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UCLA football: With Rocky Seto out, search for defensive coordinator continues

February 5, 2011 |  6:17 pm

Seto_300 Rocky Seto is no longer under consideration for UCLA football's defensive coordinator position, according to a person close to the negotiations who was not authorized to speak on the subject.

Seto, as assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, was offered and accepted the job Tuesday night, but the offer was rescinded the following day, according to the person close to the negotiations. The person said that no reason was given other than UCLA officials decided to go “in another direction.” UCLA officials claimed Saturday that no “official” offer had been made.

On Tuesday evening, the Daily Trojan quoted a Seto text message in which he said, “[I] accepted the position tonight to coordinate at UCLA. Praise the Lord!” The revelation that Seto, a USC assistant coach from 2004-09, was to be the next defensive coordinator brought angry reactions from UCLA fans.

The decision leaves Coach Rick Neuheisel still searching to find a replacement for Chuck Bullough, who was fired on Dec. 18. Neuheisel, who was out of town and unavailable for comment Saturday, appears to have exhausted his A-list candidates.

According to people in the program who are not authorized to talk about the search, Neuheisel approached then Stanford defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who was not interested, and interviewed former Florida defensive co-coordinators Teryl Austin and Chuck Heater. Fangio is now with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, Austin became an assistant with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens and Heater was hired as Temple’s defensive coordinator.

Oklahoma State would not grant Neuheisel permission to speak with Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Bill Young.

Randy Shannon, formerly the coach at Miami, was interviewed three weeks ago but Neuheisel pursued Seto instead.

In other coaching news, Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he will take a week to decide on the offer to become UCLA’s running game coordinator. Negotiations with Mastro are ongoing.

--Chris Foster

Photo: Rocky Seto during his coaching days at USC. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times