What has been alluded to for close to a week now is now officially official. UCLA has announced the hiring of longtime Penn State assistant and current West Virginia senior associate head coach Tom Bradley as its defensive coordinator.
“To bring a coach of Tom Bradley’s caliber to UCLA is very exciting,” Bruins head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “His knowledge of the game, extensive experience, level of intensity and attention to detail all make him one of the best defensive teachers in college football. Combine that with the fact that he has strong national recruiting ties and is one of the most well respected coaches in the game – it all adds up to Tom being a tremendous addition to our staff.”
They say successful coaching hires are all about fit, and this one feels like a square peg meeting a round hole. It makes more sense on Bradley’s end – a promotion, sunshine, a likely raise, sunshine – but not so much for UCLA. The Bruins just hired a coach that spent, best as we can tell, all but one year of his adult life in Pennsylvania – and that other year was in West Virginia – to be the defensive coordinator of a Los Angeles-based program looking to take that one, final step from good to great. Is Bradley really that guy? We know he’s not a spring chicken on the recruiting trail, so he’d better be a major plus on the X’s and O’s front to serve as an upgrade over Jeff Ulbrich.
UCLA does note that Bradley’s Nittany Lions defenses posted six straight top 15 finishes in both scoring and total defense from 2004-09 and held 60 percent of its foes to 17 points or fewer from 2004 through 2011.
Elsewhere, the program announced that outside linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tuiasasopo has been replaced by former Washington linebacker and Bruins graduate assistant Scott White.