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

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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.

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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

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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.

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UCLA hires Bill Roth as new play-by-play announcer

UCLA has hired Bill Roth as its new play-by-play announcer for football and men’s basketball, officially replacing the recently retired Chris Roberts.

Roth will come to Los Angeles to become the Bruins’ lead radio broadcaster after serving in the same role at Virginia Tech for the last 27 years, a span that saw him earn spots in both the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the Syracuse University’s WAER Hall of Fame. The 11-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year will end his tenure in Blacksburg with Saturday’s spring game.

“I have tremendous respect for the UCLA tradition, having grown up sitting in front of the television in awe of national broadcasts featuring UCLA teams playing at historic venues like Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl,” Roth said in a statement. “From hearing ‘Sons of Westwood’ blaring through the speakers to witnessing championship teams led by larger-than-life coaches, I am well aware that this is one of America’s most iconic institutions. Continue reading

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