February 6, 2008 in Sports

Hawks may name Mora to succeed Holmgren

Danny O'Neil Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The Seahawks didn’t have to look far to find their next coach.

They didn’t have to look too long, either.

The team is expected to formally designate Jim Mora as its coaching successor to Mike Holmgren, according to sources. There is an agreement in place that will make him head coach beginning in 2009.

The Seahawks had no comment Tuesday night. A news conference is scheduled at the team’s Kirkland headquarters at noon today.

Holmgren will coach the Seahawks in 2008, the final year of his contract. He announced last month that next season – his 10th with the franchise – will be his last with the Seahawks.

Mora, 46, is the Seahawks’ assistant head coach and coaches the defensive backs. He attended junior high and high school in Bellevue and played football at the University of Washington. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Washington, but has worked in the NFL since 1985.

He was named head coach in Atlanta in 2004. The Falcons won 11 games their first season under Mora and reached the NFC Championship. Tim Ruskell, who was hired as the Seahawks’ president in 2005, worked with Mora in 2004 with Atlanta. The Falcons’ victories declined in the two following years, and Mora was fired after the team went 7-9 in 2006 and missed the playoffs. The Falcons were 4-12 last season.

Mora’s three-year record with Atlanta was 26-22, the highest winning percentage of any coach in Falcons history. He was criticized during his final season in Atlanta for his statements during an interview with KJR-AM in Seattle when he described being Washington Huskies coach as his dream job, one he would leave any post to take. He later said he was joking.

After leaving Atlanta, Mora was a finalist to coach Miami in 2006. The Dolphins hired Cam Cameron. The Giants inquired about Mora’s interest in being their defensive coordinator. Instead, he took a job on the Seahawks staff, and he cited the opportunity of working with Holmgren.

Mora coached the secondary this past season, a group that was one of the most improved on the team. The Seahawks allowed 15 touchdown passes in 2007, fewest in the NFL.

Mora was a candidate for the Washington Redskins’ head-coaching job in January, but withdrew himself from consideration to remain on the Seahawks staff.

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