Mastro hired by UCLA as tight ends and F-backs coach

The shakeup continues.

UCLA announced on Thursday the hiring of former Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro as tight ends and F-backs coach and the firing of defensive line coach Todd Howard, while the defensive coordinator search continues.

Mastro was reported to have been offered the position – which also includes what the official release called “a key role in the continued development of the running component of UCLA’s offense that incorporates elements of the Pistol schemes” – earlier this week, and needed time to consider.

“Jim has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Pistol and will be a great asset as we incorporate many of its run-game principles into our offense,” UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said in the official release. “He has enjoyed great success in the running game and I feel he will work well alongside (new offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach) Mike Johnson, (running backs coach) Wayne Moses and (offensive line coach) Bob Palcic to give us a very cohesive offensive staff.”

Mastro spent 11 seasons with the Wolf Pack and played a primary role in the success of the Pistol offense. Nevada ranked third in the country in rushing in 2010 after leading the nation in 2009.

Mastro, who was Nevada’s recruiting coordinator, has also coached at Idaho, San Jose State and Cal Poly, where he played in the late 1980′s.

His hire seems to solidify the UCLA offensive staff, which added Johnson in January after a parting of ways with now-Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow. The defensive side is in even more turmoil.

With the defensive coordinator position still open and Neuheisel still interviewing candidates, Howard has now been relieved of his duties.

“Todd knew that this was a possibility,” said Neuheisel. “We discussed the situation back in December and decided to wait until after recruiting to make a final decision. I feel that it is in the best interest of our program and also in Todd’s best interest that we part ways at this time. I appreciate all that he has done for UCLA football and I know that he will be successful in his next position.”

Howard had been instrumental in the recruitment of several highly rated defensive linemen, including former Pac-10 defensive player of the year Brian Price and current Bruins Cassius Marsh, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Kevin McReynolds.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Neuheisel gave me by allowing me to stay on staff when he was hired,” said Howard, who was a holdover from Karl Dorrell’s staff. “I knew this might happen and have been planning for this situation.”

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  • Anonymous

    Firing Howard doesn’t seem right. Sounds like the next DC wanted to bring his own guy. Who ever it is, he’d better be one hell of a recruiter.

  • UCLABZ

    “Howard had been instrumental in the recruitment of several highly rated defensive linemen, including former Pac-10 defensive player of the year Brian Price and current Bruins Cassius Marsh, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Kevin McReynolds.”

    Seems like he should have a little Karma in the tank even after last years soft line. I am hoping since they are announcing it now, it means they have a great DC hired and he wants to bring in his own D-line coach.

  • sandiegobruinfan

    @Anon 2:13pm – Sounds about right…so one would expect a DC announcement over the weekend? I see no other reason why CRN would wait to dismiss Howard until now…unless he was THAT vital to getting Kevin McReynolds to come to Westwood.

  • Reformed Droog

    Goodbye, Coach Howard. Best of luck!

    Hello, Coach Mastro. Best of luck!

  • Bruintx

    Seems like the Mastro hire should have been done last year… but better late than never!

  • captainqtp

    I’m happy about the Mastro hire. He is going to have some great talent playing for him. It’ll be nice to get a fresh pair of eyes on guys like Presley, Barr, Thigpen, Fauria, Harkey, and Chandler (yes Chandler I like him as a TE).

    Also, getting a guy with more knowledge of the Pistol is going to help tremendously. We owe Ault a favor. Maybe we can interview him if CRN fails this year.

  • Larry Kerr

    I’m baaaaack….

  • here’s an idea:

    USE FAURIA.

  • Bob

    Oh no, I really hope Larry “You’re Kill’n Me” Kerr will not be our DC again. We need a Rocky Long type D that will aggressively attack from all angles…not the same ol’ prevent that Kerr use to run.

  • http://www.f1junkie.com Gowe Brewin

    Seems like a great hire…I agree with the other guy should have been made last year (Norm prob would have protested)…but wtf, glad to have Coach Mastro on board. RB coach of the year and recruiting coordinator in SoCal for the pack…not too shabby. Rick is doing an awesome job and working his arse off for all us Bruins…thanks Rick! Here are some of Coach Mastros/Wolf Pack relevant stats from last year

    12-1 and WAC Co-Champions
    3rd Nationally – Total Offense (535 YPG)
    3rd Nationally – Rushing Offense (305 YPG)
    7th Nationally – Scoring Offense (42.7 PPG)
    11th Nationally – Fewest Sacks Allowed (0.85 / game)
    Only 3 fumbles lost by running backs in 13 games