UCLA's Mora signs extension through 2017
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- UCLA coach Jim Mora agreed to a one-year
contract extension through 2017 on Friday after revitalizing the Bruins
in his debut season.
Mora led UCLA to nine victories, the
Pac-12 South title and a Holiday Bowl berth just one year after
replacing Rick Neuheisel at a school that hadn't won even eight games in
a season since 2005.
The former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle
Seahawks head coach adjusted splendidly to the college game, even
beating crosstown rival Southern California while climbing as high as
No. 15 in the rankings.
"What Jim Mora has accomplished in just
one season as our head coach is remarkable," UCLA athletic director Dan
Guerrero said. "The wins, the Pac-12 South championship and the bowl
berth were accompanied by an equally impressive performance by the team
in the classroom and in the community."
The Bruins (9-5) lost their final three
games, including two meetings with Rose Bowl champion Stanford before a
49-26 loss to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. But the quiet finish didn't
dampen the renewed enthusiasm for football in Westwood, where the
athletic department has embarked on plans to improve its football
Mora said he's grateful to Guerrero
"for his commitment to me and my staff, and our shared belief that we
are on the road to creating something very special."
"I believe UCLA will win
championships," Mora added. "The 2012 team established a foundation
which will launch us forward. Our staff, our returning players, our
administration and the entire Bruin community are pulling together in an
effort to win championships."
Mora agreed to a five-year, $12 million
deal at UCLA in December 2011 after nearly two years out of football
following his firing by the Seahawks.
He was an unlikely hire for the Bruins,
who had mostly chosen head coaches who were former Bruins players or
assistants in recent decades. The school also hadn't hired a head coach
with a defensive background in 40 years.
Mora hadn't coached college football in
a quarter-century since a single season as an assistant at Washington,
his alma mater. But Mora immediately hired an impressive staff led by
offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and then landed a strong recruiting
class in less than two months on the trail.
Mora's success attracted national
attention, including rumors linking him to interest everywhere from
Tennessee and Auburn to the San Diego Chargers.
Along with an improved training
complex, Mora's upcoming changes to the football program could include
raises for his assistant coaches.
"Jim and I will continue to work
closely as partners to enhance all aspects of the program moving forward
so that we may continue to compete at the highest level," Guerrero
said. "We are thrilled with Jim's commitment to our student-athletes and
to this university."