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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ex-USC coach Kennedy Polamalu hired by UCLA

Kennedy PolamaluUCLA has raised the stakes in the rivalry with USC. The Bruins on Wednesday hired ex-Trojans fullback and coach Kennedy Polamalu to join the staff.

Polamalu played fullback for the Trojans from 1982-1985. He then went to UCLA as a graduate assistant and had stints as a coach with San Diego State and Colorado before returning to USC as their running backs and special teams coach from 2000-2003.

Polamalu was known as a great recruiter and coach beloved by his players. He left USC after the 2003 season after asking Pete Carroll whether he would become the team’s offensive coordinator. Carroll told him that position would go to Lane Kiffin, so Kennedy left for the NFL.

Polamalu spent 2005-2009 as the running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was hired by the Tennessee Titans, however, he never coached a season with them because USC hired him back.

There was actually an issue over USC hiring Polamalu; Titans coach Jeff Fisher (a former USC player) accused Kiffin of not following proper protocol of asking for permission when making the hire. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke reported in 2010 that it was athletic director Pat Haden who made the Polamalu hire, not Kiffin.

Tension possibly dating back to their time as assistants under Carroll may have loomed between Kiffin and Polamalu. You may recall that the two got into a fight before the Sun Bowl and that Polamalu was let go in February, shortly after signing day. If he has any bitterness towards the Trojans program, he’ll have his chance to get even now that he’s part of UCLA’s staff. His hire was first reported by Bruin Sports Online.

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