clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What DeShaun Foster hiring as next head coach means for UCLA football

The former UCLA running back is the next head coach of the program after Chip Kelly left. We go over what to expect from the Bruins next season under Foster.

UCLA Bruins running back coach DeShaun Foster during the college football game between the Alabama State Hornets and the UCLA Bruins on September 10, 2022, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCLA is moving into a new era in 2024. Conference realignment has landed them in the Big Ten, which now spreads from coast to coast. Unfortunately for the Bruins, one of the first things to happen to the program upon the move was head coach Chip Kelly’s departure for Ohio State, now a conference opponent for the Bruins. Kelly took on the offensive coordinator role at OSU — a demotion from his role at UCLA, effectively getting the Bruins off on the wrong foot and painting them as a second-tier program compared to the big guns of the Big Ten.

The school has appointed DeShaun Foster to lead the team into this new era. UCLA announced Monday that Foster would be taking on the head coaching role coming into 2024. Foster played at UCLA in the late 1990s and early 2000s before getting drafted in the second round to the Panthers. He spent seven years playing in the NFL — six in Carolina and one with the 49ers — before returning to UCLA as an assistant in 2012. He worked his way up from a student assistant position with the Bruins before becoming UCLA’s running backs coach from 2017 to 2023. He also had a one-year stint as Texas Tech’s RBs coach.

Foster had a job lined up as the Raiders’ running backs coach for 2024 before the UCLA call came in. This is an interesting hire for UCLA. Foster has no coordinator experience, which is generally seen as the final stepping stone ahead of a head coaching promotion. He has also barely left the UCLA community during his coaching tenure, which has its pros and cons. He was a nominee for the Broyles Award, which honors the best assistant coach in college football, in 2022. As an RBs coach, he has sent players including Zach Charbonnet and Joshua Kelley to the NFL.

UCLA went 8-5 last season, and it’s hard to predict what 2024 will look like for the Bruins. Conference realignment at this level will almost certainly come with some growing pains, and having a new head coach may only add to those growing pains. UCLA’s 2024 schedule includes matchups against LSU, Oregon, Penn State, and Washington.