UCLA's Official Release on Jim Mastro:
Jim Mastro, who enjoyed great success the past 11 years as running backs coach at the University of Nevada, has joined the UCLA football staff, Bruin head coach Rick Neuheisel announced today.
Mastro will coach tight ends and F-backs at UCLA and will also play a key role in the continued development of the running component of UCLA's offense that incorporates elements of the Pistol schemes.
"Jim has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Pistol and will be a great asset as we incorporate many of its run-game principles into our offense," said Neuheisel. "He has enjoyed great success in the running game and I feel he will work well alongside Mike Johnson (offensive coordinator, wide receivers), Wayne Moses (running backs) and Bob Palcic (offensive line) to give us a very cohesive offensive staff."
Mastro, 45, spent the last 11 seasons at Nevada, building one of the top running attacks in the nation. In five of the last 10 seasons, a Wolf Pack running back has led the Western Athletic Conference in rushing. In the last four years, he has helped Nevada running backs produce five 1,000-yard seasons.
This past season, senior Vai Taua recorded his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, finishing seventh nationally with an average of 123.9 yards per contest. As a team, Nevada ranked No. 3 nationally with an average of 292.2 yards per game. The Wolf Pack led the nation in 2009 and ranked third nationally in 2008.
Mastro's 1,000-yard rushers at Nevada included: Taua (2008, 2009, 2010); Luke Lippincott (2007, 2009); B.J. Mitchell (2005); Chance Kretschmer (2001, 2003); and Matt Milton (2002). Five of those running backs also led the WAC in rushing: Taua (2008 and 2010); Lippincott (2007); Mitchell (2005); and Kretschmer (2001).
The success in the Nevada backfield began in Mastro's second season (2001), when he developed Kretschmer, a walk-on redshirt freshman, into the nation's leading rusher. The following year, with Kretschmer out with injury, Mastro guided Milton to 1,000-yard season.
The creation of the Pistol offense by head coach Chris Ault began the latest onslaught by Nevada backs. Beginning with Mitchell in 2005, Nevada has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher and a first-team All-WAC selection in each season since with the exception of 2006. That year, Robert Hubbard came four yards short of the 1,000-yard mark.
Mastro also served as Nevada's recruiting coordinator and oversaw several top recruiting classes. He enjoyed tremendous success recruiting the Bay Area during most of his tenure and had recently been focused on Orange County.
Prior to coaching at Nevada, Mastro was on the staff at Idaho for two years (1998-99). During his tenure in Moscow, he coached the 1998 Big West Player of the Year and Idaho's career rushing leader, Joel Thomas.
Prior to that, Mastro was a linebackers and special teams coach at San Jose State in 1995. He spent one season (1994) as the defensive run game coordinator at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was the running backs coach for five years (1989-93) prior to that at his alma mater. His coaching career started at Cal Poly SLO in 1989, while he was completing his undergraduate degree.
Mastro, who earned his Bachelor's degree in Physical Education at Cal Poly in 1994, earned two letters as a running back at Cal Poly (1987-88). Prior to that, he was a starting running back at San Jose City College (1985-86), earning All-America honorable mention as a sophomore.
Mastro and his wife, Terri, have one daughter, Cheryl, and two sons, Mike and Ronnie.
Jim Mastro's statement, released by Nevada
"First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Ault for his dedication and example over the years. He's a great, great coach and an even better person. Nevada football, and much of the institution that makes up the University of Nevada, wouldn't be anything like it is today if it wasn't for his tireless work ethic. I've been very fortunate to have learned from such a great individual. He gave me the opportunity and I could never thank him enough for that.
"I also want to thank Wolf Pack fans for their support. They've been tremendous, and the rise of the Nevada program nationally has been the greatest years of my coaching career. We've done some amazing things here, and there's not a coach across the country that hasn't noticed it. Reno is my home too, and I not only plan to keep my house here in the area, but return when my career is over.
"UCLA is just a great, great opportunity for me to take on a new challenge. And that's really what this comes down to. I felt like I had the greatest job in the world at Nevada and I was working for the best head coach in America. What he accomplished here with so little is absolutely amazing and it has readied me for this move. That's why even contemplating a different move was so difficult. But Coach Neuheisel has set a new bar for me with this opportunity. I have new goals already, and that's something I am now focused on.
"I have always said that when Coach Ault felt the time was right for me to move on he would be the first to tell me it's time to go. That is exactly what he told me this morning, and that alone shows the type of man, coach and person he is.
"Again, it has been an honor to work for him and learn from him."
UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel today announced that Todd Howard will no longer be part of the Bruin coaching staff.
"Todd knew that this was a possibility," said Neuheisel. "We discussed the situation back in December and decided to wait until after recruiting to make a final decision. I feel that it is in the best interest of our program and also in Todd's best interest that we part ways at this time. I appreciate all that he has done for UCLA football and I know that he will be successful in his next position."
"I appreciate the opportunity Coach Neuheisel gave me by allowing me to stay on staff when he was hired," said Howard. "I knew this might happen and have been planning for this situation."
Howard coached the Bruin defensive linemen for the past five seasons after joining the program from the Jacksonville Jaguars.