Well, it looks like all the coaching hires have been made. Check out our COACHING CHANGES ROUNDUP where we take a look at each new coach.
Updated 2/24/2015 2:24 p.m., UCLA has made it official, Tom Bradley has been hired as Defensive Coordinator. More HERE.
UPDATE: Kevin Gemmel is reporting that UCLA has hired Tom Bradley and he will be on campus Tuesday. Of course, it will be for the defensive coordinator position but unknown if he will also be a position coach. We have not been able to confirm the report, but we expect it to be true from everything we have heard. BruinAuthority.com has obtained a copy of Tom Bradley’s WVU contract. See the contract for yourself – we write extensively about our thoughts of this potential hire below under our Tom Bradley section.
UPDATE: The Scout.com for-profit fan site, Bruin Report Online is reporting that “Graduate Assistant Scott White has been promoted to UCLA’s linebacker coach.” We have not verified that yet, but we do know his current position is not as a graduate assistant – his official title is “Football Intern.” It is true that he used to be a graduate assistant a year ago, and it may seem like a minor point but in our opinion, fan websites owe it to their readers to be accurate on reports like this. If they are not accurate, what are they charging for? Remember the BRO premature “scoop” of Coach Mora interviewing with the New York Jets last month?
As for us, we reported on this page three days ago that we were hearing the door was now open for White after Tommy Donatell was brought in as the “graduate Assistant” so it is not exactly front page news around here. Not only that, but we provided that and ALL our information and scoops absolutely FREE. We will keep you up to date as we learn more.
A good amount of sources have told us that graduate assistant Scott White has been promoted to UCLA’s linebacker coach.
— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) February 22, 2015
—————————- UPDATE: UCLA has brought in NFL DB coach Ed Donatell’s son, Tommy Donatell as a graduate assistant coach. Being an NFL coach’s son Donatell has grown up around the game. Considered a scrappy player, Donatell was lightly recruited as a quarterback out of high school because of two torn ACL’s. While in high school he made all-conference, was the team captain, and played safety in addition to quarterback. He ended up at Iowa as a preferred walk-on. At Iowa, Donatell was moved all over the place and while he began as a quarterback, he moved to defense, worked his way into the rotation, earned a scholarship, and eventually had starts at both safety and linebacker. After graduating from Iowa, Donatell spent the past two years on the University of South Florida’s defensive staff, and primarily worked with defensive backs. Donatell is coming to UCLA as a graduate assistant, just as he was at South Florida. There is no doubt that the long standing friendship of Donatell’s father Ed, and Coach Mora influenced the interest on both sides. We don’t know what his specific coaching duties will be at UCLA, but we have heard he is high energy, a hard worker, and has the ability to be a very good recruiter. We also are hearing this is a foretelling that current intern Scott White will get promoted to the linebackers coaching position. More on White can be found in our section on him below. And on a side note, we have been told but have not verified, that Donatell’s girlfriend is “Miss Iowa 2015.”
— Tommy Donatell (@TDonatell) February 14, 2015
Here is a video interview we found of Donatell while still in college:
NOTE: We were the first site to have a Coaching Hot Board – nice to see all the other sites now posting the same list of coaches we came up with using our own sources. As Jimi Hendrix said, “I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.”
And as usual, if you post about it elsewhere, please give us credit. We work hard to provide FREE SCOOPS like this, and it is tough competing with the big pay sites without your help. Big thanks to those who link back to us too!
Around this time last year we saw the promotions of Jeff Ulbrich to Defensive Coordinator, Adrian Klemm to Associate Head Coach, and Demetrice Martin to Assistant Head Coach as well as the hiring of Mike Tuiasosopo as special teams and linebacker coach.
And again, with the departure of Ulbrich this week, and the now confirmed departure of Tuiasosopo, we expect to see another round of changes as Coach Mora continues to work on his staff. With both positions open at the same time on the same side of the ball, it gives Mora flexibility in position changes and in hiring the new defensive coordinator.
While we thought Coach Ulbrich was a mixed bag with some outstanding qualities, and some less than desirable ones, we look at this opening as an opportunity to significantly upgrade the quality of the coaching staff.
This is especially the case if current coaches are open to new opportunities as well. For instance, Coach Angus McClure has shown an interest in coaching different positions and is one of the most diverse coaches on the staff, having coached tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, special teams, as well as being run game coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and an assistant head coach in his coaching career. Maybe there are opportunities for him to move to a different position, freeing up a defensive line coaching position. We only mention this because there appear to be quite a few really top notch D-line coaches around right now. McClure is doing a fine job – we are just making the point that if the staffing assignments are flexible, it may allow Mora to bring in the “best coach available” somewhat regardless of position.
In order to bring in fast rising established coaches, Mora will need to offer more than just a position as a “Linebacker Coach” or “Special Teams Coach.” It will help tremendously if he can also offer them a position that brings prestige, money and helps their coaching career trajectory.
