UCLA is tabbing a former Bruin to replace Chip Kelly.
DeShaun Foster will be the school’s next football head coach. ESPN first reported the news, with the football program confirming the report on social media.
The UCLA alum spent the last seven seasons working as the school’s running backs coach, rejoining the program when Kelly was hired ahead of the 2017 season. However, he accepted a role to become the Las Vegas Raiders‘ running backs coach earlier in February, putting a very brief pause on his time in Westwood.
Foster, 44, helped develop the Bruins’ running back room to consistently produce NFL-level talent over the last handful of seasons. The program has had a running back get selected in the NFL Draft in the last four years (Joshua Kelley, Demetric Felton Jr., Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet).
Foster, who also served as the team’s associate head coach last season, replaces Kelly, who was named Ohio State’s offensive coordinator on Friday.
“While undergoing a comprehensive search for our new head coach, DeShaun resonated from the start and throughout the whole process,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a press 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 one of the most decorated running backs in the program’s history. He accomplished major feats right away, rushing for 673 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman in 1998. After dealing with injuries for much of his sophomore season, he rushed for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2000. As a senior, Foster rushed for 1,109 yards and 12 touchdowns while receiving second-team All-American honors.
“This is a dream come true,” Foster said in the press 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.”
Foster played seven seasons in the NFL following his career at UCLA, helping the Carolina Panthers reach the Super Bowl in 2003. He rushed for a 33-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl XXXVIII loss.
Five years after his playing career ended, Foster joined UCLA’s coaching staff as a student and graduate assistant. He served as Texas Tech‘s running backs coach in 2016 before returning to UCLA in 2017.
UCLA has reached the eight-win mark in each of the last three seasons, going 25-13 in that span as it prepares to enter the Big Ten in 2024.
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