UCLA unveiled a new Jackie Robinson monument on its campus on Saturday afternoon, putting up a statue of his iconic No. 42 outside of the John Wooden Center. The number is retired across all of Bruin athletics.
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 “Rick Neuheisel lashes out at Jim Mora’s criticism of his UCLA teams” »
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 “Jim Mora’s donation is the largest ever by a sitting UCLA head coach” »
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.
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 “NCAA proposal could allow NBA draft entrants to return to school” »