Prodigal Son, DeShaun Foster Returns Home To UCLA Bruins In Slam Dunk Hire

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There is a new man in Westwood and a new figurehead of the UCLA Bruins. If they gave out championships for introductory press conferences, DeShaun Foster would be getting ring-fitted right now.

In one of the most energizing days in modern UCLA football history, Foster, who was hired Monday morning after a decisive 72-hour process orchestrated by Athletic Director Martin Jarmond, had Bruin Nation eating out of his hand. Here are three major takeaways from Foster’s remarks:

DeShaun Foster Was Emotional

NCAA Football: UCLA Head Coach DeShaun Foster Introductory Press Conference
Feb 13, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; DeShaun Foster answers questions from media after he was introduced as the UCLA Bruins head football coach during a press conference at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Foster found himself crying on numerous occasions, including at the very outset of the press conference sparking master of ceremonies and Los Angeles Football Network guest host, Wayne Cook, to comedically state “You can’t be crying already!”

But it was evident to all those around that the power in Foster’s words and the soul in his emotions illustrated being UCLA’s head coach was a calling, a dream job, and an unbridled destiny. This is a destination job for Foster, and his love for his alma mater UCLA was palpable.  

Process Oriented

There’s a new Dr. DRE in Los Angeles. Foster didn’t set numerical expectations or generic qualifiers on championships as most coaches would in this situation. Rather, he emphasized his three philosophical pillars for success: discipline, respect & enthusiasm (DRE). The message was loud and clear – if players and coaches immerse themselves in the process, the outcomes will naturally follow. 

UCLA Bruins Will Be Inclusive

“You’re gonna see it, you’re gonna feel it.” That’s what Foster said when talking about Rose Bowl attendance. He spoke about NIL being imperative, having alums back around the program again, and creating a program culture that all fans, boosters, and partners can engage with pride.

Furthermore, he stressed about going national with recruiting while also ensuring the Bruins’ “backyard” of Southern California was sizably extracted. He even had time to meet with UCLA’s Men of Westwood collective and already has produced a video. 

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There was a sense given player attendance and social media support that nobody would be transferring from Westwood after this announcement. You could tell for the first time in a long time, that Bruins felt re-connected to the program and everyone feels part of the ride. Foster might not have been the coach every Bruin wanted, but he’s undoubtedly the coach every Bruin needed.