Rumors linking Jim Mora to the San Diego Chargers first started circulating two weeks ago, but a Los Angeles Times report Tuesday confirmed that the team had contacted UCLA’s head coach.
The Chargers officially fired Norv Turner last Monday, opening a head coaching vacancy at the place where Mora first began his NFL career in 1985. Still, a move back to the pros after just one year would be stunning. Mora had serious doubts about his coaching career after being fired by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 season, and said he felt rejuvenated coaching college players.
“You’re able to have an impact on their lives,” he said a day before the Holiday Bowl. “The concrete hasn’t hardened on who they are as individuals. They still need you. That’s a good thing. We all want to be needed.”
The Chargers’ pursuit puts pressure on UCLA to increase pay for Mora and his assistants, as well as improve the Bruins’ practice facilities.
According to USA Today, Mora was one of the conference’s lowest-paid coaches in 2012. He made $1.935 million, which put him above of Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), Mike Riley (Oregon State) and Jon Embree (ex-Colorado). (Stanford coach David Shaw’s salary was undisclosed.)
Mora is in line for pay increases each season through his five-year, $11.235-million contract. UCLA paid his assistants $2.17 million last year, and the Times’ report indicated that offensive line coach and star recruiter Adrian Klemm has already been offered a $50,000 raise that would raise his salary to $325,000. Mora would need to pay $3 million if he quit before Jan. 16, and $2.5 million the year after that.
Plans for a new football facility will also likely be announced in the next two weeks.