Kennedy Polamalu

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Kennedy Polamalu
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Team Minnesota Vikings
Biographical details
Born (1963-11-22) November 22, 1963 (age 53)
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Playing career
1982–1985 USC
Position(s) Fullback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1992–1993 UCLA (GA)
1994–1996 San Diego State (RB/ST)
1997–1998 Colorado (RB)
1999 San Diego State (LB)
2000 USC (RB)
2001 USC (ST)
2002–2003 USC (RB/ST)
2004 Cleveland Browns (RB)
2005–2009 Jacksonville Jaguars (RB)
2010–2012 USC (OC/RB)
2014–2015 UCLA (RB)
2016 UCLA (OC)
2017-present Minnesota Vikings (RB)

Kennedy Polamalu (formerly Kennedy Pola, born November 22, 1963) is an American football coach and former player. He was the offensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins.[1] Prior to that he was the offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans.

College career[edit]

Polamalu was a fullback at USC from 1982 to 1985. His contributions helped the USC Trojans defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, 20–17, in the 1985 Rose Bowl.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

Polamalu coached running backs and special teams for the USC Trojans from 2000 to 2003.[3] He coached Justin Fargas, Hershel Dennis and Tom Malone. Prior to that he coached at the high school level and for University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), San Diego State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He coached the Cleveland Browns in 2004 and the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2005 to 2009.[3] On July 24, 2010, Polamalu accepted a position with USC to become the offensive coordinator. The hiring led Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher to publicly criticize USC head coach, Lane Kiffin, for not following generally accepted National Football League (NFL) protocol: that the head coach or athletic department of the interested team should call the other head coach and let him know that he will be contacting an assistant on their staff. Fisher was upset that Kiffin called and left a voicemail after Polamalu had already accepted the job. Kiffin then explained that he called Polamalu on Friday, July 23, to gauge his interest; after getting Polamalu's positive answer on Saturday, Kiffin called Fisher and left a message.[4] On 26 July 2010, the Titans filed a lawsuit against Kiffin and USC for "maliciously luring" Polamalu away, asking for damages.[5] On December 4, 2013, it was announced that Polamalu was hired to be the running backs coach at UCLA.[6]

On January 13, 2016, UCLA announced that it has promoted Polamalu to offensive coordinator.[7] Following the loss to California on November 26, 2016, Polamalu's contract at UCLA was not renewed.


Polamalu is married to Diane Griffin and has three children K.C., Matthew, and Tre'. He was born the day President Kennedy was assassinated, and was named in his honor. He graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California in 1982 where he also played football and was Student Class President his Senior Year.

Polamalu's brother, Aoatoa Polamalu, played nose tackle at Penn State from 1984 to 1988.[8]

Upon moving to California from American Samoa in the mid-1970s, Kennedy's family shortened their last name to Pola. In 2011, he began the process of legally changing it back to Polamalu while preparing for a return to Samoa. In June,[9] he was part of a contingent that included former USC players Rey Maualuga, Deuce Lutui, Malaefou MacKenzie and others who returned to Samoa for a football camp sponsored by his nephew, former USC Trojans All-American and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.[9] His name change became official in August 2011.


  1. ^ Klein, Gary (February 8, 2013). "Kennedy Polamalu reportedly out as USC running backs coach". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Rose Bowl Game Photo Timeline, 1980-1989, Pasadena Tournament of Roses
  3. ^ a b "Kennedy Pola coach bio". Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  4. ^ Kiffin's approach 'disappoints' Fisher,, July 24, 2010, Accessed July 25, 2010.
  5. ^;other
  6. ^ Sondheimer, Eric (December 4, 2013). "Football: Kennedy Polamalu is headed to UCLA". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ "Football Staff Hires and Promotion". UCLA Athletics. January 13, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Football Opens Against Penn State In Kickoff Classic XVIII". USC Sports Information. 2000-08-21. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  9. ^ a b "Football: Kennedy Pola goes home, changes his name", Pedro Moura, ESPN, June 30, 2011

External links[edit]