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D’Anton Lynn announced as UCLA football’s new defensive coordinator

Former Baltimore Ravens safeties coach D’Anton Lynn holds a football before a game. UCLA football announced the hire of Lynn as its new defensive coordinator Monday morning. (Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

By Sam Settleman

Feb. 27, 2023 11:51 a.m.

The Bruins officially announced their new defensive coordinator Monday morning, alongside other title changes on the defensive side of the ball.

UCLA football coach Chip Kelly declared that D’Anton Lynn will take over as defensive coordinator, replacing Bill McGovern. Lynn – the 33-year-old son of former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn – holds no experience as a defensive coordinator, but has spent time with five NFL teams, most recently as the safeties coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

“We are excited to add D’Anton to our staff as defensive coordinator,” Kelly said in a statement released by UCLA Athletics on Monday. “His energy and enthusiasm, along with his experience, will make an immediate impact. I look forward to watching him develop our players both on and off the field.”

McGovern spent his first season as the Bruins’ defensive coordinator in 2022, taking over for Jerry Azzinaro, whose final season in Westwood culminated in UCLA being ranked 107th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game in 2021.

But McGovern ultimately missed much of the 2022 season with health concerns. While he will no longer occupy the defensive coordinator role, McGovern will remain with the team as the director of football administration.

“We are grateful to Billy and his family for their commitment to our program,” Kelly said in the statement. “We have the utmost respect for his leadership and character and we look forward to having him continue to help us in his new role.”

Lynn’s hire will buck a trend of experienced defensive coordinators hired by Kelly at UCLA. His safeties group in Baltimore contributed to the third-best scoring defense in the NFL last season.

A former All-Big Ten cornerback at Penn State, Lynn has spent much of his coaching career over the last decade specializing in the secondary. 

“I’m excited to welcome D’Anton Lynn and his family to Westwood,” said UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond in the statement. “He comes highly regarded for his character, values and commitment to developing young men.”

The defensive coordinator hire comes after UCLA already announced the arrival of a new cornerbacks coach earlier in the offseason. In January, Kodi Whitfield – who spent time as a graduate assistant with the Bruins in 2020 and 2021 – was hired to take over the cornerbacks at UCLA after a short stint as safeties coach at Sacramento State.

Alongside the announcement of Lynn’s hire, the program announced title changes for DeShaun Foster, Ikaika Malloe and Brian Norwood. 

Foster will add the title of associate head coach alongside his prior role as running backs coach, while Malloe will take over the defensive line after the departure of former defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a. With Whitfield in the fold, Norwood will move from defensive backs coach to safeties coach in addition to his role as assistant head coach and passing game coordinator. 

UCLA’s revamped staff on the defensive side of the ball will attempt to bolster a group that ranked 87th in the country in total defense and tied for 90th in the nation in scoring defense with almost 30 points allowed per game.

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Sam Settleman | Sports editor
Settleman was the 2022-2023 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and gymnastics beats. He was previously an assistant editor on the gymnastics, women's soccer, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the gymnastics and women's water polo beats.
Settleman was the 2022-2023 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and gymnastics beats. He was previously an assistant editor on the gymnastics, women's soccer, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the gymnastics and women's water polo beats.
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