Feb. 13, 2008
Frank Gansz Jr., who spent the last two seasons on the staff of the Baltimore Ravens, has been hired to coach Bruin special teams, UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today.
"Frank is an outstanding addition to our staff," said Neuheisel. "Any time you have the opportunity to hire someone who is considered among the best at what he does, you have to take advantage of it. Frank will be a tremendous asset to our special teams."
Gansz, who has an extensive background at the professional and collegiate levels, was the special teams coordinator for the Ravens in 2006 and 2007, coaching with Neuheisel. In 2007, the Ravens placed ninth in the NFL in punt returns (9.7 yards) and 10th in the league in kickoff returns (23.5). In addition, place kicker Matt Stover made 27 of 32 field goals and all 26 PATs. His 27 field goals tied for 10th in the league.
In 2006, Stover led NFL kickers with a 93.3% conversion mark, making 28 of 30 field goals, and ranked fourth among all kickers with 121 points. He was named a first alternate for the Pro Bowl. In addition, linebacker Gary Stills led the NFL with 44 special teams tackles, the second most in NFL history, and was also named a Pro Bowl first alternate. Rookie punter Sam Koch produced just three touchbacks, 30 punts inside the 20 (fifth in NFL). He was second in the league with 12 punts inside the 10.
Gansz, 45, spent the previous five seasons (2001-05) as special teams coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. During that span, Stills became the Chiefs' all-time leader in special teams tackles (148) and Dante Hall was named to the Pro Bowl in both 2002 and '03 as a kick returner and also led the NFL in most kicks for touchdowns (10, six on kickoffs and four on punts). Gansz-led units excelled in blocking punts and kicks, recording four blocked punts from 2001-02 and Kansas City batted away three field goals in two seasons (2002-03).
In 2005, the Chiefs' special teams units ranked fourth in the NFL in average drive start (30.7) and eighth in the league with 1,591 kickoff return yards. Kicker Lawrence Tynes converted two 50-yard FGs for the second time in two years. Hall scored a TD on a kickoff for the fourth straight. In 2004, Hall scored two kickoff return touchdowns for the second straight year and Tynes made two 50-yard FGs in his first NFL season. Kansas City also set single-season franchise records in kickoff returns (75) and yardage (1,820).
In 2003, Gansz's units excelled, leading the NFL with four special teams touchdowns, as Hall scored two kickoff returns and two punt returns for scores, en route to his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. Hall became the first player in NFL history to record a score on a kickoff returrn in four straight games. His touchdown in the divisional playoff game vs. Indianapolis gave him five overall returns on the season. Hall also broke a single-season franchise record with 2,446 combined net yards. Kansas City led the league in both punt return average (16.4) and kick return average (25.4), the first team to do so since Washington in 1995. The 16.4 punt return average broke a 43-year-old team record.
In Gansz' second season with the Chiefs (2002), Hall scored on three kick returns (two punts and one kickoff) to earn his first pro bowl berth. In 2001, the Chiefs blocked two punts and partially blocked a third.
Prior to his tenure in Kansas City, he coached special teams for the Oakland Raiders for two seasons (1998 and 1999), tutoring standouts Desmond Howard, Darrien Gordon and Napoleon Kaufman. He was also coached in the 1999 Senior Bowl.
Gansz spent five seasons (1993-97) as tight ends and special teams coach at the University of Houston, setting a school record for kickoff return average in 1996. His units set another school record with an 87-yard punt return vs. SMU en route to the Conference-USA championship and a trip to the Liberty Bowl vs. Syracuse.
He spent one season (1992) with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League (NFL Europa). The Knights led the league in punt returns, kickoff returns, kickoff coverage and special team touchdowns (four).
Gansz spent two years (1990-91) as tight ends/special teams coach at West Point, two years at the University of Pittsburgh, coaching special teams and the offensive line in 1988 and special teams and the secondary in 1989, and one season (1987) as a graduate assistant at Kansas, working with the wide receivers.
Gansz was a four-year defensive back at The Citadel, graduating with a B.A. in history in 1985. He was born on August 8, 1962. His father, Frank Sr. coached 24 years in the NFL, including two as head coach of the Chiefs (1987-88). He was also an assistant coach at UCLA (1976 and 1977).