UCLA has hired former associated head coach and running backs coach DeShaun Foster to become the Bruins’ next head coach.
Foster will return to his alma mater after briefly being hired away from Westwood to become the running backs coach for the Las Vegas Raiders.
“This is a dream come true,” Foster said in a statement. “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.”
The former All-American started his coaching career in 2012 as a student assistant before he was promoted to graduate assistant in 2014 and the director of player development and high school relations in 2015. Foster spent the 2016 season on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff at Texas Tech, where he had his first opportunity as a running backs coach.
He would return to Westwood in 2017 as the running backs coach. Chip Kelly promoted Foster to associate head football coach after helping churn out NFL quality running backs.
The Tustin alumnus helped develop several running backs, having a running back drafted in each of the last four years.
Starting running back T.J. Harden was among the current players on the roster to state that they wanted Foster as UCLA’s next head coach on social media after Kelly informed them of his departure last week.
“Throughout our comprehensive search, DeShaun resonated with us from the start,” said UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond in a statement, “as 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. We are excited for the future of this program with DeShaun Foster at the helm!”
The players told Jarmond that they wanted someone who would relate to them as both players and young men on and off the field.
The decision to hire Foster will produce a level of continuity among the players on the roster and likely prevent a mass exodus from the program. The players will still have a 30-day window to answer the transfer portal.
The decision to keep Foster will likely keep a majority of the current coaching staff in place but it will leave him with decisions of his own on who the next offensive coordinator, running backs coach and tight ends coach could be.
Foster will also serve as a familiar face in place on the Southern California recruiting scene.
Foster played at Tustin High School before coming to UCLA and playing for four years (1998-2001). His time at both stops was deemed hall of fame worthy this year.
He is currently fifth in career rushing yards (3,194), ninth in scoring (266 points) and tied for 10th in all-time touchdowns (44) with Troy Aikman on the UCLA all-time list.
In 2022, he was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame and the inaugural class for the California High School Football Hall of Fame that’s on display at the Rose Bowl. He was also a Broyles Award nominee, which is presented to college football’s top assistant coach.