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Kennedy Polamalu
Running Backs

BIOGRAPHY

Kennedy Polamalu rejoined the NFL ranks in 2017, and brought 25 years of coaching experience, including 6 seasons leading the Browns (2004) and Jaguars (2005-09) RBs, to the Vikings staff. Before joining Minnesota, Polamalu served 1 year as the offensive coordinator at UCLA, where he began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1992. Prior to being elevated to offensive coordinator, Polamalu coached the Bruins’ RBs for 2 seasons (2014-15).

Under Polamalu’s guidance, RB Paul Perkins became the 1st Bruin since DeShaun Foster (2000-01) to register consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and the 1st player at his position in program history to record 80 career receptions. Perkins, who was selected by the New York Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft, earned 2nd-Team All-Pac-12 recognition after rushing for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs as a senior. In 2014, Perkins experienced a breakout campaign, becoming the 2nd player in team history to lead the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,575 yards (2nd-highest total in school history).

Kennedy Polamalu rejoined the NFL ranks in 2017, and brought 25 years of coaching experience, including 6 seasons leading the Browns (2004) and Jaguars (2005-09) RBs, to the Vikings staff. Before joining Minnesota, Polamalu served 1 year as the offensive coordinator at UCLA, where he began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1992. Prior to being elevated to offensive coordinator, Polamalu coached the Bruins’ RBs for 2 seasons (2014-15).

Under Polamalu’s guidance, RB Paul Perkins became the 1st Bruin since DeShaun Foster (2000-01) to register consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and the 1st player at his position in program history to record 80 career receptions. Perkins, who was selected by the New York Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft, earned 2nd-Team All-Pac-12 recognition after rushing for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs as a senior. In 2014, Perkins experienced a breakout campaign, becoming the 2nd player in team history to lead the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,575 yards (2nd-highest total in school history).

Prior to his 2nd UCLA stint, Polamalu was the offensive coordinator and RBs coach at his alma mater, USC, from 2010-12. In Polamalu’s system, QB Matt Barkley became the all-time leading passer in school and conference history, throwing for 12,327 yards and 116 TDs. In 2011, Barkley finished 6th in the Heisman Trophy voting after completing 308 of 445 passes for 3,528 yards, 39 TDs (school record) and a 69.2% completion rate (school record), leading the Trojans to a #6 finish in the AP poll. That same season, RB Curtis McNeal received All-Pac-12

Honorable Mention after gaining 1,005 yards and 6 TDs on 145 carries (6.9 average), becoming the 27th player in program history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

Before his return to the college ranks, Polamalu coached the RBs in Jacksonville (2005-09) and Cleveland (2004). The Jaguars totaled the 3rd-most rushing yards (133.7 ypg) and 2nd-most rushing TDs (95) in the league from 2005-09, and 2

Jacksonville RBs earned Pro Bowl nods during that span: Fred Taylor (2007) and Maurice Jones-Drew (2009). In his Pro Bowl season under Polamalu, Jones-Drew rushed for 1,391 yards (4th in the NFL) and 15 TDs (2nd).

During his lone season in Cleveland, Polamalu coached with Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson, who led the LBs and defensive line, respectively. With Polamalu leading the backfield in 2004, the Browns were 1 of 7 NFLs team with multiple 500-yard rushers: Lee Suggs (744) and William Green (585).

Polamalu joined USC for the 2000-03 seasons, when he was the Trojans’ RBs coach (2000), special teams coordinator (2001) and special teams coordinator and RBs coach (2002-03). Prior to joining the USC coaching staff, Polamalu served as Colorado’s RBs coach for 2 seasons (1997-98) between stints at San Diego State as the LBs coach (1999) and special teams and RBs coach (1994-96). Polamalu gained his 1st coaching experience on the college level as a graduate assistant at UCLA, where he worked with the DBs and special teams. Following the 1993 season, the Bruins earned a share of the Pac-10 title and competed in the Rose Bowl.

Polamalu began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Crespi High School in Encino, CA, where he stayed for 3 seasons (1986-88) before coaching at Westlake High School in Westlake Village, CA, for 3 years (1989-91). While at Crespi, Polamanu helped lead the Carmelite to the 1986 CIF Division I championship in his 1st year with the team.

Polamalu’s nephew, Troy Polamalu, played 12 seasons and won 2 Super Bowls with the Steelers; his brother, Ao Polamalu, played football at Penn State (1985-87); his nephew, Nicky Sualua played RB for the Bengals and Cowboys after his college career at Ohio State; and 3 of his nephews played college football: Leie Sualua (Oregon), Joe Polamalu (Oregon State) and Kaio Aumua (UTEP).

Polamalu, who received his bachelor’s degree in history from USC in 1987, attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, where he was an All-American in football, member of the basketball and track teams and served as the student body president. He and his wife, Diane, have 3 children: K.C., Matthew Aoatoa, and Raymond Tre. Born on 11/22/63, Polamalu is a native of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

 

Polamalu’s Background

Player

1982-85.......... USC // FB/LB

Coaching

1986-88.............. Crespi HS // Assistant Coach

1989-91.............. Westlake HS // Assistant Coach

1992-93.............. UCLA // Graduate Assistant

1994-96.............. San Diego State // Special Teams/RBs

1997-98.............. Colorado // RBs

1999.................. San Diego State // LBs

2000................. USC // RBs

2001.................. USC // Special Teams Coordinator

2002-03............. USC // Special Teams Coordinator/RBs

2004................. Cleveland Browns // RBs

2005-09............. Jacksonville Jaguars // RBs

2010-12.............. USC // Offensive Coordinator/RBs

2014-15.............. UCLA // RBs

2016.................. UCLA // Offensive Coordinator

2017-                  Minnesota Vikings // RBs