UCLA hires Navy’s Brian Norwood as passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach

UCLA logo
UCLA logo

UCLA hired Navy assistant Brian Norwood on Friday to become its assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach. Norwood fills the vacancy created by the departure of Paul Rhoads to become Arizona’s defensive coordinator.

Norwood, 54, spent last season as Navy’s co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach, presiding over a defense that ranked No. 38 nationally by allowing 208.3 passing yards per game.

The previous year, as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Kansas State, Norwood guided a defense that made the biggest improvement in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense, moving from last in the conference (309.1 passing yards allowed per game) to fourth (245.8). The latter figure was the fewest passing yards Kansas State had allowed in five years.

The Bruins are seeking a similar turnaround after allowing a school-record 3,729 passing yards last season on the way to a 4-8 record. The 310.8 passing yards UCLA allowed in 2019 ranked last in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 129 out of 130 major college teams.


Prior to his last two coaching stops, Norwood had also worked at Tulsa, Baylor, Penn State, Texas Tech, Richmond and Arizona. Norwood played cornerback and safety at Hawaii from 1984-87. His son Gabe played for George Mason’s Final Four team in 2006.

Meanwhile, a new opening on UCLA’s coaching staff was created when Boston College announced the hiring of Vince Oghobaase as its defensive line coach, the same post he had held the last two seasons with the Bruins.

UCLA’s defensive line contributed to an improved run defense in each of the last two seasons under Oghobaase, giving up 145.5 rushing yards per game in 2019 after giving up 199.4 yards in 2018 and 287.4 yards in 2017 before his arrival.

Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.