STORRS, Conn. – Jim L. Mora, has been named as the next head football coach of the University of Connecticut, as announced by director of athletics David Benedict on Thursday, November 11. Mora will become the 32nd head coach in the program’s history, which dates back to 1896.
Mora will be designated as an assistant coach through the end of the 2021 UConn football season, allowing for him to carry out various duties, including recruiting responsibilities, through November 27. Mora will officially begin his tenure as head football coach on November 28.
“Getting to know Jim Mora over the last several days has been a terrific experience,” Benedict said. “Jim is a proven winner, a man of integrity, and he possesses the experience and the energy to lead our football program back to success. Jim is excited and undaunted by this challenge, and we both know that this program has great potential. I’m certain that, under Coach Mora’s leadership, UConn football will once again realize that potential.”
Mora and the University have agreed to a five-year deal through the 2026 season, and he will earn $1.5MM during his first year. The agreement also includes the opportunity for Mora to earn an additional $200,000 annually in performance incentives.
“I am impressed by Coach Mora’s tremendous wealth of experience and achievement professionally and in intercollegiate football,” said UConn’s interim president Andrew Agwunobi. “He is a true coach on- and off-the-field, and that degree of dedication will greatly benefit our student-athletes in his charge. I enthusiastically join UConn Nation in welcoming him to Storrs and look forward to his leadership of our program in the years ahead.”
Mora, 59, brings 31 years of coaching experience in both the college ranks and the NFL to Storrs. He has 10 years of head coaching experience, including six as the head coach of UCLA where he accumulated a 46-30 overall record and a 29-24 mark in Pac-12 play. Mora led the Bruins to the 2012 Pac-12 South Championship and won the 2013 Sun Bowl and 2014 Alamo Bowl. The Bruins were ranked as high as No. 7 nationally during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to become the head football coach at the University of Connecticut,” Mora said. “UConn possesses a nationally-recognized academic and athletics brand and I am thrilled to become a member of the community that makes up UConn Nation. This program is loaded with potential, and I look forward to getting to know the student-athletes on the team and am eager to get to work!”
Under Mora, 30 Bruins were selected in the NFL Draft, including at least one first rounder in every year except one. The 30 NFL Draft selections were the most of any Pac-12 program during that time.
A 1983 graduate of the University of Washington, Mora took over for Mike Holmgren as head coach of the Seattle 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 the Atlanta Falcons 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 honored as the NFC Coach of the Year following the 2004 season.
Prior to becoming the head coach for the Falcons, Mora served on the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff from 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 father, Jim E. Mora, as the secondary coach with the New Orleans Saints. The Saintsput together the No. 1 pass defense in the league during Mora’s first two years with the team.
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, Anthony Barr, LB-Minnesota.
Mora began his coaching career in 1984 at the University of Washington. 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 overall record.
The Jim Mora File
2012-17 UCLA Head Coach
2009 Seattle Seahawks Head Coach
2007-08 Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator
2004-06 Atlanta Falcons Head Coach
1999-2003 San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator
1997-98 San Francisco 49ers Secondary
1992-96 New Orleans Saints Secondary
1989-91 San Diego Chargers Secondary
1985-88 San Diego Chargers Defensive Quality Control
1984 University of Washington Graduate Assistant
COURTESY UCONN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS