Jim Mora
Mora in 2013
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamUConn
ConferenceIndependent
Annual salary$1.5 million[1]
Biographical details
Born (1961-11-19) November 19, 1961 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California
Playing career
1980–1983Washington
Position(s)Defensive back, linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1984Washington (GA)
1985San Diego Chargers (defensive QC)
1986–1988San Diego Chargers (assistant DB)
1989–1991San Diego Chargers (DB)
1992–1996New Orleans Saints (DB)
1997–1998San Francisco 49ers (DB)
1999–2003San Francisco 49ers (DC)
2004–2006Atlanta Falcons
2007–2008Seattle Seahawks (AHC/DB)
2009Seattle Seahawks
2012–2017UCLA
2021UConn (OA)
2022–presentUConn
Head coaching record
Overall46–30 (college)
31–33 (NFL)
Bowls2–2
Tournaments1–1 (NFL playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1 NFC South (2004)
Pac-12 South Division (2012)

James Lawrence Mora (born November 19, 1961) is an American football coach who is the head coach at the University of Connecticut. Before that, he was the head coach of the UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference from 2012–2017. Prior to taking the job at UCLA, Mora served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL), coaching the Atlanta Falcons from 2004 to 2006 and Seattle Seahawks in 2009. He has also served as an analyst for NFL Network and Fox Sports.

Mora played college football with the Washington Huskies from 1980 to 1983, and began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 1984. He is the son of retired NFL head coach Jim E. Mora. To avoid confusion with his father Mora is sometimes, though incorrectly, called Jim Mora Jr.[2]

Early years and playing career

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As the son of an assistant coach in college football, Mora lived in various locations in the West as a child: primarily in Boulder, Colorado (ages 7–12) and also in California, mostly in the Los Angeles area. When Mora was 12, his father left Colorado after the 1973 season to join the staff at UCLA under first-year head coach Dick Vermeil.

After one season in Los Angeles, the elder Mora accepted a position at the University of Washington under new head coach Don James, and the Moras moved north from Los Angeles to the Seattle area when the younger Mora was 13. His father coached the defensive line at UW for three seasons, then moved over to the pro ranks with the Seattle Seahawks in 1978, where he coached for four years under Jack Patera. The younger Mora attended Hyak Junior High and Interlake High School in Bellevue, and graduated in 1980.

Mora attended the University of Washington, where he walked-on and was a reserve defensive back / linebacker for the Huskies from 1980 to 1983. He appeared in two Rose Bowls (January 1981, 1982) and was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Mora graduated from Washington in 1984 and began his coaching career under James as a graduate assistant for the Huskies, then moved to the professional ranks the following year.

Coaching career

Assistant coach

Mora hired on as a quality control coach with the San Diego Chargers in 1985, and moved up to assistant defensive backs coach the following year. He was promoted to defensive backs coach in 1989. In 1992, he went to the New Orleans Saints to coach under his father, head coach Jim E. Mora. In 1997, the younger Mora moved to the San Francisco 49ers to coach under Steve Mariucci, and became the 49ers' defensive coordinator in 1999.[3]

Atlanta Falcons

Mora with Atlanta in 2006
Mora with Atlanta in 2006

In 2004, Mora was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as their head coach with a five-year, $7.5 million contract.[4] He led the Falcons to a record of 11–5 and a first round bye in the playoffs. Atlanta hosted and defeated the St. Louis Rams 47–17 in the divisional round, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost 27–10 on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2005, the Falcons went 8–8 and Mora characterized the season as a "disappointing year." This non-winning season continued one of the NFL's strangest records – the Falcons had never had back-to-back winning seasons in the history of the franchise, a 40-year statistical oddity that no other modern professional team has matched. This record ended in 2009. During a rematch of the 2004 NFC Championship with the Philadelphia Eagles, Mora was seen smelling ammonia capsules on the sidelines during a Monday Night Football broadcast. John Madden noted that some coaches use the capsules during games, although they are mostly for players' use.[5] Following the 2005 season, Mora signed a three-year contract extension with the Falcons, which guaranteed the final two years of his original five-year deal, and added a sixth in 2009.[6]

The national media and the Falcons fans had high expectations in the 2006 season. While in the wild card race at 7–6 in December, Atlanta lost their final three games, including two at home, and missed the playoffs for a second straight year with a 7–9 record overall. On December 14, while the Falcons were still statistically alive in their quest for the playoffs, Mora said during a radio interview with Dave "Softy" Mahler and former Huskies teammate/roommate Hugh Millen on Seattle sports-talk radio station KJR-AM that if it were offered, he would take the head coaching job at the University of Washington (a job that was not open), "even if [the Falcons] were in a playoff run."[7] He additionally said he was "dead serious" about his desire for the Washington job. While Mora later backpedaled and claimed that he was only kidding,[8] team owner Arthur Blank publicly expressed his disapproval of Mora's comments.[9]

Following the season, the Atlanta Falcons announced that they had fired Mora. Arthur Blank told the media,