Unfortunately, UCLA is getting in the game a little late for a defensive coordinator. Some very talented coaches, who career wise, would have been open to UCLA have already taken other positions. Names that immediately come to mind include Randy Shannon who was just hired as the associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators, and Kalani Sitake who was just hired as the defensive coordinator for the Oregon State Beavers (a team BTW that is putting together a very strong coaching staff).
Also, the AFCA convention has already passed. The AFCA gets over 7,000 college coaches at the convention and is well known as a networking environment for changing jobs since informal conversations can be made.
Of course, there are staff members that may be ready to take on more responsibility such as Scott White with linebackers or Demetrice Martin for defensive coordinator. Martin is already the defensive back coach and the assistant head coach.
So for now we will use this page to look at potential candidates to fill these positions.
Other coaches that may be in the mix:
Tom Bradley – After spending 32 years rising in the coaching ranks at Penn State under Joe Paterno, Bradley was not retained by new coach Bill O’Brian. After taking two years off, Bradley emerged at West Virginia as the senior associate head coach and defensive line coach. Having spent 12 years as the Penn State Defensive Coordinator, Bradley certainly has the experience to be a defensive coordinator at UCLA. Bruce Feldman is breaking the story that Bradley is “close to being hired” at UCLA. While we cannot confirm the validity of that, our sources are hearing a lot of buzz that indicates Mora and Guerrero are very active this week in the DC search. Things appear to be happening fast at this point.
Anyway, we will soon find out if Feldman has a good source or if this is a logical guess to get some attention. After all, Bradley has been mentioned in connection with the UCLA DC position for the last two openings so it is not exactly front page news to throw his name out there again. If Bradley gets hired, Feldman and the others look like geniuses and if not, no one can prove it almost didn’t happen. It is a win-win for Feldman and the fan sites to report this. We are not saying it won’t happen, but we are suspicious when these stories leak before the contract is signed. Also, it is common for coaches themselves to leak these things because they want to manufacture a “demand” for their services in order to leverage promotions or increase in pay within their current schools. Bradley has frequently been connected to various job openings yet never seems to get, or accept them, such as the head coach positions at UConn, Temple, and Pitt…
Also, we have kept a low profile on this because Bradley was at Penn State during the Sandusky meltdown. Reporting Bradley to UCLA before the contract is signed could derail the entire hire by giving detractors time to mobilize. If you remember the drama that surrounded the Steve Alford hire, it is fair to say that would have probably not have gone through if there was enough notice that he was a candidate. There is no evidence that we can find that Bradley had any knowledge of or was in any way complicit in the Sandusky crimes.
So if this is the guy Mora wants, we all need to support Mora and not undermine him. We really wish the Bruin fan sites had waited until AFTER the ink was dry, to give Mora a better chance of bringing him in.
As for Bradley as a coach, the man has serious experience, but we would have liked to see a coach with experience across different programs/conferences and a coach who is a little younger than the almost 60 year old Bradley. He has never coached on the west coast, and frankly, we consider the PAC-12 offenses to be the most sophisticated of any conference in the country. We are also getting very mixed reports from the east coast regarding his recruiting acumen. When he was younger, he used to be considered a strong recruiter who locked up certain areas of Pennsylvania. Presumably he would still be a recruiter to be reckoned with in that region. If UCLA can hire an ELITE recruiter to replace Tuiasosopo then that would mitigate any deficiencies Bradley might have as a recruiter.
We are not at all opposed to this hire, and think he is solid. In fact, people we have spoken to who have been involved with the Penn State program for years, speak VERY highly of him. We have our reservations still, but are warming up to him by the hour.
Will Bradley come? Currently, his job description is Senior Associate Head Coach and DL Coach. The current DC, Tony Gibson was promoted from the safeties coaching position last year and we suspect Bradley was brought in to mentor and help Gibson. Bradley seems to have been brought in by the WVU athletic director and Gibson may not have had much to say about it. Therefore, there may be cracks in the relationship. So from that perspective, Bradley may be quite open to a change in schools. On the other hand, Bradley is a Pennsylvania region man from birth. He has never worked or lived elsewhere, and his entire family still lives in Pennsylvania. Maybe he wants a change, but it seems odd that a man who has lived his entire life in one place would want to move across the country for a job when he is almost 60. We hope he stays for a while if hired, and not leave UCLA with three DC’s in three years.
We are hearing that Bradley and Mora have the same agent which would help explain some of the questions surrounding his name being floated as well as Mora’s interest.
Some people have asked us if UCLA can afford him. In this current contract year he made $600,000 last year and will make around $400,000 this year. So to put that in perspective, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm will make $760,000 this year, so yes, UCLA can definitely afford that and more to get Bradley here.
Jim Haslett – a long time coach, having been a linebackers coach or a defensive coordinator for 5 different NFL teams. Negligible college experience. Coached with Mora almost 20 years ago with the New Orleans Saints.
