Don Liebig, UCLA Photography
Jerry Neuheisel (Photo: Don Liebig)
LOS ANGELES – Jerry Neuheisel has been promoted to the position of wide receivers coach, UCLA football head coach Chip Kelly announced Wednesday.
Neuheisel, who has spent seven of the past nine seasons in the program as a student-athlete or graduate-assistant coach, has seen the offense achieve numerous milestones during his three seasons on staff.
The 2020 team ranked atop the Pac-12 in receiving touchdowns (18), total offensive touchdowns (31) and first downs per game (24.6) during the shortened season. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson posted the best passing efficiency rating by a Bruin signal caller (156.3) since Drew Olson in 2005. The squad’s total-offense output of 455.0 yards per game was second in the conference and marked an improvement of nearly 50 yards per game from 2019.
Five different UCLA wide receivers logged touchdown catches in 2020. For the second year in a row, Kyle Philips led the team in receptions. His 60 grabs in 2019 represent a program freshman record and place him 11th on the single-season list. Philips became the 27th Bruin to reach the 100-catch plateau, doing so in just 23 games. In 2018, receiver Theo Howard joined the 100 receptions-1,000 receiving yards club at UCLA.
Neuheisel started his coaching career at Texas A&M, where he served as an offensive quality control coach under head coach Kevin Sumlin in 2017. Alongside offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, Neuheisel helped develop then-freshmen quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel. In just his third-career game, Mond became the first true freshman in program history to throw for 300 yards in a contest when he accomplished the feat in a home win over Louisiana. Starkel would go on to shatter the Aggies’ freshman records for completions (42), passing attempts (63) and passing yards (499) in a Belk Bowl shootout with Wake Forest. His 499 passing yards are the second-highest total in program history.
A graduate of Loyola HS in Los Angeles, Neuheisel earned UCLA’s Charles Pike Memorial Award for Outstanding Scout Team Player (offense) at the conclusion of the 2012 season, his first in the program. He registered his initial game experience in 2013 as the Bruins’ backup quarterback and holder.
On Sept. 13, 2014, in relief of injured starter Brett Hundley, Neuheisel led UCLA to a comeback 20-17 win over Texas at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Neuheisel completed 23 of 30 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including the 33-yard game winner to Jordan Payton with 3 minutes left, against the Longhorns. Neuheisel was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Neuheisel, a nine-time UCLA Athletic Director’s Honor Roll member and four-year Pac-12 All-Academic honoree, continued his football career abroad. He led the Obic Seagulls of the Japanese X League to the Japan X Bowl in 2016, completing 67.5% of his passing attempts for 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Neuheisel was married to his wife, Nicole, this past summer. He was born to UCLA graduates Susan and Rick at UCLA Medical Center. Rick Neuheisel played quarterback for the Bruins from 1981-83 before embarking on a coaching career at his alma mater in 1986. Stints as a graduate assistant, quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach preceded his first head-coaching job at Colorado, where he guided the Buffaloes from 1995-98. He also served at the helm of the University of Washington football program (1999-2002) before returning to UCLA as head coach from 2008-2011.