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Chianti Dan and The Poison Pill

So begins the winter of our discontent.

Let us do a quick recap of Chianti Dan's search efforts for a new football coach at UCLA:

Chris Petersen

Jim L. Mora

Current gig

HC at Boise State

"Analyst" on NFL Network

Years out of coaching



College coaching experience

24 years

1 year

NFL coaching experience

0 years

25 years

Winning percentage as HC



Candidate for other HC jobs






Connection to Typhoid Terry


Worked for him in S.F. 49ers organization

It should be noted that I only listed Petersen because he was Chianti Dan's first choice, so the point here is to show the huge gap between the intended hire and the actual hire, as well as how utterly unqualified Mora is. He is pretty much, in every way, the opposite of UCLA's ideal candidate (be it Petersen or any other qualified coach discussed here).

It's not like we are the only ones who think the hiring of Jim Mora is an abysmal failure. Here's a list of other critics:

You can look for yourself, but the only positive reviews out there on Jim L. Mora are about his "energy". Really nothing else that provides comfort on his qualifications. Here is one example (only one I could find).

I just want to go through the various issues that have led to this, issues that seem to be dividing Bruins right now. We would be stronger as a united front, but sadly too many have already thrown in the towel.

The Poison Pill

I think many of you have heard by now, especially if you have been reading the various posts on BN, that there was a serious power struggle going on in the UCLA Athletic Department. The bottom line is this: if the coach was picked by someone other than Chianti Dan, or if a coach was pushed on Chianti Dan, he would essentially have been a lame duck AD who would soon have been let go. This was the only way for Chianti Dan to keep a grip on his power, a surreptitious hire announced just before midnight on a Friday to avoid the backlash that was sure to come. This is what I call the poison pill, which in finance is a strategy used by corporations to discourage hostile takeovers.

This is what is evident about Chianti Dan: he is lazy and arrogant. Lazy because he was completely unprepared for this coaching search, not only for not starting it after the Arizona game, but after flaming out pathetically with his first choice. Arrogant because he refuses to take input from anyone outside UCLA Athletics and Typhoid Terry Donahue, instead operating in a vacuum with his "closed process". Acting independently and forcefully would be commendable if Chianti Dan had a good knowledge of college football. But he does not. He really does not. This is not an opinion.

Sadly, there is another reason for Chianti Dan feeling emboldened.

The Irony of Pac-12 Money

This one is hard to swallow. We are finally at a point in UCLA football history where we can make a significant commitment to the one sport that is king in college athletics. There are highly qualified coaches available and we have a lot of money to spend and the willingness to spend it. But therein lies the irony. This is why Chianti Dan thumbed his nose at the big donors: he will be getting a lot more money from the Pac-12 TV deal, money that is likely much greater than the annual donations from those donors. With the Pauley renovation a complete fiasco, Chianti Dan would have had to please those donors without the Pac-12 money. With the fresh inflow of cash, he gains independence, at the absolute worst time for us.

With little knowledge of the inner workings of college football, Chianti Dan embarks on his hire with an eye test that only covers the candidate's suit and his "energy" during the interview. Jim L. Mora's qualification? "He was eager to return to the sidelines". If he was so eager, why did you just make him the second highest paid Pac-12 coach (not counting the private schools)? This is the epitome of incompetence, Chianti Dan negotiating only with himself, operating as if UCLA Athletics is his fiefdom.

There's a reason he gets away with these terrible decisions

Typhoid Terry and The Enablers

We have discussed at length the continued stranglehold that the Donahue mafia continues to have on anything related to football at UCLA. Somehow, after being involved and influencing the last 3 hires at UCLA, all 3 of which failed, Typhoid Terry still continues to put his diseased touch on the hiring process. Why? Because Chianti Dan knows nothing about college football, so he asks Bob Field who says "let's just ask Terry".

The Moran Center (newly coined) is trying to make alumni and fans swallow that Jim L. Mora was on Chianti Dan's "short list", as if that somehow makes the hire more impressive (we got who we wanted!). He should never have been on the list, and he was on no other AD's short list. Now, the Moran Center is asking us to give the guy a chance. And this is the problem with too many Bruins: they toe the line. This is what enables Chianti Dan to make such a terrible hire, because too many UCLA alumni will give whoever is hired "a chance", out of [misguided] loyalty. If Carrot Top was hired, they would give him a chance, he might win! This is why UCLA gets stuck with unqualified candidates who have to learn on the job. And now, because Chianti Dan gave Jim L. Mora "a shot" when no one else wanted him, Mora will be his man, a yes man.

People will continue to criticize us for not supporting this hire. So be it. We do not have to do so. We are not mindless pets. My only criticism of Jim Mora at this point is that he's unqualified. UCLA should not be a stop for on-the-job training, as a result Coach Mora will get a very short leash. We need to be shown in no arguable way that his hire has significantly improved the team, because that is the point of firing the previous coach: to get improvement. Unfortunately, because too many people continue to support Chianti Dan by acquiescing to his choice, he gets a reprieve until Jim Mora proves himself (or not). So those who think it is possible (and obligatory of any Bruin) to support this hire (the action, not the man) while continuing to call for Chianti Dan to be ousted are severely misguided.

The Moran Center and UCLA Alumni

I know Rick had his faults as a coach but I will forever despise Chianti Dan for taking advantage of a Bruin because of his love for the school. He used Rick's passion against him, knowing his eagerness to be the UCLA coach, to underpay him, while not even giving him the tools and support to succeed. He shortchanged his coach so much as to not provide enough funds for a special teams coach. It was a disgrace.

In a way, I feel like that is what the Moran Center has been doing to alumni. They take advantage of our love for the school to skimp on providing a good product and good facilities. They operate like the postal system in a socialist country. Hey, as long as you get the mail, it's all good, right? Who cares if it's 3 weeks late and half ripped? We saved by having it carried by goats.

It is time to end the cheapskate cycle. We give to you, give back to us. A UCLA degree may be the gift that keeps on giving, but UCLA Football has not been such a gift.

Those who think the posts on this site are "detrimental" to the program and its reputation need only follow the links I provided above, to see how the outside world views UCLA Football. We are not inventing facts, but we do not mince words either. We have a standard of excellence to which we hold all things UCLA and refuse to stay quiet when our reputation is being sullied. The problem is not the criticism but the actions of Chianti Dan and his minions.

I will never root for UCLA to lose, ever. I wore the four letters and I simply would never have it in me. I want Coach Mora to succeed and bring us out of this mediocrity misery. But my wait-and-see attitude ended after the bowl game in 2006. You don't get a reset every time. The roster looks good, the schedule looks good: it's time for the next coach to show us his goods.