Ken Norton Jr. reportedly coming home to join UCLA’s staff as inside linebackers coach

Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. walks off the field after a game against the Houston Texans.
Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. walks off the field after a game against the Houston Texans on Dec. 12, 2021, in Houston.
(Matt Patterson / Associated Press)

UCLA coach Chip Kelly is on the verge of completing his staff with the hiring of former Bruins standout Ken Norton Jr. as the inside linebackers coach, according to the Athletic.

An All-American linebacker at UCLA who won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, Norton most recently served as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks for four seasons before coach Pete Carroll dismissed Norton last month.

Norton, 55, got his coaching start under Carroll at USC, spending six seasons as the linebackers coach with the Trojans before following Carroll to the Seahawks in 2010 as their linebackers coach. Norton became the Oakland Raiders’ defensive coordinator in 2015, a post he held for three seasons before rejoining Carroll’s Seahawks staff in the same role in 2018.


At UCLA, Norton replaces Don Pellum, who had been with the Bruins since Kelly’s arrival before the 2018 season.

Despite a four-year record of 18-25, Chip Kelly was given a new four-year contract by UCLA. He must hire a new defensive coordinator as well as two other assistants.

Norton arrived at UCLA as a running back out of Westchester High before being converted to linebacker. He helped the Bruins reach four consecutive bowl games — winning each one — including the Rose Bowl after a Pac-10 Conference championship in 1985. Norton led the team with 106 tackles in 1986 and 125 in 1987, winning All-American honors in the latter season and becoming a finalist for the Butkus Award.

Norton was inducted into UCLA’s athletic hall of fame in 1998, but things once got awkward between the player and his alma mater. In 2008, while working under Carroll at USC, Norton accused UCLA of using his name to lure recruits to Westwood and discourage them from joining the Trojans by telling high school prospects that Norton would join then-Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel’s staff if defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker left for another job. Neuheisel denied the allegations.