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UCLA Football: Joe Tresey hired as Bruins' defensive coordinator

February 15, 2011 | 11:07 am

South Florida assistant coach Joe Tresey has been hired as UCLA’s defensive coordinator, the school announced Tuesday.

Tresey spent the 2009 season as the defensive coordinator at South Florida. The Bulls ranked 24th out of 120 teams nationally in total defense and were 19th in scoring defense. Tresey spent last season as the defensive backs coach for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.

Tresey spent two seasons (2007-08) as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati under current Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly. In 2007,the Bearcats led the nation in turnovers gained (42) and interceptions (26). Cincinnati finished 13th nationally in scoring defense (18.8) and 19th in rush defense (114.2) and put five of 11 defensive starters on the All-Big East team.

In 2008, Cincinnati ranked 31st nationally in total defense (321.9 yards), 19th in rushing defense (115.0) and 25th in scoring defense (20.1 points).

Tresey has also coached at Central Michigan, Akron and the Virginia Military Institute.

The hiring brings a close to a two-month search that appeared to be at an end on a handful of occasions.

UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said last week that “I had a guy picked three times now and circumstances led the search continuing.” That included a reversal on former USC assistant Rocky Seto, who said he was offered the job only to have Neuheisel retract the offer 24 hours later.

Neuheisel said he did not offer Seto the job, but did admit he asked “Rocky for a commitment and he gave it to me.” Neuheisel said that while waiting for approval to officially offer the job to Seto, “I had time to consider a number of factors. I didn’t feel it was a prudent thing to go forward with at this time.”

Neuheisel was close to hiring a coordinator in January, but lost his candidates. Former Florida co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater was hired as Temple’s defensive coordinator. Teryl Austin, who shared the job at Florida with Heater, was hired as a Baltimore Ravens’ assistant coach. San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long was promoted to head coach.

Neuheisel also interviewed former Miami Coach Randy Shannon and Kentucky assistant Steve Brown.

-- Chris Foster