Coaching Hot Board



This page is for the 2014 coaching searches. If you want details on the 2015 coaching searches, CLICK HERE.

Updated 2/18/2014 5:23 p.m.

UPDATE: Los Angeles Times is reporting Mike Tuiasosopo as the new coaching hire. We’ll have a full update on him and our opinions today (Wednesday).

With the promotion of Jeff Ulbrich to Defensive Coordinator, Adrian Klemm to Associate Head Coach, and Demetrice Martin to Assistant Head Coach, the coaching leadership seems firmed up.

It also means less flexibility in filling to the coaching position left over on defense. Top coaches like Ken Norton Jr. will want to be more than just a college “Linebacker Coach.” Or a college “Special Teams Coach.” They will want a position that brings prestige, money and helps their coaching career trajectory.

Maybe Mora can figure out a way to have a whole bunch of Assistant Head Coaches on staff, but we kind of doubt it. He can get creative and move coaches around though. 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.

So for now we will use this page to look at potential candidates to fill the position.

Scott White Record Comments

Probably Linebacker Coach

Palomar College (LB Coach)
Central Washington University (LB Coach)
University of Washington (player)
This Graduate Assistant helped Ulbrich with linebackers this past season. White has some limited coaching experience and may have the inside track since he is already in the program. Pretty good linebacker in college at the University of Washington where he had ties to Rick Neuheisel. Unknown what his recruiting skill is. We would prefer someone with more experience, since Ulbrich will also be new to his position.

If Mora is consistent, we don’t think White will be promoted to linebacker coach. If you remember, after Steve Broussard was let go as running back coach, everyone (but us) said Deshaun Foster would be promoted. Instead, Mora hired an experienced coach in Kennedy Polamalu (patting ourselves on the back here – we were the first to break the news that Polamalu had been contacted).

Tony White Record Comments


Probably Linebacker Coach

2009-2013 SDSU (CB/recruiting coordinator)
2008 New Mexico (LB)
2007 UCLA (GA)
This UCLA football alum has been getting some attention lately. Considered a good recruiter and rising coach, White may be a possibility.
Michael Haywood Record Comments

Probably Special Teams Coach

2009–2010 Miami, Ohio (HC)
2005–2008 Notre Dame (OC/RB)
2003–2004 Texas (RB/ST)
1995–2002 LSU (RB/ST)
1993–1994 Ball State (WR/RB/ST)
1991–1992 Ohio (OLB/ST)
1989–1990 Army (DB/DE/ST)
1988 Minnesota (GA)
This is an intriguing name. In his second season as head coach at Miami of Ohio, he took his team from 1-11 to 8-4, including winning the the 2010 MAC Championship Game, and being named the 2010 Mid-American Conference football coach of the year. He was considered one of the hottest coaching names around at the time and was considered both a great coach and a great recruiter. He was rumored for just about every head coaching opening. On December 16, 2010, Haywood was offered and accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh. A rising star in every way. And then it all fell apart…

On December 31, 2010, Haywood was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from a custody battle. He was released on a $1,000 bond, and Pittsburgh then fired him before he coached a single game. In February 2012, the charges were dismissed after Haywood completed pre-trial diversion requirements, counseling, and public service.

Haywood’s rise, career, and reputation were destroyed. While we do not condone domestic violence, neither do we believe his particular charges justifies never giving him a chance to work again either. The court actions indicate he is not considered a menace, bail was only $1,000 for a man who was making hundreds of thousands a year, and the charges were eventually dismissed.

Currently he is interviewing for position coaching positions to re-build his career. This would be an opportunity for UCLA to bring in a highly qualified coach with great experience not only as a head coach but also in working at and recruiting for top programs like Notre Dame, Texas, and LSU. He has extensive experience as a Special Teams coach. This would be an opportunity for UCLA to bring in an over-qualified coach at a Special Teams Coach salary.

We don’t know if UCLA, or Bruin fans would be able to accept him with his past.

UPDATE 2/10: Haywood has been named a finalist for LSU’s Special Teams Coach. LSU may be floating the name out there to see if there is any vocal opposition. As far as coaching goes, this is a home run hire for whichever team gets him as a position coach.

