In a move that will surprise most, Jim Mora has been fired as UCLA football coach. Mora was 46-30 with one game left in his sixth season at the helm of UCLA. After Saturday night’s loss to USC, he was 28-26 in Pac 12 play. The Bruins are 5-6 this season with one home game left against Cal on Friday.
Mora won one Pac 12 South title in his tenure. In his first year in 2012, the Bruins actually finished second behind USC but the Trojans were on probation and ineligible for the title.
The UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero issued a statement late this morning.
“Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach has given his all to our University. Jim helped reestablish our football program, and was instrumental in so many ways in moving the program forward. While his first four seasons at UCLA were very successful, the past two seasons have not met expectations. We thank Jim and his family for his service to our school and his unquestionable commitment to our student-athletes.”
First year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will serve as interim coach.
Mora’s buyout was thought to be an obstacle to his dismissal. He is owed between $11 and $12 million dollars. That will be reduced or eliminated if he takes another head coaching job prior to the end of the buyout terms, which will be about four years.
Guerrero is set to retire after the 2018-2019 academic year and it was speculated that he would not want to fire his fourth head coach before stepping down, (Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrel, Rick Neuheisel, Mora).
In the past UCLA has used search firms to find head coaches. However, in its statement, UCLA said it will utilize a group that includes Guerrero, Associate Athletic Director Josh Rebholz, hall of fame quarterback and UCLA alum Troy Aikman, and UCLA booster and talent agent Casey Wasserman.