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Spring 2003
First & Goal
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Foremost on Dorrell’s immediate list of goals is to reestablish the tradition and integrity of UCLA football. “I understand what it takes to play UCLA football,” he says. “I’m going to be a grassroots kind of coach, very hands-on. I’m going to believe in my players, and they’re going to believe in me.”

How Dorrell approaches the achievement of his goals will be just as important as what he produces, says Athletic Director Dan Guerrero ’74. “Everyone with whom I spoke holds Karl in high regard in the areas of leadership, coaching, relating to players, recruiting, the media and alumni. Karl is a man of high principles who can rebuild UCLA football to the elite level.”

Says Chancellor Albert Carnesale of UCLA’s new head coach: “There’s a sense of quiet maturity, poise and leadership that he possesses. You can spot passion without him jumping up and down.”

Dorrell wants to create a family atmosphere at UCLA, much like the one he enjoyed growing up in San Diego as the youngest of seven children. He always was active in athletics — baseball was his best sport (he was drafted by the Houston Astros) and basketball was his favorite (“I’m a frustrated power forward in a 6-foot body”), but it was the thrill of making big plays in front of big crowds on Saturdays that really got his adrenaline pumping.

“UCLA was an eye-opening experience,” he says of his first visit to the campus. “I had a certain feeling that this was a special place. And seeing the caliber of athlete here and thinking about the chance to be among them was such a high point, I just wanted to be a part of it.”

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