Full Jim Mora hiring story

For the first time since the late-1940s, someone might need to show the new UCLA head coach around Westwood.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero announced the hiring of former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim L. Mora on Saturday morning, concluding a 12-day head coaching search.

Guerrero said the contract was a five-year deal worth approximately $12 million plus bonuses and perks, a substantial bump from former head coach Rick Neuheisel’s $1.25 million per year. The new deal puts UCLA in the upper-tier of the conference’s coaching salaries.

“I am extremely excited that Jim Mora Jr. has accepted the position of head football coach here at UCLA,” Guerrero said in a conference call with reporters on Saturday morning. “He brings with him tremendous football acumen, of course having coached in the NFL for over 20 years. He is high-energy, hard-nosed, disciplined and organized. He’s coached defense his whole life, and that bodes well for us with the kind of offensive firepower we see in our conference.”

Mora’s defensive expertise, sharpened through six different stints as a defensive assistant in the NFL, should provide a stark contrast to the offensive-minded nature of two of the Pac-12 conference’s newest members, Washington State’s Mike Leach and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez. Mora spent more than 25 years in the NFL, including 18 years as an assistant coach before becoming head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2004. Mora led Atlanta to an 11-5 record and an appearance in the NFC championship game in his first season, but he went just 15-17 in his next two years before being fired. After a two-year stint as an assistant with Seattle, Mora assumed the head coaching position in 2009 and went 5-11 before being replaced by Pete Carroll.

Mora is set to arrive in Los Angeles early next week as he concludes his broadcasting duties, but he is unsure of his role for the team’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl preparation. Interim head coach Mike Johnson, who is reportedly set to interview for the vacant Akron coaching job sometime during the week, will maintain control in the meantime. Johnson coached for Mora in Atlanta from 2004-05.

“I’ve only been on the job for an hour here, so there are a lot of things we certainly have to solidify,” Mora said on Saturday morning. “We need to decide the best way to go forward. We want to make is this: We want to make sure players and coaches who have worked so hard to win the Pac-12 South, to earn a bowl bid, can enjoy that experience.”

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  • Ley

    I feel a little more confident with Dan;s hire of Mora after reading a little more of the transcript of his resume and intent. I’m sure the boys over at the Big Bang Theory (Bruin Nation) will spin it in to a negative . Solid hire and lets see what type of coaching staff he can put together?
    Go Bruins.
    Thanks Jon keep em’ coming

  • PV Bruin

    I hope UCLA really turns thing around this time…

    Let the show begin!!! Just this time please do not mention anything about monopoly ending unless we beat SC couple times… GO Bruins!!!

  • Henry

    I am glad that UCLA has a new football coach. I like the new coach but still can’t stand Dan Guerrerror. The future looks better today.

    I can’t imagine that UCLA football can’t get any worse. We have not done much for at least a decade. I hope our team will get better really soon. Let’s continue to believe in UCLA football and welcome Coach Mora to our Bruin family. Let’s give him more support. Unity creates strength.

  • BruinBear

    Looks like THE key/necessary staff hire will be an experienced and aggressive recruiter with extensive connections.

  • socalalan

    “Playoffs, I just hope we can win a game”… Jim Mora, perfect hire for the Ruins. Good luck wit that.

  • ucla-of-the-rockies

    WESTWOOD (AP)–UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero is the most relieved man in Southern California.
    “I haven’t slept in 12 days!” said Guerrero, throwing back his second Red Bull of a five-minute interview. “I mean, there you go, Bruin-land … I know it ain’t much of a present, but Merry Christmas. I tried!”
    After his travel itinery was discussed, several glaring destinations stood out.
    Las Vegas: 2 days (“What happens there, stays there.”)
    Amsterdam: 3 days (“What happens there, REALLY stays there … and hey, we almost hired the first NCAA football coach from a foreign country — man, did he know futbol. You know, soccer.”
    Mexico City: “7 days (“Home for the holidays, you know?”)
    And what about the trip to actually seal the deal with Jim L. Mora?
    “Well, ah … that was done just before midnight over the phone!” said Guerrero, sporting several strange stains on his sport coat and a cigarette burn on his tie. “I mean, we were all basically ripped in the office, you know? It was like, well, hell yeah you can come coach UCLA!
    “Playoffs? Playoffs? Playoffs? … I mean, we don’t have any stinking playoffs in college football! So, you’ll be fine, I told him.”
    Then my secretary whisper to me that we were actually hiring the younger Mora.
    “Damn! It’s tough to keep things straight!” Guerrero said. “Then I joked with him … hey, as long as it’s not Mora-the-same, you know?!?
    “I think some of my antics help kinda helped break the ice around here a bit.”
    And as for Guerrero’s future:
    “Hell, I’ve already been let go,” he said. “I’m just working on my buy-out … they told me to bring someone in before Christmas, so there you go! Don’t worry about that little shit of his overall NFL record, or being fired in favor of Pete Carroll.
    “Well, now I’ve got to start getting busy with hoops. Ben Howland seems hell-bent on filling every other Western U.S. team’s Christmas needs at the forward spot, Josh Smith was in line at McDonald’s in front of me late last night and I actually saw him order 10 Big Macs with a diet Coke?”
    “Dude! I gotta get to bed!”

  • Women’s Studies ’78

    Jim Mora is a fine humanitarian. He is going to donate all proceeds from the Fighting the Hunger Bowl to food banks.I was pleased to hear him speak forcibly on gender equity issues. Dan Guerrero has made an excellent selection. It’s about time to get our priorities correct.