On December 10, 2011, former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora was named UCLA's 17th head coach in school history.
In 2014, Coach Mora guided the Bruins to the ninth 10-win season in school history, matching the school record for wins in a season. It marked the third straight year in which Mora's Bruins had produced at least nine wins, a first in program history. His 29 total wins are the most-ever by a UCLA coach in his initial three seasons on the job. The total of 12 players selected in the last three NFL Drafts is the most by the UCLA program since the 2002-04 seasons.
Following the victory in the 2015 Alamo Bowl, UCLA had captured wins in 10 straight games away from the Rose Bowl to tie that school record, including a school-best 7-0 slate in 2014. That win was also the team's third over teams ranked among the Associated Press' Top 15 at the time of the contest, which was the most by the program since it defeated four such teams in 1952. The Bruins capped off the season ranked No. 10 in the final AP poll which was the highest for the program since 1998.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who became the school's all-time leading tackler during the 2014 season, went on to be UCLA's first recipient of the Butkus Award and the second-straight winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Quarterback Brett Hundley set numerous school career records, including bests for most touchdown passes and total offense. Kendricks, Hundley and defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa went on to be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Running back Paul Perkins led the Pac-12 in rushing and produced the second-highest rushing yardage total in school history.
In 2013, Mora led the Bruins to the eighth 10-win season in school history, tying the school mark for most wins in a season. His total of 19 wins during his first two seasons at the helm is the most ever by a UCLA head coach in their initial couple of seasons on the job. The team captured its 10th win by besting Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. UCLA remained in the AP rankings throughout the full 2013 season for the first time since 1998. Linebacker Anthony Barr was selected as a first-team All-America and as the school's first winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy. A school record 18 true freshmen saw action during the season and seven true freshmen position players started in a game to match that school record. Five Bruins, the most by the program since 2002, were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, headed by Barr's pick at No. 9 overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
In his first year, Mora guided the Bruins to the 2012 South Division Championship of the Pac-12 Conference and matched the school-record for wins by a first-year coach, with nine. The Bruins, who played in the Holiday Bowl, set numerous offensive records during the course of the 2012 season, including establishing a new school rushing leader, in Johnathan Franklin, and several passing marks achieved by Hundley. On defense, Barr emerged as one of the most dynamic performers in the country in his first season as a linebacker and led the nation in sacks for a good portion of the year. Kendricks led the conference in tackles, ranking 11th in the country. Four players were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, including defensive lineman Datone Jones in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.
Mora, a former NFC Coach of the Year, came to UCLA after spending part of 2010 and most of 2011 as an analyst and contributor for the NFL Network and the NFL on FOX. He brought 25 years of NFL coaching acumen with him to UCLA, including four years of NFL head coaching experience while at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06) and the Seattle Seahawks (2009).
Mora took over for Mike Holmgren as head coach of the Seahawks in 2009. He had served as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach for Seattle in the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. The Seahawks went 10-6 and finished first in the NFC West in the 2007 season and won the Wild Card game in the playoffs.
In his initial season as the head coach of Atlanta in 2004, Mora directed the team to an 11-5 record, becoming just the eighth rookie head coach in NFL history to win 11 games and the 11th to bring home a Division title. The Falcons captured the NFC South title and earned an appearance in the NFC Championship Game for only the second time in franchise history. Mora was selected as the NFC Coach of the Year.
The Falcon's defense improved from a league ranking of 32nd in 2003 to No. 14 overall the next season, fueled by a league-leading and franchise record 48 quarterback sacks. Atlanta topped the NFL in rushing in all three of Mora's seasons as head coach. In 2006, Michael Vick became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. Mora had joined the Falcons following a seven-season stint with the San Francisco 49ers (1997-2003). He spent his last five seasons in San Francisco as the defensive coordinator. In his first year, the 49ers finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, No. 2 in pass defense (25 interceptions), takeaways (41) and run defense, as well as finishing No. 3 in the League in sacks (54). The 1998 squad tied for No. 1 in the NFC, and No. 4 in the NFL in interceptions, with 21. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons with San Francisco, the defense finished no lower than fourth in the NFL versus the run and in 2003, produced 42 sacks, to tie for second in the conference. The 1997 team advanced to the NFC Championship Game and had three defensive players voted to the Pro Bowl, while the 1998 and 2002 squads captured Wild Card Game wins.
From 1992-1996, Mora worked on the staff of his dad, Jim E. Mora, as the secondary coach with the New Orleans Saints. His defensive expertise began to take shape and the Saints boasted the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL during his first two years.
In 1985, Mora broke into the NFL coaching ranks with the San Diego Chargers, under head coach Don Coryell. He spent seven seasons with the Chargers, advancing from the league's first quality control coaching position to defensive backs coach, while working for head coaches Coryell, Al Saunders and Dan Henning.
NFL Pro Bowlers who have played under coach Mora over the years include -- Julian Peterson, LB-Seattle and San Francisco; Marcus Trufant, DB-Seattle; Allen Rossum, DB-Atlanta; Patrick Kerney, DL-Atlanta; Roderick Coleman, DL-Atlanta; Keith Brooking, LB-Atlanta; DeAngelo Hall, DB-Atlanta; Michael Vick, QB-Atlanta; Alge Crumpler, TE-Atlanta; Warrick Dunn, RB-Atlanta; Bryant Young, DL-San Francisco; Lance Schulters, DB-San Francisco; Merton Hanks, DB-San Francisco; Eric Allen, DB-New Orleans; Tyrone Hughes, DB-New Orleans; Gill Byrd, DB-San Diego.
Mora began his coaching career, in 1984, at the University of Washington. He joined the staff of head coach Don James, in the role of defensive assistant, following a four-year playing career as a defensive back for the Huskies. While at UW, Mora had the opportunity to be a part of two Rose Bowl teams as a player (1981-loss to Michigan; 1982-win over Iowa), and helped the Huskies land a berth in the 1985 Orange Bowl (win over Oklahoma) as a graduate assistant coach. During his five seasons in the Husky program, Washington compiled a 48-12 record, ranked among the nation's Top 10 teams on three occasions, and did not finish lower than second in the Pac-10 standings.
Outside of his role as a coach and then, broadcaster, Mora and his wife, Shannon, founded the Jim Mora Count on Me Foundation in 2005, which strives to support children in need by affording them the opportunity to realize their potential and dreams, help create more stability in their lives, support advocacy for children, and support channels that allow children to have a voice. Mora and his wife have four children - Cole, Lillia, Ryder and Trey.