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Spring 2003
First & Goal
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Dorrell’s four seasons as a Bruin included Rose Bowl wins in 1983, 1984 and 1986. He left UCLA tied for second in career receptions and fourth in receiving yards. Tom Ramsey ’87 was Dorrell’s quarterback in his freshman year and was impressed with him then, and is even more impressed now.

“From the time he stepped on campus, Karl was a leader by example. He worked hard, applied himself academically, carried himself with confidence, always had the respect of players,” says Ramsey, now a Pac-10 analyst with FOX Sports. “In the huddle he was calm under fire — he had a quiet discipline and pride. He’s exactly like that today.”

After graduating from UCLA, Dorrell played part of the 1987 season with the Dallas Cowboys before landing on the injured reserve. It was UCLA Head Coach Terry Donahue ’67, M.S. ’77, under whom Dorrell played, who convinced him to give coaching a try.

“[Coach Donahue] approached me after my career was over and said, ‘Karl, I think your calling is coaching,’” Dorrell recalls. “I had never really thought of it. ‘Just try it for one spring,’ he said, and I did and that first practice I was hooked. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

That first spring in 1988 was with the Bruins as a graduate assistant. From UCLA he went to Central Florida, then Northern Arizona, Colorado, Arizona State, back to Colorado and Washington before entering the pro ranks with the Broncos. And now Dorrell is back home in Westwood, hungry to reignite a sense of Bruin family.

“We’ve had a lot of great players at UCLA and they need to support us and be excited about what’s going on here, about our future,” he says. “Younger players will see and feel that tradition of winning Rose Bowls and going to the NFL. We want those former players and alumni to be a part of the program.”

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