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Potential replacements at UCLA with head coach Chip Kelly announcing he is leaving

Chip Kelly has been linked to Ohio State’s OC job, but could be heading back to the NFL. Either way, he has said he won’t be the head coach at UCLA next season and we take a look at some potential replacements.

Former Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll speaks at the Seattle Seahawks press conference at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on January 10, 2024 in Renton, Washington. Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

UCLA will be looking for a new head coach ahead of the 2024 season as Chip Kelly informed the team that he is leaving the school for another job. Kelly has been linked to the open Ohio State offensive coordinator position, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him head back to the NFL as an OC, either.

The tough part of this for the Bruins is not only the fact that they need to conduct a head coaching search; it is that it is late in the cycle, and plenty of positions have been filled. This likely leaves UCLA with limited options, but let’s take a look at who they could choose to lead them into 2024 as well as their first season in the newly restructured Big Ten.

Pete Carroll — 2023 Seattle Seahawks Head Coach

It was a little bit of a surprise to see Carroll removed as the head coach for Seattle earlier this NFL offseason. News broke that he had agreed to shift his role in the organization to that of an advisor, but Carroll was noted as saying that he still had an interest in coaching. He didn’t land any open head coaching gigs in the NFL and hasn’t been brought on as a coordinator, so if he wants to continue coaching, he could return to the college circuit.

Carroll is 72 years old, so the leg work of having to go back to college coaching and doing the recruiting may not be on his wish list. He was the USC head coach from 2001-2009. If Carroll doesn’t want to wait a year before pursuing another coaching job, this could be the best opportunity left for him.

Ryan Grubb — 2023 Washington Huskies OC

Grubb figured to be a candidate for Washington’s open head coach position, but was passed up. He took a job as Alabama’s OC under the Crimson Tide’s new HC Kalen DeBoer, who he coached under at UW. Grubb may want to stay at Bama in the SEC, but he still deserves the conversation with UCLA and should have the chance to be a Power 5 head coach after the big season that the Huskies had on the way to an appearance in the national title game.

Tony White — 2023 Nebraska DC

If the Bruins want to look on the defensive side of the ball, White is a good candidate. He was the defensive coordinator for Nebraska last season under head coach Matt Rhule. The Cornhuskers didn’t have the best season, going 5-7, but that was Rhule’s first season at the helm. It matched their most wins in a season since 2016. Despite the record, Nebraska allowed the 11th-fewest offensive yards per game in the league.

DeShaun Foster — 2023 UCLA Associate Head Coach, RB Coach

Foster recently left UCLA to join the Las Vegas Raiders as their running backs coach. The Bruins could reach back out to him to see if he could be enticed to return with this promotion on the table. He would be the best option if UCLA wanted to stick with someone who knows the players and the program and wouldn’t have to institute a lot of changes when taking over.