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Monday, October 20, 2014         

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UCLA finds its football coach: Jim L. Mora

By Chris Foster

Los Angeles Times

POSTED:



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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