Sorry conspiracy theorists, Pat Haden’s master plan to tempt Jim Mora into leaving UCLA to go to Washington has failed.
UCLA announced Tuesday that Mora has agreed to a six-year contract extension that would – theoretically – keep him with the Bruins until 2019. The L.A. Times also reported that Mora’s new contract included raises for his assistants and improvement’s to the program’s infrastructure.
“Jim Mora has established himself as one of the preeminent coaches in all of college football,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero. “Under his guidance, UCLA football has garnered national recognition for its success on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We are excited about the commitment Jim has made to our student-athletes and this University and feel this extension further demonstrates UCLA’s commitment to building a championship-caliber football program.”
When USC athletic director Haden hired Steve Sarkisian away from Washington on Monday, some believed it was a coy move to attract Mora, a Washington alum, back to the Pacific Northwest. Back in 2006, before Mora was fired as the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he was emphatic that Washington was a job he desperately wanted.
“Well, I really have a lot of respect for Ty, and I know he’ll do a great job,” Mora said in the interview with KJR. “But if he ever decides to move on, and get in the NFL, or, you know, go back to Notre Dame or whatever, if that job’s open, you’ll find me at the friggin’ head of the line, with my résumé in hand, ready to take that job.”
But in two years with UCLA, Mora has seemingly embraced the rivalry against USC, winning two straight, and turned the recruiting tables, which were once slanted heavily in USC’s favor, toward the Bruins.
Mora is 18-8 at UCLA and 9-3 this season with a bowl remaining. And while the Bruins still haven’t reached a Rose Bowl game since 1998, if Mora can convince quarterback Brett Hundley to stay another season, the Bruins could be a force in the Pac-12 next year.
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