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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

UCLA announces the hiring of Eric Bieniemy as their new Offensive Coordinator


In a move that surprised many people in the NFL and College Football world, Eric Bienemy has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator and associate head coach of the UCLA Bruins. Bieniemy was the offensive coordinator for two Super Bowl Championship teams with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Having one of the most innovative offensive minds in football join our staff speaks volumes to the type of program we are building here at UCLA," said UCLA Football Head Coach DeShaun Foster."

Bieniemy was most recently the offensive coordinator with the Washington Commanders. Bieniemy confirmed the news in an email to ESPN.

"Southern California," Bieniemy wrote in the e-mail to ESPN. "I attended high school there. I started my career in the league here (with the Chargers). It's obviously great to be back with the Bruins, where I was previously employed. This is a great opportunity for me to help support DeShaun as a head coach, to work with him and to work for him as well. My goal is to help him to be a successful head coach in our profession."

Bieniemy played his high school football at Bishop Amat in La Puente, where he rushed for 2,002 yards and scored 30 touchdowns and was a second-team All-American during his senior year in 1086. Bieniemy played his college football at Colorado, where he rushed for 1,628 tards and 17 touchdowns in 1990 and led Colorado to a national championship.

Bieniemy is in the Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame and is the all-time leading rusher in Colorado Football history. He was drafted in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and played on the 1994 Chargers team that went to the Super Bowl. Bieniemy played nine seasons in the NFL.

Bieniemy was the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at UCLA from 2003 through 2005. His top recruit at UCLA was star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who helped lead the Bruins to a 10-2 record in 2005 and became one of the most productive players in UCLA football history.

In his time at UCLA, Bieniemy was known for holding players accountable and being a demanding coach. That led to a 10-2 season in 2005 and Jones-Drew credits Bieniemy with making him a better running back and football player. "He is going to push you to your limits," Jones-Drew said in a podcast. "He is not going to allow you to get complacent."

Jones-Drew holds the NCAA record for punt return average at 28.5 yards per return set in 2005 and holds the UCLA record for all-purpose yardage at 4,688 yards and rushed for a school record 322 yards against the Washington Huskies in Seattle in 2004, breaking Foster's record of 301 yards set against the Huskies in 2001.

UCLA will receive a $1.5 million dollar buyout from former head coach Chip Kelly, who quit to take the offensive coordinator position with the Ohio State Buckeyes. That buyout could cover the first-year salary for Bieniemy.

Hiring Bieniemy to replace Kelly as the offensive play caller was as a good a move as the Bruins could have made under the circumstances. Kelly's strength was his offensive play calling and offensive schemes, and he was one of the best in college football.

Bieniemy's experience working with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and his six years working as an NFL offensive coordinator will be invaluable for the Bruins. Bieniemy will also bring energy to the sideline and to recruiting that was lacking under Kelly.

The Bruins return most of their starters on offense, including at quarterback Ethan Garbers, who led the Bruins to key wins at USC and in the LA Bowl game, where he was named the Offensive MVP of the game. Running back TJ Harden returns for his junior season after rushing for 827 yards and eight touchdowns.

All three starting three wide receivers return from last season, and the Bruins are adding four-star transfer Rico Flores from Notre Dame. The Bruins return four of their five starting offensive lineman, losing only center Duke Clemens. Bieniemy will have a lot to work with next season in Westwood.


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