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UCLA's Jim Mora might be pursued by Washington for vacant coaching job

He is expected to be on the short list of candidates for the position, which became open when Steve Sarkisian left to take over at USC. Mora played for the Huskies and was an assistant in the program.

December 02, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • With Washington's coaching position vacant because of Steve Sarkisian's departure, could UCLA Coach Jim Mora be tempted to return to his alma mater?
With Washington's coaching position vacant because of Steve Sarkisian's… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

UCLA Coach Jim Mora is expected to be on the short list for the Washington job that was vacated when Steve Sarkisian left for USC.

Mora, who played for the Huskies and was a graduate assistant under Don James, has expressed interest in the job before.

Mora was recruiting Monday and would not comment.

UCLA's only official comment came from a school spokesman who said, "Jim Mora is our football coach." However, a person familiar with the situation said the Mora-to-Washington scenario is one that UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero has feared since USC fired Lane Kiffin as coach in September. The person spoke anonymously because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly about the matter.

Mora signed a five-year, $11.235-million contract when he was hired. The deal has already been extended one year, with Mora to receive $2.5 million for 2017. The contract also includes a buyout clause. Mora would owe UCLA $2.5 million if he gives notice before Jan. 16, 2014, or $2 million after that date.

Washington may not be the only suitor for Mora. Texas is also said to be interested should the school decide to oust Mack Brown.

Mora attended high school in a Seattle suburb and was a walk-on defensive back at Washington from 1980 to 1983 and spent the 1984 season as a graduate assistant coach. He was coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2009. He and his family resided in Bellevue, Wash., until he was hired by UCLA, and he was a frequent visitor to the Washington campus.

When he was coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2006, Mora caused a stir when he said Washington was his "dream job" during an interview with a Seattle radio station. A day later, he was adamant about that being a joke. Hugh Millen, one of the two radio hosts interviewing Mora, had been Mora's roommate at Washington. Since then, Mora has maintained the comment was a joke whenever the topic comes up.

Mora has a record of 18-8 as UCLA's coach, which includes consecutive victories over USC. The Bruins lost 12 of 13 games to the Trojans before Mora arrived in Westwood.

UCLA officials weathered interest in Mora from Auburn and Tennessee after the 2012 season. The San Diego Chargers also made contact with Mora's representatives. UCLA responded by giving Mora a one-year contract extension and increased the pay for his assistants.

UCLA intends to build a football-only facility at Spaulding Field, which would include a locker room, weight room, meeting rooms and offices for coaches. The university has hired an architect and is trying to raise $50 million for the project. Washington completed renovations on its football facilities, including Husky Stadium, last summer.

Running backs coach out

Steve Broussard, UCLA's running backs coach for two seasons, has been fired, according to a member of UCLA's athletic program who spoke anonymously because of a lack of authorization to discuss the matter publicly.

Broussard joined UCLA from Arizona State along with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.

UCLA finished 37th nationally in rushing yardage among 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, averaging 190.8 yards per game. The Bruins weathered significant injuries, including one to Jordon James, who was fifth in the nation in rushing when he suffered a sprained ankle in UCLA's fourth game. UCLA was 38th nationally in 2012, averaging 196.6 yards per game.

UCLA was able to land only one running back — Craig Lee, a redshirt this season — in Mora's first two recruiting classes. Fabian Moreau went to UCLA as a running back but was immediately switched to cornerback.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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