December 11, 2011 in Sports

UCLA hires Mora; Sumlin takes over at Texas A&M


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Although Jim Mora hasn’t coached college football in a quarter-century, the longtime NFL coach spent the last two years preparing for a chance to go back to school.

UCLA is giving him that opportunity in the hopes this polished pro coach can revitalize a beleaguered college program.

Mora agreed to a five-year, $12 million contract with UCLA on Saturday, replacing Rick Neuheisel as the Bruins’ first football coach in more than 60 years with no ties to the school.

“I think UCLA is truly a sleeping giant, and I realize that an opportunity like this, of this magnitude, doesn’t present itself more than once in a coaching career,” Mora said. “When the job was offered, I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin.”

Mora was the coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, going 31-33 over four seasons while reaching one NFC title game.

The son of longtime NFL coach Jim Mora is a former University of Washington defensive back who had only one season of college coaching experience at his alma mater in 1984 before beginning a 25-year career in the NFL.

Mora realizes the majority of NFL coaches who go back to the college game have little success. For every Pete Carroll, who replaced Mora with the Seahawks after a spectacular run at Southern California, dozens of pro veterans couldn’t figure out college football’s morass of recruiting details, and NCAA rules.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” Mora said. “This isn’t something that just popped up. This has been a goal of mine since I left the Seattle Seahawks.”

Sumlin to A&M

Coach Kevin Sumlin and his prolific offense made Houston a power in Conference USA.

His next challenge will be trying to replicate that success in the Southeastern Conference, the country’s toughest football league, as Texas A&M’s new coach.

Sumlin was hired as the Aggies’ new coach, less than two weeks after Mike Sherman was fired following a disappointing 6-6 finish.

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