Neuheisel is also an accomplished guitar player, a fairly decent singer (he is a huge country music fan but likes most kinds of music), and his hobbies include skiing, golf and basketball.
Rick Neuheisel At-A-Glance
Year School Att-Comp-Int Pct. Yards TD Att Yds. Avg. TD
1981 UCLA 1-0-0 0.0 0 0 2 -4 -2.0 0
1982 UCLA 22-13-2 59.1 235 2 6 -17 -2.8 0
1983 UCLA 267-185-10 69.3 2245 13 72 -171 -2.4 0
Totals 290-198-12 68.3 2480 15 80 -192 -2.4 0
Year Team Att-Comp-Int Pct. Yards TD Att Yds. Avg. TD
1984 San Antonio 383-211-15 55.1 2542 14 50 221 4.4 1
1985 San Antonio 321-239-25 56.8 3068 18 41 187 4.6 2
1986 San Diego 59-40-1 67.8 367 1 6 41 6.8 1
Totals 290-198-12 68.3 2480 15 80 -192 -2.4 0
Playing Record Passing Rushing Year School Att-Comp-Int Pct. Yards TD Att Yds. Avg. TD 1981 UCLA 1-0-0 0.0 0 0 2 -4 -2.0 0 1982 UCLA 22-13-2 59.1 235 2 6 -17 -2.8 0 1983 UCLA 267-185-10 69.3 2245 13 72 -171 -2.4 0 Totals 290-198-12 68.3 2480 15 80 -192 -2.4 0 Professional Passing Rushing Year Team Att-Comp-Int Pct. Yards TD Att Yds. Avg. TD 1984 San Antonio 383-211-15 55.1 2542 14 50 221 4.4 1 1985 San Antonio 321-239-25 56.8 3068 18 41 187 4.6 2 1986 San Diego 59-40-1 67.8 367 1 6 41 6.8 1 Totals 290-198-12 68.3 2480 15 80 -192 -2.4 0
Full Name: Richard Gerald Neuheisel, Jr.
Coaching:Volunteer Assistant, UCLA, 1986
Assistant, UCLA, 1988-93
Assistant, Colorado, 1994
Date of Birth: Feb. 7, 1961 (Madison, Wis.)
Top Players Coached:All-Americans: QB Troy Aikman (UCLA), WR JJ. Stokes (UCLA), WR Michael Westbrook (UCLA).
Second-team All-Americans: QB Kordell Stewart (Colorado).
All-Big 12 Performers: QB Koy Detmer.
All-Pac-10 Performers: WR Sean LaChapelle.
NFL Players (7): Aikman, Detmer, Vance Joseph, LaChapelle, Stewart, Stokes, Westbrook.
Other: He is a semi-regular participant on the Celebrity Golf Association Tour.