By Kevin Hampton
Tim Hundley has been looking forward to this road trip with the UCLA football team.
Hundley coaches the safeties for the Bruins and will spend Saturday afternoon working with the players in their attempt at taking a win over Oregon State at Reser Stadium.
It is a work trip for Hundley, but it's also an opportunity to return to his old stomping grounds after some time in Texas.
Hundley was born in Portland and got his undergraduate degree at Western Oregon. He got into coaching after his college football career and eventually landed a spot on Joe Avezzano's staff at Oregon State. Hundley was promoted to defensive coordinator going into Avezzano's final season with the Beavers and stayed on when Dave Kragthorpe was hired.
He worked alongside coaches such as Brady Hoke and Nick Aliotti during his eight years at OSU.
"It's a tremendous conference and just being in it you better get yourself ready to go," Hundley said. "There's just a lot to learn every year. You've got to keep working at the game and expanding your knowledge."
The Beavers did not have a winning season, but Hundley said the team improved during that time and Kragthorpe was named the Pacific-10 Conference coach of the year in 1989 after leading the Beavers to a 4-7-1 season.
"The guy was working hard to get things turned around," Hundley said.
His sons Jake and Nick were born in Corvallis during the stretch at OSU.
After the 1989 season, Hundley found a spot on the UCLA staff as an inside linebackers coach and eventually coached the Bruins' special teams. He stayed there from 1990 to 95 before leaving for Colorado to coach on Rick Neuheisel's staff and then Hundley found his way back to the Northwest to the University of Washington and served as defensive coordinator under Neuheisel.
Through the years, Hundley has been able to watch the OSU football program develop into a perennial Pac-10 contender that produces bowl teams on a regular basis.
He said the facilities are vastly improved and there's an obvious excitement around the program.
"There's just tremendous support for what they're doing. It's a neat progression," he said. "I think Oregon State fans should be very proud of the things that have been happening there. They've got a consistent winner and they've got a head coach who can get it done."
The rise of the OSU football program doesn't exactly make Hundley's job any easier. He recruits the Pacific Northwest for the Bruins.
He's made many friends in Oregon and Washington through the years. Hundley is more likely to get a straight answer about a player because he knows who to ask.
"I still have a lot of friends in that area and a lot of coaches I know," he said. "It's basically a game of associations."
This trip to Corvallis will be one of the rare times Hundley has been able to get to the area since working as the University of Texas-El Paso defensive coordinator from 2004-07 and last season with Southern Methodist.
He'll have plenty of friends at the game, although most will be wearing OSU colors.
"So it will be great to hear from people I haven't seen in a while," he said. "I love the fact that I'm an Oregonian and I spent a lot of years in the Northwest."
Now Hundley's back with Neuheisel and back at UCLA.
Hundley has been able to work with a lot of coaches through the years. He said he's mellowed through the seasons and has a little more patience now.
He said there's nothing much better than a Saturday.
"I've been really fortunate in that regard," he said. "I've been with some great coaches and I've really enjoyed this game. It's a neat thing to do. It's really special."