UCLA is coming off of their best season and first bowl appearance under head coach Chip Kelly. As the Bruins look to continue their strong momentum, Kelly has hired a well-respected coach for a rather peculiar coaching role.
UCLA football is hiring Ken Niumatalolo as their director of leadership, via Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. Niumatalolo served as Navy’s head coach from 2007-2022.
In that time, Navy went 109-83 under Niumatalolo. The Midshipmen qualified for 11 bowl games, winning six of them. While Navy let Niumatalolo leave after a couple of rough seasons, he leaves the program as their winningest head coach of all time.
Now coming to UCLA, Niumatalolo will serve in a role much different than head coach. As director of leadership, Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the UCLA football staff and its student-athletes. Chip Kelly is said to have “great respect,” for Niumatalolo, bringing him to the Bruins.
The Bruins went 9-4 last season, their best record under Kelly. They advanced to the Sun Bowl, and while they lost, it was still a major step for UCLA under Kelly. UCLA ended the year ranked 21st in the nation. It was the first time they ended the season ranked since 2014. At one point, the Bruins ranked ninth-overall. That was their highest rank since they reached seventh in 2015.
Ken Niumatalolo may not have an official coaching title with the Bruins. However, he brings plenty of experience to the program. Niumatalolo’s new role with UCLA puts him at the fore font of team leadership. After 15 years at Navy’s head coach, Niumatalolo seems up for the task.
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