UCLA expected to hire Ken Norton Jr. as new linebackers coach, per report
Ken Norton Jr. is returning to Westwood.
According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, Norton is expected to be hired by UCLA in the coming days as the program’s new inside linebackers coach. He’ll replace Don Pellum on head coach Chip Kelly’s staff. Pellum, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, is expected to retire from coaching when his contract is up at the end of the month.
SOURCE: UCLA is expected to hire Bruins great Ken Norton Jr as the new linebackers coach. The Bruin Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champ has spent the past decade coaching in the NFL with the last 7 yrs as a defensive coordinator.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 24, 2022
Norton would be the fourth new defensive assistant to join Kelly’s staff this offseason, joining defensive coordinator Bill McGovern, outside linebackers coach Ikaika Malloe, and defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a. Pellum’s departure would mean the last piece of Kelly’s initial staff in 2017 has left the program.
His return would certainly provide a jolt to the program, given the legacy he left as a player at UCLA. Norton played linebacker on four bowl-winning teams from 1984-87, finishing his senior season as an All-American and a Butkus Award finalist.
Norton was on the ballot for the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame class and inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1998.
After a 13-year NFL playing career that featured three Super Bowl rings, Norton began his coaching career at crosstown rival USC. From 2004 to 2009, Norton served on Pete Carroll’s Trojan staff, then jumped to the NFL with Carroll in 2010.
He initially served as the Seattle Seahawks’ linebackers coach for four seasons before being hired by the Raiders as defensive coordinator. In 2018, Norton went back to Seattle to reunite with Carroll as the Seahawks’ DC. They parted ways after the 2021 season.