This was an extremely difficult decision for us. We had the highest hopes and aspirations for a long run with Jim as our coach, but we feel this decision is in the best long-term interests of our franchise. I have great respect for Jim's passion for the game, and we wish Jim and his family all of the best.[10]

Mora turned to broadcasting after being fired from the Falcons when he became a contributor to NBC's playoff coverage.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks hired Mora as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach on January 21, 2007.[11] Following the 2007 season, Mora interviewed for the Washington Redskins head coaching job after Joe Gibbs resigned, but Mora declined the position to stay with the Seahawks. Mora was announced as the successor to Mike Holmgren prior to the 2008 season and signed a five-year contract through the 2012 season, estimated at $4 million per year.[12][13]

Mora was officially named the seventh head coach in franchise history in 2009, upon Holmgren's retirement after the 2008 season.[14] His first official press conference as the new Seahawks head coach was given on January 13, 2009, where he enthusiastically shared his vision of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Seattle and having a championship parade from the Space Needle to the 'Hawks stadium, Qwest Field.[15]

After going 5–11 in his only season as Seahawks head coach, Mora was fired on January 8, 2010, with three years and $12 million remaining on his contract. Mora was replaced by former USC head coach Pete Carroll.

UCLA

On December 10, 2011, the UCLA Bruins announced the hiring of Mora as head coach, replacing alumnus Rick Neuheisel. Mora signed a five-year contract for $12 million, plus incentives. He immediately went to work as the head coach by hiring Adrian Klemm, Steve Broussard, Demetrice Martin and Eric Yarber as assistant coaches. Less than two months later, the results came early, as UCLA landed a consensus No. 12-ranked recruiting class in 2012 after having a class ranked in the high 40s at Rick Neuheisel's departure. In his first season as head coach, the 2012 UCLA team went 9–5, including a victory over rival USC by a score of 38–28 and clinching the Pac-12 South title for the second year in a row. Standout players that year included freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, NFL first-round draft pick defensive end Datone Jones, and UCLA's all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin. Building on the team's success, Mora landed the No. 11-ranked recruiting class of 2013, UCLA's highest-ranked recruiting class in the last two decades. During the 2013 season, Mora and the Bruins finished 10–3 with notable wins over No. 23 ranked Nebraska (41–21) and No. 23 ranked USC (35–14), and a Sun Bowl win against Virginia Tech (42–12).[16][17] In 2014, he led UCLA to their ninth 10-win season in school history, and just the third time in their history that they have won 10 games in consecutive seasons.[18]

Because of his success at UCLA, Mora was courted by his alma mater, the University of Washington, to fill their vacated head coaching position. During his time as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Mora jokingly described the position at the University of Washington as his "dream job."[8] However, Mora turned down a reputed offer and extended his contract with UCLA for another six years, stating that he wants to eventually "hopefully retire" as head coach of UCLA.[19][20] Weeks later, Mora reaffirmed his intent to remain UCLA's head football coach by turning down a reputed offer for the head coaching position with the University of Texas.[21]

Jim Mora was fired on November 19, 2017, one day after UCLA's third consecutive loss to its crosstown rival USC. After going 29–11 through the first 3 seasons, he was 17–19 in the last 3 seasons.[22]

UConn

The University of Connecticut hired Mora as its head football coach on November 11, 2021. Interim head coach Lou Spanos, finished out the 2021 season, with Mora serving as an offensive assistant in the meantime.[1]

Broadcasting career

Following the Seahawks firing him after the 2009 season, Mora accepted a position as a commentator with the NFL Network.[23] During the 2010 season Fox Sports announced that Mora would be serving as a color analyst on the network's NFL coverage for the 2010 season. He was a sideline reporter and teamed with play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton and analyst Charles Davis to call regional games.[24] During NFL Network's Thursday Night Football schedule, Mora, alongside analysts Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, Brian Billick, Jay Glazer, and host Fran Charles could be seen on Thursday Night Kickoff.[25] Mora and Billick could also be seen every Monday during the season on The Coaches Show, providing a breakdown of the biggest storylines and decisions behind Sunday's matchups from a head coach's perspective.

Mora returned to the booth in 2018 following his termination from UCLA, joining ESPN's college football coverage.[26]

Family

Mora has separated from his wife, Shannon.[27] They have a daughter, Lillia, and three sons, Cole, Ryder, and Trey.[21]

Mora has two brothers, Stephen, a mortgage broker in Bend, Oregon and Michael, an architect in Seattle.[28] With middle name Lawrence after his grandfather, Mora is not a junior, as his father's middle name is Earnest.[29][30][31]

The Moras run the Count On Me Family Foundation, an organization that targets children from low socio-economic backgrounds, children with mental and physical disabilities, and children deemed "at-risk," as well as those that lack stability or support in their lives.[32]

