Jeff Ulbrich joined the UCLA staff in January, 2012 after a playing and coaching career in the NFL. He was on staff with the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 and 2011 seasons as a special teams assistant before arriving in Westwood.
After originally joining the Bruin staff as linebackers and special teams coach, Ulbrich was elevated to Assistant Head Coach in the spring of 2012, in addition to his duties with the linebackers and special teams. In February of 2014, he was promoted to Defensive Coordinator. Two of his linebacker group, Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt, were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ulbrich's defensive unit was ranked third in the Pac-12 in total defense for 2014. It was led by the Butkus and Lott IMPACT Trophy winner linebacker Eric Kendricks. The senior topped the nation in solo tackles per game and was sixth in total tackles. Kendricks also finished his career as UCLA's all-time tackles leader, breaking a record mark which had been set in 1975-78 by linebacker Jerry Robinson. Seven defenders (two defensive linemen, two linebackers, there defensive backs) earned first or second-team all-conference honors. Four opponents were limited to less than 80 yards rushing during the 2014 campaign.
Named the 2013 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year, Ulbrich guided the Bruins special teams unit to one of the top rankings in the country in each of his first two seasons. Under Ulbrich, UCLA special teams led the country in blocked kicks and punts over the previous two seasons. UCLA also joined Stanford, Florida and Florida State as the only FBS teams to finish the regular season among the top-20 nationally in both kickoffs and kickoff returns.
Instrumental in the development of one of the top linebacking corps in the country for 2013, Ulbrich helped lead the conversion of Barr, an H-back before Ulbrich stepped on campus, to outside linebacker. Barr, who transformed into one of the top pass rushers in college football over that span, was named a finalist for the Bednarik and Lombardi awards and won the Lott IMPACT Trophy while also garnering consensus All-American honors in 2013. He was selected with the ninth overall pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Minnesota.
Ulbrich also worked with Myles Jack, Zumwalt and Kendricks in 2013. Jack earned Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. after totaling 75 tackles, seven for a loss, and a team-high 13 passes defended. Zumwalt ranked second on the team with 93 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and capped off his career by being named Sun Bowl-Co-MVP. He was invited to the Senior Bowl and NFL combine and selected in th sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh. Kendricks led UCLA with 106 tackles, eclipsing the century mark in tackles for the second consecutive season.
In his first season with the Bruins, Ulbrich helped elevate the performance of the special teams units in 2012. Punter Jeff Locke, now with the Minnesota Vikings, was named first-team all-conference and David Allen was selected to the second-team all-conference squad for his play on special teams. UCLA ranked 13th in the country in net punting (39.94) and improved its own punt return average by almost six yards per attempt from the previous season.Ulbrich's linebacker group also excelled. Barr was ranked among the national leaders in sacks all season long (finished second) and Kendricks led the Pac-12 in tackle average and ranked ninth in the nation with his 10.79 per game mark. Zumwalt finished fourth on the squad with 66 tackles.
In 2010, Seahawks kicker Olindo Mare matched the sixth-longest field goal streak with 30 straight. The kickoff return units ranked third in the NFL and the kickoff cover group ranked fifth in the league.
A linebacker as a player, Ulbrich was drafted out of the University of Hawai'i by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round (86th pick overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. He won a starting linebacker job with the 49ers in 2001 and was on the team for 10 seasons, playing for head coaches Steve Mariucci, Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary. In 2007, Ulbrich took a backup role to first round pick Patrick Willis, and also had an impact on special teams. He was placed on injured reserve in October, 2009 and decided to end his playing career. Ulbrich was hired by the Seattle Seahawks as a special teams assistant on January 29, 2010.
Ulbrich attended junior college and went on to become a two-year starter at the University of Hawaii. He earned All-WAC first-team selection at middle linebacker and was a team co-captain as a senior. He led the conference with a school season record 169 tackles that season, setting a school record with 127 assisted tackles. He ranked third in the league with eight sacks for 67 yards and totaled 15 tackles for loss (58 yards) and made two interceptions. In his junior season, he finished with 41 tackles, including a sack.
RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITIES -- West Bay and Hawai'i.