Chad Kauha’aha’a Record Comments

Probably some combination of Defensive Line/Assistant Head Coach

2013 Wisconsin (DL)
2011-2012 Utah (DL)
2010 Utah State (DL)
2005-2009 Weber State (DL)
2001-2004 Baldwin High School, Maui HI (HC)
Kauha’aha’a goes back to our philosophy of getting the best coach available. His only experience is coaching the defensive line, so that is where he would have to coach at UCLA. That means a move for Angus McClure. Fortunately, McClure is a well rounded coach who has coached multiple positions, including Special Teams. Mora would have to get creative in how he would handle McClure’s new role, but it could be done.

As for Kauha’aha’a, he is a rising star in coaching circles. Considered one of the premier recruiters in the country, he has also coached elite college players like Star Lotulelei. Would he come to UCLA? Well, he is Hawai’ian raised and currently experiencing a Wisconsin winter. Think about that. We think he would be open to at least listening. With Lotulelei and Polamalu both on staff, UCLA would lock down recruiting, especially among the Polynesian players.

Mike Ekeler Record Comments

Probably Linebacker Coach

2013 USC (LB)
2011-2013 Indiana (DC)
2008-2010 Nebraska (LB)
2007 LSU (Intern)
2005-2006 LSU (GA)
2003-2004 Oklahoma (GA)
2002 Manhattan (KS) HS (AC)
1999-2001 Omaha Skutt HS (AC)
UPDATE: Georgia just hired Ekeler as their Linebacker Coach.

CBS Sports has recently linked Ekeler with a position at UCLA, most likely linebacker coach. However, he has been a DC at a Big-10 program so we can’t completely rule out the UCLA DC job. Ekeler is well regarded as a linebacker coach and as a recruiter, having turned the USC linebacking corp around in his lone season there. Sark did not retain him so he is looking around for the right job. Someone will hire him, and soon.

Randy Shannon Record Comments

Probably Linebacker Coach

2013–present Arkansas (LB)
2012 TCU (LB)
2007-2010 Miami (HC)
2006 Miami (DC/LB)
2001–2005 Miami (DC)
2000 Miami Dolphins (LB)
1998–1999 Miami Dolphins (asst)
1993–1997 Miami (LB)
1992 Miami (DL)
1991 Miami (GA)
Another interesting name. Shannon certainly has the resume, having been a defensive line coach, a head coach at a major program, a defensive coordinator, and a college and NFL linebacker coach. Played linebacker (briefly) in the NFL and is considered an outstanding recruiter.

There were a few disciplinary issues while he was head coach at Miami, and his record there is unremarkable. After he was fired from Miami, his career path took a dive, and he is trying to get it back on track.

Would he come to UCLA as “just” the Linebacker Coach? We think there is a possibility. He is the linebacker coach at Arkansas, which just hired a new defensive coordinator, and it wasn’t him. Sounds like the writing is on the wall as far as his career goes there. On the other hand, UCLA is definitely starting to be considered a coaching hotbed, where coaches get recognized, promoted and make some real money at the same time. This is a place where you can rejuvenate your coaching career.

Other names we are hearing:

DeWayne Walker – Please stop talking about Walker and let Mora hire his own guys. Both Dorrell and Neuheisel were forced into hiring coordinators they didn’t want and we know how that turned out.

Ken Norton Jr – When we first heard his name, we thought, no way. However, we have since heard that there had been contact between the UCLA and Norton camps. However, snce the new promotions we don’t know if there is still an opportunity here. We generally think this boat has sailed but we would have been in favor of bringing Norton back into the family. Think about it, Norton is the kind of coach that Mora likes. Three Super Bowl rings and three Pro Bowls. Fiery coach with deep UCLA roots. Solid recruiter. He still has a home in So Cal and the UCLA Hall of Famer might be tempted to come home.

Greg Robinson – Been around a long time but this is certainly not the sexy hire we all want. Looks like he will be the new defensive coordinator for San Jose State.

P.S. while we love that fans like our ORIGINAL stuff enough to share it, we would really appreciate it if we are given credit.  This applies in particular to one certain pay site (you know who you are and fans are paying you to come up with your own ideas.  We work hard to write our content so either create your own, or give us credit.  Both are preferable to stealing our stuff and implying it came from your anonymous, super secret, high level, supposedly insider, deep throat “sources“).  

  13 Responses to “Coaching Hot Board”

  1. John Thompson DC- SEC, Florida, Mississippi, South Car, LSU and most recent most recent Ark State

  2. Take O off this list RIGHT NOW. We won’t let that ever happen and started an email campaign to Haden demanding he prevent O from going to the bRuins. So you might as well take O off this list right now.

