UCLA fans are torn after Bruins hire surprising alum to replace Chip Kelly

UCLA running back Deshaun Foster #26
UCLA running back Deshaun Foster #26 / Stephen Dunn/GettyImages

The UCLA Bruins were in an impossible spot trying to replace head coach Chip Kelly in mid-February. So they went with the most feel-good but risky choice.

On Monday, athletic director Martin Jarmond announced that former Bruins running back DeShaun Foster would take over as head coach.

The players were beyond pumped when Foster was revealed as the pick.

But how did the fans take it? Let's just say the reviews are entirely mixed.

Who can blame them? Foster is a program legend, ranking second in touchdowns and third in rushing yards when he departed for the NFL in 2002. But he doesn't exactly have a standard résumé to justify being hired as a head coach.

He's been a running backs coach since 2016, spending seven seasons at his alma mater, but he's never even been an offensive coordinator at the college football level. He had just taken the running backs coach job with the Raiders.

UCLA fans have mixed reactions to DeShaun Foster hire

The Bruins reportedly interviewed almost a dozen head coaching candidates, including standing head coaches. They went with the most inexperienced option on the board.

The argument against hiring Foster is obvious. Jarmond may not get the chance to hire another head coach. Pinning his hopes on such an unproven figure is a hell of a gamble. He could have instead gone with any number of safer choices, like UNLV head coach Barry Odom or Nebraska defensive coordinator Tony White, another former Bruin.

The argument for hiring Foster is interesting though. Given the unusual timing of the hiring process, Foster represents continuity in the coaching staff. He's already respected by the locker room. Even the most skeptical fans will be on his side from a sentimental standpoint.

Most importantly, Foster's inexperience will likely be factored into his contract buyout. Unless Jarmond really screwed up negotiations, UCLA should be able to cut bait on Foster relatively cheaply if things truly go south.

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