Yes, Los Angeles isn't the best place to be a distance runner or a distance coach. The PAC 12 isn't the best place to try to become a distance power house and southern California schools generally prefer to take advantage of the heat and sun to scrape up sprints, throws and jumps points instead.
USC, the expensive white Republican private college in the rough, low income part of town didn't put $$$ into distance. As a private college, they can admit whomever they want and scholarship whomever they want on the team.
UCLA, the less expensive white Democrat state school that can't budge on their admissions standards (because they are a state school) is in between Beverly Hills and Bel Air, but neither town will let the runners traipse all over any green areas. UCLA has been lucky to have mountain man Forest Braden to coach in the city. The teams have done well under his watch, considering they don't have trails nearby and UCLA has de-emphasized distance (i.e., barely scholarshipped it).
But don't forget how hard it is to do well in distance in the PAC 12. It's a tricky conference. USC dominates the sprints, so they have come along without any distance points. That, too, is impressive.