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UCLA Coaching Hot Stove: Concerns about Jim Mora’s Resume, Keeping the Heat on Chianti Dan

It appears that chatter is getting hot and heavy that UCLA is getting with serious with Jim Mora. As it goes with these types of transactions, a deal is not final until parties have signed on the dotted line. There is some hopeful info out there that this may be all part of a Mora specific campaign targeting the UCLA gig. So overwhelming negative feedback from here and other places always help.

That said, it's worth further delving into this guy because there are numbers of issues with him. bluebland bulleted few of the key concerns with Mora in this fanpost yesterday:

  • Hasn't coached in college for 27 years.
  • Career coaching record is 31-33.
  • Has no familiarity with college-style innovation in schemes.

Odysseus further noted the off field problems and distractions that riddled Mora's coaching tenure in Atlanta. It was not pretty picture. What is also really ugly is to see how Mora's reached his 31-33 record over the years as broken down by tasser10 in his post:

  • Atlanta 2004 11-5 (0.688)
  • Atlanta 2005 8-8 (0.500)
  • Atlanta 2006 7-9 (0.438)
  • Seattle 2009 5-11 (0.313)

So as a head coach Mora in his career has had just one winning season. That is it. His record got progressively worse every season. He has not track record of building and managing a college program.

As far as we know Mora was not coveted by any of the major college programs that had positions available in last few weeks. Apparently back in 2008 when the Washington Huskies were on the market to find a replacement for Tyrone Willingham they sent out inquiries but he ended up not being a "candidate" for that job. It is unclear whether the Huskies pulled back or if it was the other way around.

We have seen stories about Denver Broncos pursuing Mora as their DC back in January. There were also stories about Mora being "front runner" for the Eagles DC position. All of those stories are vaguely sources and it seems to have the finger prints of a skilled agent who is good at creating hype around his client. To be fair Mora is still enjoying a nice buyout from the Seahawks as reportedly there were about $12 million remaining in his K, when the team let him go. Still he hasn't gotten any plum job offers from NFL since he was let go from the Seahawks or pursued by any major college program.

The picture around Mora is really incomplete and frankly scary if you are UCLA alum who are looking for someone who you can have total confidence to take this program to the next level. His NFL track record is not very impressive. There is no doubt we are going to hear pathetic spin from Guerrero and his cronies about Pete Carroll being successful as a former NFL coach, but savvy football fans know that Carroll example is an aberration given how college football has seen one examples after another of pure NFL coaches failing to build programs (See Bill Callahan, Al Groh, Dave Wannstedt, Charlie Weiss, Karl Dorrell, Mike Sherman and so on).

Now looking back at 2007 when Guerrero was conducting another sham search process, a name like Mora seemed interesting because we were also dealing with uninspired "finalists" such as Dewayne Walker, Norm Chow and even Rick Neuheisel. We eventually supported the Neuheisel hire because the other options were so horrid and didn't have any experience as a college head coach. It appears we are coming around to same sham process all over again ending up with names like Mora, who wasn't really wanted by other college programs at this time.

So taking chance on Mora will be another huge gamble on the part of Chianti Dan, after failing with two previous experiments, who were not coveted by anyone except UCLA. Even if Guerrero hires Mora, he shouldn't be offered more than $1 million per year given no one in the college ranks really want this guy. He should be basically offered in the market range of what an NFL DC makes, which is around $850,000 for average coordinators. If Guerrero offers this guy more than $2 million per year, it will be a total joke.

Now if Chianti Dan is hell-bent on hiring Mora and announces him as the next head coach, I will be happy to give Mora a "chance" but I will also put him on a short leash. The Bruins have enough talent to at least win the Pac-12 South next season, and win 9 or more games. If someone like Mora comes in and does not accomplish that goal, the seat will get scorching hot right away.

Moreover, the seat will remain scorching hot for Chianti Dan. At this point, it does not matter how this bogus search end up. We will want Chianti Dan gone and we will relentlessly keep pushing and hammering home the point every day that he needs to leave UCLA. We certainly don't want him to botch the hiring process if Bruins are on the market for a new basketball coach. Once we get a new AD in, it will automatically put Mora or whoever Chianti Dan brings in as his puppet on notice, that his tenure will be short-lived in Westwood, if he is not "firing out." (ie. Wining conference titles and have our team finishing in top-20 year in and year out).