UCLA hires Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach

UCLA coach Chip Kelly continued to overhaul his defensive staff while adding another veteran assistant, hiring Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach.

The hiring of Rhoads was confirmed by a person close to the situation not authorized to disclose the information publicly because the move has not been formally announced.

Rhoads, 50, spent seven seasons as the coach at Iowa State from 2009 to 2015 and also served as defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, Auburn and Arkansas. He had been the defensive backs coach for the Razorbacks before being promoted to defensive coordinator in January. Rhoads replaced Bret Bielema as the interim coach last month after Bielema was fired following a season-ending 48-45 loss to Missouri.

Rhoads went 32-55 at Iowa State, guiding the Cyclones to the 2009 Insight Bowl and the 2012 Liberty Bowl. He had previously served as defensive backs coach at Iowa State and Pacific.

The hiring of Rhoads means that Kelly has filled six of the 10 assistant positions that will be allotted for the 2018 season. He brought in Jerry Azzinaro as defensive coordinator and Don Pellum as linebackers coach while retaining DeShaun Foster as running backs coach, Jimmie Dougherty as wide receivers coach and Hank Fraley as offensive line coach.

Kelly is also believed to be considering keeping defensive line coach Angus McClure, though it was not known in what capacity. McClure is a strong recruiter and versatile assistant who has also mastered the nuances of UCLA’s academic system.

Rhoads replaces Demetrice Martin, who oversaw a secondary that had been a relative strength of the Bruins’ defense in recent seasons. UCLA ranked No. 40 nationally in passing yards allowed last season, giving up 206.1 yards per game.


Twitter: @latbbolch

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