Former USC fullback and longtime assistant Kennedy Polamalu found himself in rival colors Saturday. Hired as UCLA’s new running backs coach, he returned to the place where he got his start as a graduate assistant in 1992.
“Believe me, I was as shocked when I got the phone call as everyone else,” he said. “I’m still kind of in shock.”
Though he spent seven seasons across two stints on the Trojans’ staff, his wife and in-laws are Bruin alums. He got plenty of teasing about seeing “the light.” As for all the USC players he had coached? “They said, ‘Coach, you’re not the enemy; you’re an opponent now.’ I appreciate that.”
The 50-year-old passed the NCAA’s recruiting certification test on Friday — “I did score 100” — and will begin looking for prospects once he flies out Sunday night.
He also said he understands the connection his new players had with their former coach, Steve Broussard, and wants to give them time to warm up to him.
“I’ve told them I won’t let them down,” he said. “I’m the type of man that, this relationship will go beyond football. Hopefully, 10, 20, 30 years from now, we’ll still have this close relationship.”