UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero will retire July 1, 2020, at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year, it was announced today by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. Guerrero has led the Bruins for 17 years, making him the second-longest-tenured sitting athletic director in the Power Five.
A national search for UCLA’s next director of athletics will be conducted by a professional search firm to be identified this fall. Although Guerrero’s contract was set to expire in December, he agreed to remain in the post until the end of the upcoming academic year, at Chancellor Block’s request, in order to maintain continuity in the program during the year and to allow adequate time to identify a replacement.
“Today is bittersweet for me and for my family, as UCLA has been a part of my life for more than 50 years,” said Guerrero. “It truly has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this world-class university and, more importantly, to befriend so many incredible Bruins along the way. I am so grateful to Chancellors Carnesale, Abrams and Block for their confidence in my leadership and incredible partnerships over the years, and to the many student-athletes, coaches and colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of working.
Two significant changes in my life over the past 18 months led me to this decision after much consideration and discussion with my family and the Chancellor. First, though it was not widely known, I successfully battled the toughest opponent I have ever had to face in my life: cancer. The world-class medical team at UCLA, however, helped me beat the disease and my prognosis for the future is excellent. Second, my wife and I recently welcomed our second granddaughter, and spending time with our growing family is incredibly important to me. For these reasons, it is time for me to step aside and for UCLA Athletics to flourish under new leadership while I focus on my health and on my family. In the remaining year ahead, we still have a great deal of work to do and championships to win, and I look forward to every minute of it.”
The Bruins have won 32 NCAA team championships in 15 different sports during Guerrero’s tenure – the most under any sitting NCAA Division I athletic director – and he was at the department’s helm when UCLA Athletics became the first to win 100 NCAA team championships. The Bruins’ current total of 118 NCAA titles ranks second in the nation. Seven of Guerrero’s head coaching hires have led their teams to NCAA championships, and UCLA teams have also finished second 29 times and have totaled 130 Top 5 NCAA finishes since he was hired. During Guerrero’s tenure, the athletics department has won 73 conference championships in 16 different sports, produced more than 800 All-Americans and featured 11 Honda Award winners, including the 2003-04 and the 2018-19 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. In his 17 years at UCLA, the Bruins have finished second five times and third four times in the race for the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, the industry standard measurement of broad-based excellence. In 2017-18, UCLA recorded a school-record 1,326 points in a close runner-up finish for the Directors’ Cup. During his tenure, the football team has appeared in 13 bowl games, while the men’s basketball team advanced to consecutive Final Fours from 2006-08 and has made six trips to the Sweet 16.
“I appreciate Dan’s dedication to our campus, fans, and student-athletes throughout his career at UCLA,” Block said. “A proud alumnus, Dan has helped lead our teams to numerous victories, while also demonstrating a commitment to advancing women’s opportunities in athletics, maintaining high academic standards for student–athletes, and keeping UCLA programs in compliance with NCAA and other requirements. He has also overseen the construction of new facilities and upgrades to existing ones for the benefit of our student-athletes and our fans.”
Guerrero was the first athletic director at the NCAA Division I level (FBS, FCS and NCAA Division I-AAA) to earn three NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year awards (2013-14 and 2006-07 at UCLA, 2001-02 at UC Irvine). In 2017, he was honored by the National Football Foundation with the John L. Toner Award, becoming the first-ever sitting athletics director from the West Coast to receive the honor. He was also selected as a finalist for the Athletic Director of the Year at both the 2010 and 2017 Sports Business Awards. During his tenure, Guerrero was named one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated (2003) and one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine (2004). Among Guerrero’s various other accolades are: being named the Dr. Myles Brand BCA Administrator of the Year by the Black Coaches and Administrators organization (2010), the Cliff Wells Appreciation Award given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 2011, and the 2010 NACDA John McLendon Pioneer Award honoring minority “firsts” as the first Hispanic to ever Chair the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball committee.
UCLA’s academic accomplishments under Guerrero are equally noteworthy. UCLA student-athletes, in an extremely rigorous academic environment, have achieved unprecedented success in the classroom. The UCLA student-athlete Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is currently at an all-time high 90%, while the Academic Progress Rates (APR) remain among the tops in the country.
Nationally, Guerrero’s record of service in civic engagement, as well as to the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics, has been extensive. Guerrero is one of few individuals to have served as the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the Division I Athletic Directors Association (Lead1) and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Over the course of his career, he has significant experience in committee work at both the NCAA and conference levels, having chaired a number of committees along the way. Currently, he serves on the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, which he chaired the previous two years, and he also recently chaired an NCAA Working Group on behalf of the Division I Men’s Basketball Rice Commission. Guerrero has been a member of the Rose Bowl Management Committee for 17 years. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA, the Southern California Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The NACDA John McLendon Foundation and the United States International University Sports Federation, where he will begin serving his term as president in July of 2020. As the Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee in 2009-10, he was involved with the negotiation of the new $10.8 billion, 14-year NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament television package, as well as the decision to expand the Tournament to 68 teams.
In addition to athletic and academic success, resource development has been a core tenet of Guerrero’s tenure. During this recent UCLA Centennial Campaign (2014-18), Guerrero and his external development team have raised in excess of $300 million, to date, in fundraising support to the program. More dollars have been raised for UCLA Athletics during his tenure than any other time in history. He has grown the athletics department budget from $42 million in 2002 to more than $130 million currently, in large part thanks to securing major long-term apparel and rightsholder contracts with Under Armour and WME-IMG College that, at the time of their signing, were the largest collegiate deals nationally in their respective areas. Guerrero also led the negotiations that solidified the relationship between UCLA and the Rose Bowl, resulting in more than $180 million in renovations and restoration to the home of UCLA Football. During his tenure, he has spearheaded in excess of $430 million in facilities upgrades, including the renovation of the historic Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and the building of the Wasserman Football Center and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center.
Guerrero came to UCLA from UC Irvine, where he had served as UCI’s fifth permanent Director of Athletics for 10 years (1992-2002), helping to elevate that program to unprecedented success. Prior to arriving at UCI, Guerrero worked at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he led that program to national prominence while serving as athletic director for five years (1988-92).
A proud alumnus of UCLA, Guerrero received his Bachelor’s degree from the University in 1974 and played second base for the Bruins for four years. Known as “Warrior” during his playing career, he was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. The Bruin Athletic Director earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 1982 from Cal State Dominguez Hills and was named to the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Public Policy that same year.