Although Jim Mora hasn't coached college football in a quarter-century, the longtime NFL coach has 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.
Neuheisel went 21-29 over four seasons at his alma mater, getting fired last month after UCLA was embarrassed 50-0 by coach Lane Kiffin's fifth-ranked Trojans. USC's postseason ban still allowed the Bruins to play in the first Pac-12 championship game, where UCLA lost 49-31 to Oregon last week.
Texas A&M names Sumlin as new coach
Texas A&M has hired Houston's Kevin Sumlin as its coach.
A&M athletic director Bill Byrne announced the decision Saturday. He says he believes Sumlin "is the right person to lead our football program into the Southeastern Conference."
Speculation intensified that Sumlin would move about 100 miles northwest to College Station after A&M fired Mike Sherman. Sumlin was an assistant coach at A&M under R.C. Slocum in 2001-02.
The Aggies (6-6) are scheduled to play Northwestern (6-6) in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston on Dec. 31, with A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter serving as interim coach.
It will be the Aggies' last game as a Big 12 team before moving to the SEC next season.
The Cougars (12-1) play Penn State (9-3) in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2, with assistant Tony Levine serving as the interim head coach.
Grambling wins 16-15 in SWAC title game
Jacarde Carter returned a fumble 69 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give Grambling State a 16-15 victory over Alabama A&M in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.
Grambling (8-4) won its sixth SWAC championship in the 13-year history of the event. Four of those wins have come against Alabama A&M, which fell to 1-5 all-time in the title game.
An 11-yard touchdown run by Kaderius Lacey and a 36-yard scoring pass from Deaunte Mason to Terence Pride helped A&M (8-4) build a 15-0 lead late in the first half. .
Grambling closed the gap to 15-9 in the third quarter on an 80-yard touchdown pass from D.J. Williams to Mario Louis.