Head coaching record

NFL

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
ATL 2004 11 5 0 .688 1st in NFC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Championship Game
ATL 2005 8 8 0 .500 3rd in NFC South
ATL 2006 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC South
ATL Total 26 22 0 .542 1 1 .500
SEA 2009 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC West
SEA Total 5 11 0 .313 0 0 .000
Total[33] 31 33 0 .470 1 1 .500

College

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
UCLA Bruins (Pac-12 Conference) (2012–2017)
2012 UCLA 9–5 6–3 1st (South) L Holiday
2013 UCLA 10–3 6–3 T–2nd (South) W Sun 16 16
2014 UCLA 10–3 6–3 T–2nd (South) W Alamo 10 10
2015 UCLA 8–5 5–4 3rd (South) L Foster Farms
2016 UCLA 4–8 2–7 T–4th (South)
2017 UCLA 5–6[a] 3–5 4th (South)
UCLA: 46–30 29–24
UConn Huskies (NCAA Division I FBS independent) (2022–present)
2022 UConn 0–0
UConn: 0–0
Total: 46–30
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

Notes

  1. ^ Mora was dismissed from UCLA prior to the final regular season game against California. The standings reflects the team's position at the time of Mora's departure.

References

  1. ^ a b Amore, Dom (November 11, 2021). "UConn football taps Jim Mora, former NFL, UCLA coach, to lead the Huskies". Hartford Courant. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  2. ^ "Former Pac-12 Coach Jim Mora Jr. Hired By UConn". SI.com.
  3. ^ Hill, Clarence E., Jr. (January 20, 2005). "Mora, Falcons prove they were a ready-made fit". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 12D. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Condotta, Bob. "Mora Jr. joins candidate list". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "Analysts agree: Owens' antics cost himself fat contract". USA Today. November 6, 2005. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  6. ^ "NFL Notes: Mora gets extension". Seattle Times. March 25, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  7. ^ "Jim Mora interview on the Dave "Softy" Mahler Show". KJR-AM. December 14, 2006. Archived from the original on January 10, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Pasquarelli, Len (December 15, 2006). "Mora says he's happy with Falcons". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  9. ^ Narducci, Marc (December 29, 2006). "Quotable, affable, employable?". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. C7. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Mora fired as Falcons coach". NFL.com. January 1, 2007. Archived from the original on January 3, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2007.
  11. ^ O'Neil, Danny (January 21, 2007). "Mora joining the Seahawks coaching staff". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  12. ^ O'Neil, Danny (October 30, 2008). "Why isn't Jim Mora talking? Silence only fans flame". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 2, 2008.
  13. ^ Condotta, Bob (November 11, 2008). "On the Mora-ESPN report". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012.
  14. ^ Kahn, Mike. "Hawks Name Mora as Holmgren Successor in 2009". Seattle Seahawks. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  15. ^ Williams, Eric D. (January 14, 2009). "Charged-up Mora takes charge of Seahawks". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on January 29, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  16. ^ Yonn, Peter (December 10, 2011). "UCLA hires ex-NFL coach Jim Mora". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on December 10, 2011.
  17. ^ Foster, Chris (December 9, 2011). "UCLA to hire Jim L. Mora as football coach". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  18. ^ Bonagura, Kyle; Trotter, Jake (December 7, 2014). "Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2014.
  19. ^ Caple, Christian (December 4, 2013). "With UW alum Jim Mora staying at UCLA, Huskies focus on other coaching candidates". The Olympian. p. B1. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Jay Mohr Sports: Jim Mora". Fox Sports Radio. December 20, 2013. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Low, Chris (September 10, 2014). "Why Jim Mora spurned Texas to stay at UCLA". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  22. ^ @ESPNStatsInfo (November 19, 2017). "Jim Mora has been fired by UCLA. He..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Graham, Jeff (June 22, 2010). "Mora 'actually enjoying' life without football -- so far". Longview Daily News. p. C3. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "Warner, Mora Jr. & Pereira are the new faces of the NFL on FOX in 2010". Sports Media News. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  25. ^ "Theismann, Warner among stars as NFL Network kicks off 5th season of Thursday Night Football". NFL.com. November 1, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "ESPN Signs Jim Mora as College Football Studio Analyst; Current Analysts Joey Galloway and Emmanuel Acho Re-Sign Multi-Year Contracts". ESPN Press Room U.S. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  27. ^ Thiry, Lindsey (June 24, 2016). "UCLA's Jim Mora and his wife are separating". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  28. ^ Seattle Seahawks Coaching Bio Archived February 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ O'Neil, Danny (December 9, 2007). "Chasing Mora to the top". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018.
  30. ^ Tandler, Rich (January 18, 2008). "Mora? No!". NBCSports.com. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018.
  31. ^ Cosentino, Dom (March 27, 2018). "Jim Mora: 'I Would Take Sam Darnold If I Were The Browns'". Deadspin. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018.
  32. ^ Count on Me Foundation Website
  33. ^ "Jim Mora Jr. Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro-Football-Reference.com. November 19, 1961. Retrieved December 28, 2010.