UCLA hires former RB DeShaun Foster as head coach replacing Chip Kelly

Feb 12, 2024, 10:43 AM

DeShaun Foster...

UCLA running back DeShaun Foster #26 runs for his second touchdown of the first quarter versus the University of Washington in their game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on October 13, 2001. UCLA won 35-13. (Stephen Dunn/ALLSPORT)

(Stephen Dunn/ALLSPORT)

DeShaun Foster was named the next head coach at UCLA, the school announced on Monday.

Foster will replace Chip Kelly, who left UCLA after six seasons to become an offensive coordinator at Ohio State on Friday.

Arizona football head coach Brent Brennan, a UCLA receiver from 1991-95, was not part of the interview process for the Bruins, the Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev reported.

Foster, a former Bruin running back himself, has been the program’s running back coach since 2017. He also served as associate head coach in 2023.

Foster had taken a job as the Las Vegas Raiders’ running backs coach in recent weeks. However, after Kelly’s departure, he came out on top of UCLA’s coaching search that included 11 candidates, with some sitting head coaches taking part, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

“While undergoing a comprehensive search for our new head coach, DeShaun resonated from the start and throughout the whole process,” athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a release. “We are looking for a coach with integrity, energy, and passion; someone who is a great teacher, who develops young men, is a great recruiter, and fully embraces the NIL landscape to help our student-athletes. DeShaun checks all of those boxes and then some. He is a leader of men and a true Bruin. I am excited to partner with him as we usher UCLA Football into an exciting new era.”

Foster is in the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame after becoming one of the program’s most decorated running backs.

He is second in touchdowns scored (44) and third in rushing yards (3,194) all-time for the Bruins. He played seven seasons in the NFL, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

“This is a dream come true,” Foster said in a release. “I always envisioned being a Bruin ever since I was young, and now being the head coach at my alma mater is such a surreal feeling, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. The foundation of this program will be built on discipline, respect and enthusiasm. These are phenomenal young men, and I’m excited to hit the ground running.”

UCLA posted three consecutive top-20 finishes nationally in rushing offense under Foster.

He’s consistently produced NFL tailbacks such as Seattle Seahawk Zach Charbonnet and Los Angeles Charger Joshua Kelley. Foster has worked under names such as Jim L. Mora (UCLA, 2012-17), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech, 2016), and, most recently, Kelly (UCLA, 2017-23).

Kingsbury was expected to be hired for the Raiders’ offensive coordinator job on Feb. 3. The contract talks between him and Las Vegas proceeded to break down, and he accepted the same position with the Washington Commanders a day later on Feb. 4.

Foster will guide the Bruins into their first season in the Big Ten conference after three straight winning seasons.

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