  3. Thanks for the Thompson suggestion. We just aren’t hearing his name as a viable candidate right now.

  4. We guess Orgeron will be interested to hear you guys think you can still push him around. Hopefully he reads this site – it should give him more incentive to become a Bruin.

  5. what about Dave Aranda? He has California ties and has been great running a 3-4 scheme at Wisconsin


    Coach John Thompson former Arkansas State Interim Head Coach and two time Go Daddy Bowl Championship. 3 Sun Belt Conference winner..

    He is a Great Fit for the UCLA Defense Coordinator Coach…… Experience as a D1 Head Coach… Years as a SEC DC Coordinator !!!!

    As you will see in his Bio, Coach John Thompson has the qualifications to be the next UCLA DC football coach:

    He has experience as Defensive Coordinator at Southern Conference Schools: Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU, as well as Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.

    * 30 + years coaching
    * D1 Head Coach experience
    * D1 Defense Coordinator experience
    * Winning record — 2 bowls- 3 consecutive Sun Belt Conference Titles
    * Strong Recruiter
    * Players want to play for him.

    One of the most exciting college coaches…

    Man of Integrity, honesty and a unmatched work ethic. Matches Coach Mora in EVERY WAY ..

    Interim Head coach Coach John Thompson and ASU Win the Go Daddy.Com Bowl for the Second Year…

    John Thompson
    Position: Interim Head Coach/Assistant Coach
    Other Position: Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
    Experience: 2 Year
    John Thompson Bio
    Courtesy: ArkansasState
    Release: 04/01/2012

    John Thompson, a coaching veteran with over 30 years experience at the collegiate level as both an assistant and head coach, will begin his second season as Arkansas State’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2013.

    Thompson also acted as A-State’s interim head coach in the 2013 Bowl, leading the Red Wolves to a 17-13 victory over then-ranked 25th Kent State. The victory was ASU’s first in a bowl game since 1970 and also marked its first win over a top-25 team since it joined the FBS in 1992.

    Thompson was also a part of ASU’s staff in 2012 that led the Red Wolves to a 10-3 season and a Sun Belt Conference championship with a 7-1 league mark.

    Thompson oversaw Arkansas State’s 2012 defense that ranked first in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense and second in total defense. The Red Wolves had four defensive players named All-Sun Belt Conference this year, including first-team choices Nathan Herrold at linebacker and Ryan Carrethers on the defensive line.

    The Red Wolves shut out two opponents during the 2012 season, including an 8-4 Middle Tennessee squad in the regular-season finale, for the first time since 1987. Under Thompson’s direction, A-State also ranked third in the Sun Belt in turnovers gained, picking up 10 fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions. A-State had eight players post an interception to tie for the 15th most in the nation.

    Thompson’s defensive unit continued to evolve and improve as the season progressed. Against Sun Belt Conference opponents only, the Red Wolves ranked first in the league in rushing defense (119.9 yards per game) and second in pass defense efficiency (132.6). The defense allowed just 396 rushing yards over the last five regular-season games for an average of just 79.2 yards per contest and also recorded 11 interceptions over the last nine games.

    As linebackers coach, Thompson’s position group combined to record 281 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 12 pass break-ups, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Herrold and fellow linebacker Qushaun Lee both posted the best numbers of their career and ended the regular season as A-State’s top two tacklers.

    In fact, Herrold posted a career-best 114 tackles for the most by an ASU player since 2003. Both Herrold and Lee were named all-conference at the end of the regular season, and Lee was named the Bowl’s Defensive MVP after recording 13 tackles and two pass break-ups.

    Thompson has worked 26 seasons as a coordinator and was also the head coach at East Carolina for two years. Recognized as a top defensive mind, Thompson has worked as defensive coordinator or co-coordinator at Southeastern Conference schools Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU, as well as at Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.

    As a defensive coordinator, Thompson has seen more than 40 of his defensive players drafted by, or sign with, National Football League teams. Forty-four of his defenders earned all-conference honors, five were named all-America, and one, former Northwestern State linebacker Gary Reasons, has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

    Thompson came to A-State after serving as Georgia State’s assistant head coach for scheduling and strategic planning and defensive coordinator. Thompson also coached inside linebackers at Georgia State, where he spent the previous four seasons.

