After agreeing to take over Rick Neuheisel’s downtrodden UCLA program for five years and $12 million, no one could have foreseen the nine wins Jim Mora led the Bruins to.
No one could have foreseen the success, but several NFL teams could have seen Mora coaching at the pro level in 2013.
Thus, the UCLA athletic department went ahead and extended Mora’s contract by a year, running through the end of the 2017 season, according to ESPN Los Angeles. The terms of the contract’s new final year were not disclosed.
“First and foremost, I want to thank (athletic director) Dan Guerrero for his commitment to me and my staff, and our shared belief that we are on the road to creating something very special,” Mora said in a statement. “I believe UCLA will win championships. 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. I am proud of our players for what they are doing in the classroom and on the field, and I am grateful for UCLA’s commitment to achieve excellence.”
After going 34-43 in the program’s previous six seasons, UCLA looked like an up-and-coming program in Mora’s first year. Despite losing to a red-hot Baylor team in the Holiday Bowl, the Bruins finished at 9-5 and as the Pac-12 South Champions. They best intercity rival and college football big boys USC for the first time since 2006.
After spending 25 years in the NFL, including head coaching stints with both the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, Mora is enjoying his time in college. He is working with the school to raise the money to upgrade the program’s facilities and to provide pay raises for his assistants. One of the biggest ways programs can build is by poaching assistants and Mora wants to make sure he will not lose those closest to his own building process.
“What Jim Mora has accomplished in just one season as our head coach is remarkable,” Guerrero said in a statement. “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.
“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.”