Eric Bieniemy officially named UCLA’s associate head coach and offensive coordinator

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA made it official on Saturday, announcing Eric Bieniemy is the Bruins’ associate head coach and offensive coordinator.

News of Bieniemy’s hiring came out last week as the two sides were working toward finalizing his two-year contract.

The former Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Commanders offensive coordinator is the first significant hire for new UCLA coach DeShaun Foster, who was hired on Feb. 12 after Chip Kelly left Westwood to become Ohio State’s offensive coordinator.

“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,” Foster said in a statement. “Coach Bieniemy’s belief in our pillars shined throughout our conversations and confirmed he was the right man to not only help us develop an explosive approach on the field, but leaders off of it.”

Bieniemy, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Kansas City Chiefs, spent the past season in Washington. He wasn’t retained by new Commanders coach Dan Quinn, who replaced Ron Rivera.

In an email to ESPN last week, Bieniemy said he was not fired in Washington and “I actually just chose not to stay. Learned a lot and that is always a good thing.”

Foster doesn’t have head coaching or coordinator experience, so the hiring of Bieniemy gives the Bruins an experienced voice as they enter the Big Ten in 2024 and try to retain or add players via the transfer portal.

Despite his success in Kansas City, Bieniemy hasn’t landed a heading coach job, even though he’s interviewed with more than half of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Bieniemy only received offers to be a running backs coach and pass game coordinator for 2024, so he chose to return to UCLA. That’s where he spent three seasons as an assistant in various roles with the Bruins from 2003-05.

Bieniemy spent 10 seasons with the Chiefs working under Andy Reid and played a major role in helping Patrick Mahomes develop into one of the NFL’s best players. Mahomes just led the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl title in five years and earned MVP honors for the third time.

At the NFL Scouting Combine this week, Reid said Bieniemy will be a great fit at UCLA.

“It’s hard when you’re in charge of something to step back. He has an opportunity here to do his thing on offense, he knows the landscape, he’s been at UCLA before,” Reid said. “Maybe he’s the head coach at the college level. I thought he should be a head coach here. But if that doesn’t happen, maybe he has an opportunity there to make it happen.”

Bieniemy had mixed results in Washington, where he had full control of play-calling duties on a team that lacked overall talent. The Commanders were 4-13 and had the NFL’s 24th-ranked offense behind quarterback Sam Howell.

The Bruins ran a pro-style offense during Kelly’s six seasons at UCLA, which should help both sides.

Bieniemy’s second college coaching job was at UCLA. He coached running backs for three seasons and also was the Bruins’ recruiting coordinator in 2005.

Foster, a Bruins assistant for the past seven years, left last month to become the Las Vegas Raiders’ running backs coach but returned to his alma mater after Kelly’s departure.

Kelly had a 35-34 record with the Bruins, but the program was showing signs of stagnating ahead of its move to the Big Ten.

Bieniemy attended high school in Southern California at Bishop Amat in La Puente, which is 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It is Bieniemy’s first college job since 2012, when he was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Colorado.


AP sports writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City contributed to this story.


AP college football: and

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up