UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone to leave for Texas A&M

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is on his way out after four years. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is on his way out after four years. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone will soon be coaching at Texas A&M, the team that hosts the Bruins to open the 2016 season.

The news was first reported on Wednesday night by FootballScoop. Mazzone’s move reunites him with Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin, with whom he worked in the mid-1990s; both were on the same staff at Minnesota, coaching quarterbacks and receivers, respectively.

Texas A&M parted ways with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital on Sunday. TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham had also been connected to the vacancy.

Mazzone has been a part of Jim Mora’s staff for four years at UCLA, and was the team’s highest-paid assistant at just over $654,000 in annual base pay. His most recent contract extension — a two-year deal signed in 2014 — also gave him a $130,500 retention bonus this past year, and another $165,250 on Jan. 1. ESPN reports that Texas A&M offered him a three-year deal worth more than $1 million annually.

The 58-year-old was hospitalized in mid-December, but returned to the team and called plays in the Bruins’ 37-29 loss to Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl the day after Christmas.

Texas A&M will be the 10th college football team that Mazzone has worked for as a full-time assistant.

His son, UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, is expected to head to College Station and work in the same capacity.

Pac-12 links: Cal stadium debt a ‘noose around the campus’ neck’

» Cal’s newly renovated Memorial Stadium has a marvelous press box view of the San Francisco Bay, but the price may be looming, insurmountable debt. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the school would still be short $132 million even if it sold all 2,902 seats. Stagnated at 1,857, Berkeley is now spending $300,000 a year to “professionalize” sales efforts.

The campus had originally planned to raise $270 million of the $321 million cost through ticket sales.

The whole project seemed ill-conceived from the beginning, what with the reliance on non-binding pledges. An absolute face palm of a quote from John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance: “They learned a commitment is not a commitment until you have a binding document. Now we feel we’re better off.”

In other news, the Bears landed 2014 quarterback Luke Rubenzer, a Scottsdale, Ariz., product rated three stars by Rivals.com. He has generated at least one premature comparison to Russell Wilson, which is fine but does little to avert crippling debt.

» Tucson’s city prosecutor dropped domestic violence charges against Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey, who had been allegedly involved in a December incident with his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend. Carey was an All-American for the Wildcats last season, a card he won’t hesitate to use in the face of trouble.

» Former Washington State athlete and New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason wrote marvelously about his battle with ALS in a guest spot on Peter King’s MMQB. Continue reading “Pac-12 links: Cal stadium debt a ‘noose around the campus’ neck’” »