Exactly one week ago, the USC DAILY TROJAN student newspaper reported that former USC assistant football coach Rocky Seto had accepted an offer to become UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator.
Originally included in that report was a text message attributed to Seto that read: “[I] accepted the position tonight to coordinate at UCLA. Praise the Lord!”
The same day, on Seto’s Facebook page, he received messages from friends who congratulated him on landing the job.
The next day, Feb. 2, Chris Foster of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported a source saying the Seto hire was a “done deal.”
Rocky Seto is expected to be hired as UCLA defensive coordinator.
A UCLA official said Tuesday that no one had been hired, but people close to Seto who were not authorized to speak on the subject said it was a “done deal.”
After a text message was fired off to Seto by LA Times, Seto’s text quote was mysteriously removed from the Daily Trojan story.
Two days later, on Feb. 4, Foster Tweeted that Seto had been offered the job.
Rocky Seto has been offered, but nothing is finalized. Randy Shannon is still in the background.
Then, on Feb. 5, Foster reported the offer from UCLA to Seto had been pulled:
Seto, an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, was offered and accepted the job Tuesday night, but the offer was rescinded the following day, according to the person close to the negotiations. The person said that no reason was given other than UCLA officials decided to go “in another direction.” UCLA officials claimed Saturday that no “official” offer had been made.
This morning, Seto confirmed to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he’d been offered the job by UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, accepted it, then had the offer rescinded. Seto:
“He called, and he was really gracious about it and very flattering. It just wasn’t the right time. What was flattering about it was I really believe he wanted to do it, but the circumstances just wouldn’t allow for it.”
Now let me translate exactly what Seto meant by that quote - and why things happened the way they did.
After Seto himself first leaked the news of his imminent hire to the Daily Trojan, which lead to widespread media coverage, thousands of UCLA football fans at websites like BruinSportsOnline, BruinsNation, BruinGold and BruinZone were enraged and promptly organized a Facebook, Twitter and email campaign directed at the UCLA Athletic Dept. that was themed “Veto Seto.”
To be clear, that anger had nothing to do with how the story of Seto’s hire was disseminated in the media. Nor did it relate to Seto once being affiliated - as an assistant coach - at UCLA rival USC.
It had everything to do with the common knowledge that Seto, who previously served as defensive coordinator under Pete Carroll at USC, held that position in name only. It was Carroll who ran the defense when Seto was credited with being USC’s DC.
After Carroll left USC, Seto not only wasn’t retained in any capacity by new coach Lane Kiffin, his lack of job prospects landed him as Carroll’s lowly “quality control” coach with the Seahawks.
UCLA fans were correct to be upset, and their “Veto Seto” campaign is what ultimately squashed the hire. Fans of major college football programs who find that unfathomable are obviously unaware of just how far Neuheisel’s credibility has fallen at UCLA. It barely registers.
Also understand that many of those involved in the online-initiated pushback were influential UCLA donors and alumni.
Lucky for Neuheisel, Randy Shannon is still available for the job, so naturally the UCLA coach has decided to take a vacation in Mexico.