Eric Bieniemy has landed a surprising new job

Larry Brown Sports
Eric Bieniemy waving to fans

Jul 27, 2023; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy waves to fans while walking to the fields prior to day two of Commanders training camp at OrthoVirginia Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bieniemy has a new job, and it’s a surprising one.

Bieniemy has been hired as the offensive coordinator at UCLA, it was reported on Saturday. He will serve on the staff of former UCLA running back DeShaun Foster, who was recently hired as their new head coach.

This marks somewhat of a return home for Bieniemy.

Bieniemy grew up just southeast of the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins play their home games. The 54-year-old also served as a running backs coach for UCLA from 2003-2005 before jumping to the NFL.

What makes the landing spot for Bieniemy so surprising? It wasn’t that long ago that he was receiving multiple requests to interview for NFL head coach jobs. He even became the face of a movement where he was frequently cited as an example of alleged racial discrimination when it comes to coach hiring practices in the NFL.

But after coaching with the Chiefs from 2013-2022, Bieniemy left to take the Washington Commanders OC job last year. He was fired — along with most of Ron Rivera’s staff — after the season.

Since he was available, there was talk from some that Bieniemy could be a candidate to replace Chip Kelly at UCLA. Instead, not only is Bieniemy not remaining in the NFL, but he’s not dropping down to college for a head coach job; he’ll be the offensive coordinator on Foster’s staff.

This is a nice hire for Foster, who gets someone with years of NFL-level experience to help run the offense. It helps that Bieniemy knows Southern California and coached at UCLA 20 years ago.

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