    Thompson went to Georgia State in July 2008 after spending the 2007 season as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Ole Miss. That followed a one-year stint as athletics director at his alma mater, the University of Central Arkansas, which he guided in its move to NCAA Division I. He served as co-defensive coordinator at South Carolina in 2005.

    As the head coach at East Carolina in 2003-04, he coached three first-team all-conference players and seven all-freshman selections.

    Thompson was the defensive coordinator at Florida in 2002, when the Gators’ pass defense was ranked seventh in the nation, allowing just 162.4 yards per game. He also spent two years at Arkansas, serving as co-defensive coordinator in 2000 and then defensive coordinator in 2001. In 2000, the Razorbacks were second in the nation in pass defense while leading the SEC in pass defense and total defense. The following year, Thompson helped lead Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl.

    Thompson’s first position as a defensive coordinator came at Northwestern State, where he served from 1983-86, and again from 1988-89 after spending the 1987 season as linebackers coach at Alabama.

    In 1990, he became the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech for two seasons before moving to Southern Miss as defensive coordinator in 1992. He was given additional responsibility as assistant head coach in 1993. In Thompson’s seven seasons at Southern Miss (1992-98), the Golden Eagles won or shared two Conference USA titles, twice ranked among the top 25 nationally in scoring defense and made two bowl appearances.

    In one season at Memphis in 1999, his Tiger defense ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense and 23rd in total defense.

    A native of Forrest City, Ark., Thompson began as a high school coach in 1977 while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at UCA. He continued to coach prep football until moving to the college ranks in 1982 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas, where he worked under Lou Holtz.

    A high school quarterback, Thompson was inducted into the Forrest City High School Hall of Fame in 2006. His playing career also includes two seasons as a defensive back at Central Arkansas. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UCA in 1978.

    Thompson and his wife, Charleen, have two sons, Cabe and Hays.

  7. Thanks for the suggestion about Thompson. We have had other readers suggest him as well but we are not hearing his name from any reliable sources.

  8. Please tell me that the Norton rumor has legs!!!

    know a lot of Bruins fans would be against this but I would love to have him back in Blue & Gold. Besides, he is one of the best recruiters ever.

  9. We heard contact was made and we are also in the Norton camp. Ulbrich and Norton worked together at Seattle so there is a connection beyond UCLA and Ulbrich would probably love to go into battle with a guy like Norton at his side.

    However, with the promotions of Klemm and Martin, we don’t see where Norton would fit. Can’t see Norton coming back to just be a linebacker coach. He will want a title that carries some weight, pays well, and improves his career trajectory. Being just a college “Linebacker Coach” doesn’t really cut it. So as of right now, we think that boat has sailed.

    Mora is a smart guy, and may figure out a way to have two “Assistant Head Coaches” or whatever is necessary. We don’t see it happening anymore though.

    The good news is that after signing day, there are always a LOT of coaches looking around for better pay or a change of jobs. We have heard rumors that Mora may promote from within. Nothing against the current coaches, but we think this is a great opportunity to bring in another top notch proven recruiter and we hope Mora goes in that direction. This is exactly what Mora did after Broussard left. All the sites (except us) said Mora would promote Deshaun Foster. Instead he pulled in one of the top recruiters around in Kennedy Polamalu.

    We hope he does the same again.

  10. What about John Baxter, the former usc Special Teams Coach?

  11. Someone else asked us about Baxter too.

    To be honest, we are not particularly high on the guy. He seems to be a good ST coach, but we have never thought of him as a spectacular recruiter, which is something we think is critical in this hire. Anyone who disagrees can take a look at the last signing day. While the staff recruits well, there still seems to be a missing piece to lock down recruiting, especially So Cal recruits. We are so close, and the right coach may be just enough to seal the deal for guys like Adoree’ Jackson next February.

    We delved a little deeper into Baxter and there were actual press releases out there lobbying for Sarkisian to retain him (just before Baxter got fired). It seems odd and we have never seen a coach try to use a press release to pressure a school to keep him. While he is not the person shown as paying for the press release, we would have a hard time believing he was not behind it.

    Regardless, we don’t see Baxter as the guy and there is no reason we can’t have BOTH a great coach and a great recruiter – they are out there.

  12. Looks like we’re gooey for Tui at LB coach! Should be a great complement for the Polynesian Pipeline™

  13. “Gooey for Tui” – we like that and might steal it too!

    MT is a solid addition to the staff – we like it.