UCLA To Hire Eric Bieniemy As OC

Several changes took place on the Commanders’ sidelines this offseason, including Ron Rivera being replaced as head coach by Dan Quinn. The latter elected not to retain incumbent offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, leaving him with an uncertain coaching future. He has found his next opportunity, however.

Bieniemy is set to join UCLA’s staff on a two-year deal under the title of associate head coach/offensive coordinator, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Pete Thamel report. That report includes excerpts from an email Bieniemy sent to ESPN, in which he noted that he was not fired by the Commanders, and that he simply elected not to stay (though it is unclear whether he was given the chance to stay on as Washington’s OC under Quinn, or if he was asked to take a different position on the offensive staff).

“I have no regrets with the Commanders,” Bieniemy wrote. “Contrary to what some think and what has been put out in the media, I was not fired. I actually just chose not to stay. Learned a lot and that is always a good thing.”

Bieniemy will now work alongside DeShaun Foster, who succeeded Chip Kelly as head coach of the Bruins this winter. The move represents Bieniemy’s first NCAA coaching gig since he worked as Colorado’s OC from 2011-12, and it also marks a return to UCLA, where Bieniemy served as the school’s running backs coach for three seasons. The 54-year-old had been in the NFL since 2013, enjoying a successful run as Kansas City’s RBs coach and later offensive coordinator until 2022. He joined Rivera’s Commanders staff in a move which included play-calling duties.

Washington’s 2023 campaign was driven in large part by the decision to hand the reins to Sam Howell as the team’s starting quarterback. The 2022 fifth-rounder showed promise at times, but by the end of the season he found himself being benched mid-game on more than one occasion. Quinn and the Commanders will move forward with new OC Kliff Kingsbury and, in all likelihood, a signal-caller selected with the No. 2 pick in April’s draft as their new starter.

Despite a less-than-impressive showing in the nation’s capital, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz notes Bieniemy drew interest from a number of NFL teams for a new OC opportunity. He joined the Commanders on a two-year contract, leading some to believe he would simply take the 2024 season off before planning his next move. Instead, he will now hold a pivotal role at UCLA as the program transitions out of the Pac-12 and into the Big Ten.

The 2024 offseason has seen a steady flow of coaches leaving the college ranks and taking lesser positions with NFL staffs. Bieniemy – who has seven years of experience at the NCAA level and 16 in the NFL – will head in the opposite direction with this deal. His reputation as an offensive play-designer was established during his decade on the Chiefs’ staff, a tenure which included a pair of Super Bowl titles. He will now aim to boost his stock with at least a brief period at the college level before a potential NFL return.

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