UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today that Clark Lea has been hired as an assistant coach. Lea will coach the linebackers and Tim Hundley will coach the secondary. He replaces cornerbacks coach Carnell Lake, who left the staff Monday due to family reasons.
This past season, Lea coached the Bruin linebackers as a second-year graduate assistant. Chuck Bullough, in his first year as defensive coordinator, focused his efforts on the entire defense while Lea was hand-on with the linebacking corps.
“Clark is an outstanding young coach with a very bright future,” said Neuheisel. “I thought he did a fine job this past season with our group of linebackers. In addition, he is a dogged recruiter. Even though he was not allowed to go off-campus, he made a great impression on recruits and their families when they came to campus and built great relationships with several of the young men who signed with us, most notably Aramide Olaniyan.”
Lea (pronounced Lee) also coached as a Bruin graduate assistant under former defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker in 2006, working with Bullough and the linebackers.
In between his two stints as a Bruin coach, he served two seasons (2007 and 2008) as linebackers coach at South Dakota State University and was recruiting coordinator the latter year. He also coached the kickoff coverage unit and assisted with other special teams units. In 2008, the Jackrabbits finished 7-5, playing six teams ranked in the Top 25, and placed third in league play with a 6-2 record. Lea also oversaw the efforts that yielded a recruiting class of 18 in February. In 2007, his three starting linebackers ranked among the top four tacklers in the league and South Dakota State won the Great West Football Conference championship. Two of his players were first-team All-League selections and the third was a second-team choice.
In 2005, he served as an intern for the UCLA staff and was also an assistant football coach at Harvard-Westake High School.
Prior to UCLA, Lea served as an offensive graduate assistant (running backs) at Vanderbilt University in the Spring of 2005. Lea was a three-year letterwinner at Vanderbilt University from 2002-04, the final year as a graduate student, and was a baseball letterman at Belmont University in 2001-02 and Birmingham Southern College in 2000-01. During his collegiate career, Lea was a member of the SEC Honor Roll and an All-Academic SEC honoree. He was also a John Wooden Cup finalist, a trophy awarded by Athletes for a Better World, and a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame honoree. He earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Vanderbilt in 2005 and a Master’s in Political Science from Vanderbilt in 2007.