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UCLA finds its football coach: Jim L. Mora

By Chris Foster

Los Angeles Times

LAST UPDATED: 08:42 a.m. HST, Dec 10, 2011

LOS ANGELES >> UCLA has reached an agreement to hire former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim L. Mora, according to a person familiar with the situation who is not authorized to speak on the subject.

UCLA is expected to make a formal announcement on Saturday, and he is to be introduced next week at a news conference.

Mora and Athletic Director Dan Guerrero were not available for comment.

Mora was born in Los Angeles and his father, Jim Mora, was an assistant coach at UCLA in 1974.

Mora, 50, takes over a program that was 21-29 in four seasons under Rick Neuheisel, who was fired on Nov. 28. UCLA is 6-7 this season, having most recently lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference championship game last week. The Bruins will next play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at San Francisco's AT&T Park on Dec. 31, with offensive coordinator Mike Johnson serving as interim coach.

The hire moves UCLA away from its time-worn tradition of hiring former Bruins assistant coaches and players. The last head coach hired without UCLA ties was Red Sanders in 1949.

Mora, who spent the last two years as an analyst with the NFL Network, showed interest in the job from the start and met with UCLA officials twice.

This is the first college head coaching job for Mora, who spent the 1984 season as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington, where he played football. The rest of his experience is in the NFL, as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, and as a head coach with the Falcons and Seahawks.

Mora was 26-22 with the Falcons from 2004 to 2006. Atlanta reached the NFC championship game in 2004, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10. The Seahawks had a 5-11 record in 2009 in Mora's only season as head coach.

He was offered the Washington Redskins' job in 2007, when he was a Seattle assistant, but turned it down.

Mora takes over a UCLA program that has wallowed in mediocrity since the Bruins' last Rose Bowl appearance following the 1998 season.

The 13 seasons UCLA has gone without a Rose Bowl appearance is the longest in school history. The Bruins have not been ranked for 75 weeks, also the longest stretch in school history.

UCLA has won more than eight games only once in the last 13 seasons, leading to the firings of head coaches Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrell and Neuheisel.

Before deciding on Mora, UCLA officials approached Boise State coach Chris Petersen, who turned down the job. They also reached out to Miami coach Al Golden, who told them he was not interested. Guerrero flew to Houston to meet with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin on Dec. 3, but Sumlin was not offered the job.

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Manapua_Man wrote:
UCLA found someone fast. UH should try for Boise's Chris Petersen.
on December 10,2011 | 08:55AM
Anonymous wrote:
That would be nice but what would be Petersen's incentive be to coach at Hawaii. Besides, Hawaii can't pay the salary Boise is paying him. He makes approximately 1.5 million plus incentives a year at Boise. What is Hawaii going to pay him? Maybe a million. Take a pay cut and move to a higher cost of living area? Makes no sense. I wish the Warriors could get a high profile coach but the reality is Hawaii will have to probably settle for an assistant coach that wants to get a head coaching job. I like Miano, Brian Norwood, Norm Chow and Ken Niumatololo. However, Chow and Niumatalolo would cost to much. UH is historically cheap in paying coaches. Bottom line is you get what you pay for. I wish they could keep the local kids home, but who can blame them for going away to college and playing at big time programs. I guess I would if I had the opportunity.
on December 10,2011 | 11:02AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
Well, never hurts to ask. I'm kind of concerned that UH is going to rely on the opinions of a "committee" made up of people who are not college football experts. They probably would look only look at applicants who have a "Hawaii connection" and have a "laid back" mentality. Nothing wrong with that... but this single minded bias might blindside them to reject someone who might have been good for the program.
on December 10,2011 | 01:02PM
Manapua_Man wrote:
I think it's going to take until some time next year before UH names a new head coach. Probably will take them the rest of this month to figure out who should be on the "selection committee" made up of people who probably don't attend the games anyway.
on December 10,2011 | 02:39PM
gth wrote:
Why is there a selection committee to begin with. Can't Donovan do the job himself like other univertisty ad's. That's why Hawaii is considered manini
on December 10,2011 | 08:36PM
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