Those brief flirtations turned out to be meaningless. Jim Mora isn’t going anywhere.
In December, the Bruins’ first-year head coach turned down overtures from Tennessee and Auburn. This week, he was reportedly contacted by the San Diego Chargers, where he first began his career as a quality control coach in 1985.
UCLA acted quickly, giving Mora a one-year extension that keeps him on the books through 2017.
Mora had originally signed a five-year, $11.235 million contract — one that drew mixed reactions from UCLA fans. That changed after he guided the Bruins to their best season since 2005, as well as their second win over USC in 14 years.
“What Jim Mora has accomplished in just one season as our head coach is remarkable,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “The wins, the Pac-12 South Championship, and the bowl berth were accompanied by an equally impressive performance by the team in the classroom and in the community.”
Mora was the first UCLA head coach to debut with nine wins since Terry Donahue did the same in 1976. The 50-year-old will be hard pressed to replicate that total next year, when the Bruins must visit both Stanford and Oregon.
The return of All-American linebacker Anthony Barr, whom many projected as a first-round NFL draft pick, should help that cause.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Dan Guerrero for his commitment to me and my staff, and our shared belief that we are on the road to creating something very special. I believe UCLA will win championships,” Mora said in a statement. “The 2012 team established a foundation which will launch us forward. Our staff, our returning players, our administration, and the entire Bruin community are pulling together in an effort to win championships.
“I am proud of our players for what they are doing in the classroom and on the field, and I am grateful for UCLA’s commitment to achieve excellence.”