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UCLA coach search continues as Al Golden indicates no interest

The Bruins turn their focus for a replacement for the fired Rick Neuheisel to former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr.

December 05, 2011|By Chris Foster
  • Miami Coach Al Golden watches the Hurricanes play against Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
Miami Coach Al Golden watches the Hurricanes play against Florida State… (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images )

UCLA has again refocused the search for its next football coach.

The Bruins were told Monday that it won't be Al Golden, who indicated he was not interested in the job, according to a person close to the situation who is not authorized to speak on the subject.

UCLA has now turned its attention to former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr., according to other people familiar with the search.

Mora, 50, had a record of 26-22 with the Falcons from 2004-06. During his first season, Atlanta reached the NFC championship game, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10. Mora had a 5-11 record with the Seahawks in 2009, his only season as coach before he was replaced by Pete Carroll.

Mora's only college coaching experience was as a graduate assistant with Washington in 1984.

UCLA is seeking to replace Rick Neuheisel, who was fired as the Bruins' coach on Nov. 28, four days before his team lost to Oregon, 49-31, in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference championship game.

UCLA will next play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 31. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson is the interim head coach as the Bruins (6-7) prepare to face Illinois (6-6) at AT&T Park.

Boise State's Chris Petersen was the first coach the Bruins sought, being offered an annual package of more than $3 million. But Petersen wasn't interested. UCLA officials then turned their attention to Houston Coach Kevin Sumlin, with Athletic Director Dan Guerrero interviewing him after his team was upset by Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday. Sumlin is no longer a candidate.

Golden, who was a team captain at Penn State, also coached for the Nittany Lions and at Virginia before breaking in as a head coach at Temple. In five years at Temple, Golden's records improved from 1-11 to 4-8 to 5-7 and then 9-3 and 8-4. He was 6-6 this season in his first year at Miami, and the school recently rewarded him with a contract extension through 2019.

People with knowledge of UCLA's actions in its search said the school reached out to Golden, though Guerrero denied it.

Miami President Donna Shalala told the Miami Herald, "Of course UCLA and other schools are going to call … When you're really good, you get phone calls.

"This guy wants to be with the University of Miami."

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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