Just 24 hours after firing running backs coach Steve Broussard, Coach Jim Mora just sent shockwaves around West Coast recruiting trail by making a blockbuster move:
First reported by @BruinReport, former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu has been hired by UCLA. Official announcement pending.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 4, 2013
This is a big deal:
Polamalu is likely a huge upgrade at running backs coach for #UCLA, with his ties to the Polynesian community and local high schools.— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) December 4, 2013
Incidentally, a long-time and well respected USC assistant heading crosstown isn't a good look for new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian. #UCLA— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) December 4, 2013
And recruiting insiders are taking notice:
Wow. UCLA has hired Kennedy Polamalu, the former USC assistant who was Loyola running backs coach. Great hire. Let the recruiting begin.— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 4, 2013
Polamalu was reportedly fired by Lane Kiffin earlier this year. Scott Wolf had more on how Kiffin treated the long time Trojan assistant, who was well respected by his players and stud recruiters. Despite his extensive Trojan background, Polamalu is actually making a return trip to Westwood - as he was on the UCLA staff as a graduate assistant from 1992 to 1993, which included a stint with the team that won the conference.
His accomplishments as a collegiate coach include (thanks to SouthernCal's official site):
Kennedy Polamalu, a former USC player and assistant coach, is in his third year back at USC as the offensive coordinator and running backs coach. He returned to USC in July of 2010 after spending 6 years as an NFL assistant.
In 2011, tailback Curtis McNeal rushed for 1,005 yards and his 6.9 average per carry was the best by a Trojan since Reggie Bush in 2005. USC's offense also produced a 3,500-yard passer and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers. The Trojans were sixth nationally in passing efficiency and in the nation's Top 25 in passing, scoring and total offense. USC's yards-per-play average (6.5) was the third highest in school history, while its averages for total offense (456.8) and passing offense (294.2) were the fourth highest and its scoring offense average (35.8) was the fifth highest.
Tailback Allen Bradford was a sixth round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and fullback Stanley Havili was a seventh rounder. The Trojan rushing offense ranked 25th nationally. USC averaged 6.0 yards per play in 2010, its sixth highest ever, and the Trojans twice had 600-yard offensive outputs.
Polamalu spent 4 years (2000-03) as an assistant at USC. He was the running backs coach in 2000, spent 2001 as the special teams coordinator, then returned to his running back coaching duties in 2002 and 2003 while also continuing as special teams coordinator.
In 2003, USC's 4 young tailbacks who saw action combined for 1,887 rushing yards (157.3 per game) and 20 rushing TDs (plus 4 receiving TDs and 1 kickoff return TD). Tailback LenDale White's 13 rushing touchdowns were a USC freshman season record. Tom Malone was named USC's first-ever All-American first team punter (he also made All-Pac-10 first team).
In 2002, USC 4 tailbacks combined for 1,897 rushing yards (2 were NFL draft picks: Justin Fargas in the third round and Malaefou MacKenzie in the seventh).
Welcome back to Westwood Kennedy!