When Chip Kelly left his post as UCLA’s head coach to become Ohio State’s offensive coordinator under his former assistant Ryan Day, it saved the Bruins quite a bit of money but forced the program to scramble to hire his replacement.
UCLA missed out on the early hiring cycle and had limited options as the school’s first year in the Big Ten rapidly approaches. Athletic director Martin Jarmond ultimately handed the keys to the program to former UCLA running back and former Chip Kelly assistant, DeShaun Foster.
When Kelly took over the program from Jim Mora, it took him four years to produce a winning record and in Year 6 he finally got his first bowl win, in the LA Bowl. Now, the athletic department, which has been operating at a financial deficit for multiple consecutive years, has handed the program to a first-time head coach who had recently left to become the running backs coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
The school’s administration lauded Foster’s ability to lead and command a room, as well as his strengths as a fundraiser and recruiter. UCLA needs this hire to go a lot better than the four head coaches on this list.
Chip Kelly had interviewed at both Florida and UCLA back in 2018 but ultimately chose to head back to the West Coast where he first established himself as an offensive innovator at Oregon. The problem with Kelly has never been his ability to build an offense or gameplan, it’s his willingness and ability to build an elite roster.
Even in 2023, with five-star quarterback Dante Moore as the centerpiece, UCLA’s class still ranked 25th in the country. Kelly never put together a class better than his 2018 class which featured Dorian Thompson-Robinson and ranked 19th in the country.
It took far too long for Kelly to get the Bruins bowl eligible and even after he reached his first bowl game in 2022, the program took a step back in 2023 with one fewer win.