UCLA hires ex-NFL running back DeShaun Foster as football coach

Feb. 12 (UPI) -- UCLA has hired former NFL running back DeShaun Foster as its new football coach, the school announced Monday morning.

Foster, 44, was the Bruins' running backs coach for the past seven seasons. The Las Vegas Raiders announced earlier this month that they hired Foster to serve as their running backs coach, but he opted to remain with the Bruins.

"This is a dream come true," Foster said in a news release. "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 Bruins went 8-5 under former coach Chip Kelly in 2023. Kelly, who resigned last week to take over as offensive coordinator at Ohio State, went 35-34 in six seasons with the Bruins.

"While undergoing a comprehensive search for our new head coach, DeShaun resonated from the start and throughout the whole process," Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond said. "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. I am excited to partner with him as we usher UCLA Football into an exciting new era."

Foster, a star running back for the Bruins from 1998 through 2001, was a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the Panthers.

Foster played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, his final season in the NFL.

Foster worked as a student assistant in 2013 at UCLA. He also worked for the Bruins in 2013 and 2015 as a graduate assistant. He was then hired in 2016 to work as the running backs coach at Texas Tech. Foster joined the Bruins staff a year later.

The Bruins will face Hawaii in their season opener on Aug. 31 in Oahu, Hawaii.