Rick Neuheisel announces staff changes

UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel announced Thursday the hiring of Jim Mastro and dismissal of defensive line coach Todd Howard.

Mastro, who served as Nevada's running backs coach the last 11 years, will work with tight ends and F-backs. According to the statement released by the school, Mastro 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,” Neuheisel said in the statement. “He has enjoyed great success in the running game and I feel he will work well alongside (offensive coordinator) Mike Johnson, (running back coach) Wayne Moses and (offensive line coach) Bob Palcic to give us a very cohesive offensive staff.”

Howard had worked with UCLA's defensive line the last five seasons. The move comes 54 days after the firing of former defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough. Neuheisel has interviewed a number of candidates but has yet to hire a replacement.

“Todd knew that this was a possibility,” Neuheisel said. “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.”