FINAL RECORD OF UCLA FOOTBALL COACH JIM MORA:
46 wins – 30 losses
Two ten-win seasons in 2013 and 2014
Four bowl games, with wins in the 2013 Sun Bowl and the 2015 Alamo Bowl
When I got the news on this site’s Twitter page that my alma mater’s football coach had been told that his services were no longer needed the morning after losing to USC for the third straight time,
I’ll be honest – quite a few thoughts swirled in my head.
Three of those thoughts were prevailing:
1. Thought I wasn’t surprised that Mora was let go, considering not only the lack of success his Bruins were having on the field the past couple of years, but also the dwindling attendance at the Rose Bowl and the numerous high school commits de-committing from UCLA, I was surprised at the timing of his dismissal.
The Bruins have an upcoming game against California this Friday night that in my view is MORE important than this year’s Crosstown Rivalry, because with both teams having five wins, bowl eligibility is at stake, and I thought that athletic director Dan Guerrero would at least let Mora coach that night, holding off on deciding his fate until after he faced the Golden Bears.
And speaking of Guerrero, that brings me to prevailing thought number…
2. As I stated in my recent article on this site, ““Why Has UCLA Football Been So Mediocre For So Long?” (Here’s the link to that piece): http://www.socalsportsannals.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/why-has-ucla-football-been-so-mediocre-for-so-long/
The problems that the Bruins have had on the gridiron goes deeper than Mora or even Guerrero, the root being UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and the other administration suits at Murphy Hall not being “All In” on football success as in national championships like the folks at USC, Alabama, Ohio State, and other powerhouses are.
In other words, Guerrero firing Mora – who is the third football coach he has relieved of his duties (four if you count Bob Toledo in 2002) – is akin to a cancer tumor being removed but cancer cells remaining, which would produce another tumor.
To truly remove that cancer, the UCLA administration must change their hearts regarding their desire of the Bruins being an elite championship program on the gridiron.
Or get a new chancellor and administration that is more willing to go all in.
Jim Mora and his Bruins observing a moment of silence for fallen UCLA player Nick Pasquale in 2013. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
3. I won’t go into details as to speculations of who UCLA’s next coach may be, besides reports that former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s agent – a Bruin alum – is meeting with Guerrero and his search committee, which includes wealthy alum Casey Wasserman and Bruin quarterback great and NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman.
But I will say this:
This will be the fourth football coach that Guerrero has hired to take the reins in Westwood.
Whoever is given the keys to the Bruin kingdom, Block and his friends at Murphy Hall need to tell Guerrero that this is his last chance to get it right.
That whoever is on the sidelines at UCLA’s first game of 2018 with Cincinnati at the Rose Bowl on September 2nd needs to have an immediate impact and be an overwhelming success.
Otherwise Guerrero’s time as the chief executive of UCLA Athletics will be over.
After four shots at hiring a football coach, I think that would be a fair thing for him to hear.
In the meantime, like the loyal decades long member of Bruin Nation that I am, I’m planning on going to the Bruins’ last game vs their older brothers from Berkeley the night after Thanksgiving.
With bowl eligibility at stake, this is too important a battle.
And I’m looking forward to seeing how those 85 young men wearing true blue with those four letters in script on the sides of those gold helmets react and perform in light of their coach – a coach they loved and played their hearts out for – being gone and not hugging and shaking the hands of the seniors who will be playing at the Rose Bowl for the last time this Friday night.
One More Thought:
Despite things ultimately not working out, I will miss Mora.
He did much to influence the upgrading of the Bruins’ facilities, namely the opening of the state of the art Wasserman Center on campus, and he did so much good in molding his players to be successful people off the field as well as on.
The many posts on Twitter showing love to the man from the guys who played for him, past and present, are the evidence.
And I certainly thank him for that.
Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com