Tom Mason – former SMU defensive coordinator looking for a job. Another coach with a long college career as a linebackers coach and a defensive coordinator. Currently interviewing for the defensive coordinator position at Hawaii.
Keith Armstrong – a respected, long time coach with a lot of experience and currently the Special Teams Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Armstrong has been a coach for receivers, linebackers, defensive backs, special teams, safeties, and secondary. He has coached for Temple, Miami, Akron, Oklahoma State, and Notre Dame on the college level. And has coached for the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins in the NFL. Never coached on the West Coast, but we believe he would be receptive to the challenge of being a DC at a major university.
Dave Aranda – When Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson left Wisconsin for Oregon State, he asked the native Californian Aranda to come with him. However, Aranda decided to stay put, citing that his family likes it there. Now, he has been working with new Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst for the past month and if that relationship is not going well, then all bets are off. However, we believe he is set on Wisconsin for at least the next couple years. BIG UPDATE: A Wisconsin newspaper reported on 2/11/2015 that Aranda interviewed for the Green Bay Packers for an unknown position. We don’t know what this means for UCLA exactly, if anything. Since Green Bay is still in the same state as the University of Wisconsin, and he reportedly stayed at Wisconsin because of his family, it may mean that he is only open to offers nearby. On the other hand, if it indicates that he and Chryst are not fitting in together, then he may be open to leaving the state. We plan on keeping a close eye on this one.
Brian Jean-Mary – currently Texas Linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator. Jean-Mary would be a huge pickup as a linebacker coach at UCLA. A talented recruiter (Jean-Mary was critical for Texas in securing 5-star 2015 linebacker Malik Jefferson over UCLA), Jean-Marie would help UCLA make significant recruiting inroads in the south. The trick to getting Jean-Marie is getting him to leave the south – he has only coached at southern schools. With 15 years of coaching experience, Jean-Mary has served as a linebacker coach, assistant head coach, defensive backs coach, and as a strength and conditioning coach.
Tim Kish – Oklahoma outside linebackers coach. Speculation is that Kish was expecting to be promoted with the many coaching changes at Oklahoma in the past few weeks. He didn’t get it and is now simply the outside linebackers coach. With his extensive experience and waning years, it must be a disappointing situation for him to be slighted in this way. We suspect that given the circumstances he would be very interested in the UCLA DC position, a co-DC position, or even as a special teams/linebacker coach. Kish is a solid coach with extensive experience having been a defensive coordinator at Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona. At most of those stops he was also the linebacker coach. For UCLA fans, he may be best known as the Arizona interim head coach (before Rich Rodriguez was hired) that directed a 48-12 win over the Bruins in 2010. UCLA is now exploring a co-defensive coordinator staff and Kish would definitely fit the bill of an older experienced coach mentoring a rising coach such as Demetrice Martin.
Other coaches that probably do not have a chance:
DeWayne Walker – We suspect this is purely a wish on the part of some fans. We see very little likelihood of this hire. The days of the UCLA administration forcing coordinators on head coaches are over.
Greg Robinson – Been around a long time but this is certainly not the sexy hire we all want. Currently, defensive coordinator for San Jose State.
Clancy Pendergast – current inside linebacker coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Pendergast has extensive experience and knows the PAC-12 well having graduated from Arizona, and serving as defensive coordinator for both Cal and USC. NOTE: Pendergast was hired on 2/9/2015 to be the San Francisco 49er linebacker coach. Although it does occasionally happen, it would be hard to imagine Pendergast resigning an NFL position a couple days after he signed a contract. We suspect it would not go over well with NFL general managers, and may hinder any opportunities to work in the NFL in the future.
Rocky Seto – we have very mixed feelings about Seto. A Trojan grad, a Trojan coach, a Pete Carroll disciple, but also considered to be a really good, smart coach.
Ed Orgeron – while the chances of Orgeron coming to Westwood are slim to none, this is a guy that intrigues us. Possibly the best recruiter in the nation, and we believe a good enough coach to be a defensive coordinator, this hire would send chills throughout the PAC-12. If we had him this past recruiting season, defensive linemen would be the last of our worries. Unfortunately he was hired as the d-line coach at LSU three weeks ago and would be unlikely to look at other offers for a while.
Tosh Lupoi – like Orgeron, another coach we missed by a couple weeks. Lupoi is an extremely successful recruiter who relates very well to young players. He was probably the fastest rising coach on the west coast until recruiting violations derailed his career trajectory. Sarkisian tried to bring him to USC but the university was afraid of lingering recruiting violations and overruled Sark. However, Alabama brought him in as some sort of “football analyst” last year and just promoted him to linebacker coach. Do we think Lupoi should have been hired by UCLA? No, not necessarily, but UCLA is building a program and recruiting is at the heart of it. UCLA needs to look at EVERY possibility and then make decisions as to the suitability of each candidate. For instance, if UCLA can bring in an elite recruiter as a position coach, the recruiting acumen of the defensive coordinator is not as important.