UCLA inks Mora to extension, fends off Washington

UCLA agreed to a six-year extension with football coach Jim Mora

on Tuesday night, putting him under contract through 2019.

The Bruins moved swiftly to fend off any potential advances from

Washington, where Mora was a walk-on defensive back and a graduate

assistant more than 30 years ago. The Huskies have a coaching

vacancy after Steve Sarkisian left Monday for USC.

”This is an exciting time for UCLA football, and the continued

commitment our administration has provided gives us every chance to

reach our goals,” Mora said in a statement issued by the

university. ”This staff came here with a commitment to win a

national championship. That commitment stands.”

Mora has been an immediate hit in Westwood in his first

significant college football job after 25 years in the NFL. UCLA is

18-8 in his two seasons, returning to national prominence heading

into the Bruins’ second straight trip to a bowl game.

No. 17 UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) routed rival Southern California

35-14 at the Coliseum on Saturday for Mora’s second straight win

over the Trojans. The Bruins won the Pac-12 South last season and

finished second this year, one game behind Arizona State.

”Jim Mora has established himself as one of the pre-eminent

coaches in all of college football,” UCLA athletic director Dan

Guerrero said in a statement. ”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.”

Mora seemed to be a tantalizing candidate for Washington, which

has been rebuilt into a perennial bowl team by Sarkisian.

Mora played at Washington under famed coach Don James and once

described the Huskies’ top position as his dream job. He and his

wife, a former Huskies cheerleader, stayed in the Seattle area in

2010 after the NFL’s Seahawks fired him after one season.

But Mora’s family and charitable foundation are becoming

increasingly entrenched in Los Angeles. The Moras’ son, Cole, is a

soccer player at Claremont McKenna, a short drive east of

downtown.

The school didn’t announce terms of Mora’s contract extension,

which must be approved by the University of California Regents.

Mora got a five-year contract worth more than $11 million when he

arrived at UCLA, and he received a one-year extension worth $2.5

million last year.

UCLA is planning a $50 million football training complex for its

Westwood campus to bring the Bruins’ facilities up to the lofty

standard of most Pac-12 programs. Mora also has spoken of wanting

more money to pay assistant coaches to live on UCLA’s pricey

Westside.

Mora should have a powerful team returning next season after

giving extensive playing time to young players this season. UCLA

also might get another year from quarterback Brett Hundley, who

said Mora’s future would impact his decision on entering the NFL

draft.