Rick Neuheisel lashes out at Jim Mora’s criticism of his UCLA teams

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't happy with Jim Mora calling his old Bruin teams "soft." (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn’t happy with Jim Mora calling his old Bruin teams “soft.” (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

On Tuesday, Jim Mora decided to explain the genesis of how he turned around the UCLA football program.

Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports 1, the Bruins’ current head coach described his first interview with athletic director Dan Guerrero back in December 2011.

“I’m thinking, ‘What do I say here?'” Mora said. “Do I tell him the truth or something like it’s a great school and we can be great? I said, ‘I think you’re soft. I think the football team is soft.’ Dan said, ‘That’s what I think, and we need to toughen it up.'”

This is not an entirely new story. Both Mora, who just completed his fourth season with the Bruins, and several players have told some version of it in the past — usually by describing the program’s culture in broader strokes rather than recalling a specific exchange. This iteration, however, was enough to set off former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.

On Wednesday, the 55-year-old lashed out at Mora during his own radio show on SiriusXM.

“All he did was go and paint the walls black and wear black on the sideline, and thinks that that’s tough,” Neuheisel said. “I’ve been in the locker room. There’s all sorts of stuff about Sun Tzu, and The Art of War, and pain and all that kind of stuff. He takes the team to Navy SEAL training. Congratulations. I’m glad you had the money to do it. But don’t talk about toughness with my football team. I’ll go to war with anyone.” Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Jim Mora’s donation is the largest ever by a sitting UCLA head coach

Jim Mora, left, has made what UCLA calls the largest donation by a sitting head coach in school history. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

Jim Mora, left, has made what UCLA calls the largest donation by a sitting head coach in school history. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

Jim Mora and his family have made a personal donation to UCLA’s new football facility, which is good news for the Bruins in the way that additional money usually is.

But that this is a head coach putting in his own money — rather than a major booster — is a tremendous PR boost for the Bruins, who have endured offseason after offseason of speculation that their head coach could bolt for the NFL.

Mora and his wife Shannon made what the school called on Thursday “the largest donation by a sitting head coach in UCLA history.” Even if it doesn’t come close to matching some of the other figures poured into the project, it’s an easier sell for those unconvinced of the 53-year-old’s future in Los Angeles. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA finishes second in 2014-15 Directors’ Cup standings

UCLA finished second in the latest Directors’ Cup standings, its highest placement in seven years.

The Bruins were behind only Stanford, which has won the award 21 straight times — missing out only when the inaugural trophy went to North Carolina in 1994. UCLA edged out USC for second place with 1,236 points to the Trojans’ 1,209.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero will receive a $30,000 bonus as a result — half for finishing in the top 10 percent of Division I schools, and half for finishing in the top 10. Through Guerrero’s 13-year tenure in Westwood, UCLA has missed the top 10 only twice (2008-09 and 2010-11).

This marks the first time the Bruins have finished second since 2007-08, the third of three straight years as the nation’s No. 2. They have placed top-three in three of the past four years.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

NCAA proposal could allow NBA draft entrants to return to school

Next year, college basketball players could have more leeway in their NBA draft decisions.

According to ESPN, the NCAA men’s basketball committee sponsored a proposal on Wednesday that will allow early entrants to return to school even after declaring their intentions to go pro.

The new system would allow underclassmen who are exploring their options to attend the pre-draft combine in Chicago without losing their college eligibility, though they will not be allowed to sign with an agent. The proposal, which could be approved in January, was a coordinated effort with the NBA. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Where does Jim Mora rank among L.A. sports powers?

Jim Mora has led UCLA to 29 wins over the past three seasons. He's pictured here as the Bruins run out of the Rose Bowl tunnel against Stanford last November. (Will Lester/Staff)

Jim Mora has led UCLA to 29 wins over the past three seasons. He’s pictured here as the Bruins run out of the Rose Bowl tunnel against Stanford last November. (Will Lester/Staff)

We at the Los Angeles News Group released our first-ever ranking of the top 50 most powerful sports figures in the city today, and there was definitely a UCLA presence.

At the very top is Bruin alum and booster Casey Wasserman, whose surname will grace the school’s new football facility. Athletic director Dan Guerrero comes in at No. 28, and football coach Jim Mora at No. 33.

The ranking also branched out beyond, well, humans. The Rose Bowl checks in at No. 20.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Casey Wasserman, CEO Wasserman Media Group
2. Philip Anschutz, AEG Chairman
3. Magic Johnson, Dodgers and Sparks owner, Lakers Hall of Famer
4. Kobe Bryant, Lakers guard
5. Mark Walter, Dodgers Chairman
6. Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster
7. Jeanie Buss, Lakers owner
8. Stan Kroenke, St. Louis Rams owner
9. Steve Ballmer, Clippers owner
10. Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, WME co-CEOs

Click through to see the rest of the list. Feel free to express your approval/outrage in the comments below.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page