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espn.com-Rick Neuheisel will not return as UCLA football coach next season, but will coach in the Pac-12 title game, the school said Monday.
Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Johnson will take over as interim coach after Friday's title game, while a national search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately, the school announced.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero was expected to hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m. ET at the J.D. Morgan Center on campus.
"I have a great deal of respect for Rick Neuheisel and the manner in which he has run this program," Guerrero said in a prepared statement.
"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," Guerrero said.
The Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) are representing the Pac-12 South in Friday's title game at Oregon (No. 9 BCS, No. 8 AP) because USC, the division champion, is ineligible. The Trojans (No. 9 AP) emphasized that point on Saturday, routing their city rivals 50-0.
Neuheisel said Sunday that winning five conference games and advancing to the Pac-12 championship game should be enough for him to keep his job, even if the Bruins backed in to the conference title game.
"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."
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