News: UCLA Hires Kennedy Polamalu As Running Backs Coach
Polamalu was dismissed in February by the Trojans following the dismal 7-6 season that would lead to the eventual firing of Lane Kiffin. Speculation is that the two had a falling out two days prior to last year’s Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, a game USC fell 21-7 to Georgia Tech.
He is a no nonsense type of guy that players and coaches respected, commonly referred to as being the best running backs coach in either the college or professional game.
Fullback Soma Vainuku tweeted a statement that proves how much this hiring will sting the USC community:
Not only did we lose the best coach, we lost the only Trojan who was on staff. Real sad day
— soma vainuku (@somavainuku) February 9, 2013
The former Kennedy Pola (uncle of Troy Polamalu) played fullback for USC from 1982-85 and worked was the team’s running backs and special teams coach from 2000-2003, working with Justin Fargas, Hershel Dennis and Tom Malone.
He is no stranger to UCLA though, as he was a graduate assistant from 1992-93.
From 2005-09 Polamalu was the RB coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars, working with former UCLA Bruin Maurice Jones-Drew and helping him to evolve into the player he has become today.
Also important, the hiring will help in big ways as the Bruins continue to recruit players away from USC and over to UCLA. He has a strong presence in the Polynesian community and could be instrumental in landing top recruit Damien Mama out of top-ranked St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.