Image courtesy of UConn Athletics
The Connecticut football program has a new head football coach and it is someone with hardly any ties or the region.
UConn has hired 59 year old Jim Mora Jr as the program’s new head football coach. Mora has been out of football since being fired by UCLA in 2017.
The hiring is a surprise on many levels. Mora has been out of coaching for four years and has no ties to the Northeast. The bulk of his coaching career has been spent on the West Coast. While he brings name recognition and cache, he is an outside the box hire for the school.
Mora went 46-30 during his tenure in Westwood and took the Bruins to four bowl games. You can make the argument that UCLA has regressed under his successor Chip Kelly. The Bruins are 15-25 since Mora’s firing.
According to yahoo.com’s Pete Thamel, UConn Athletic Director David Benedict spent almost four days with Mora at his townhouse in Idaho. He also spent time with him via zoom. In total, Benedict spent about 45 hours with Mora.
Why did Jim Mora take the UConn job? He explains to @YahooSports: “I can’t wait for the day that people say to me, instead of, ‘Why would you go to UConn?’ they say, ‘I understand why you went to UConn.'" https://t.co/03suYRLm4S
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 11, 2021
The meetings must have gone well enough to make Mora comfortable with the school’s vision for the program.
As a result, Mora signed a five year, $7.5 million dollar deal to become the next coach of the Huskies. Mora already has two potebtial coordibators in place. There’s a good chance he retains Noel Mazzone as his offensive coordinator and Lou Spanos as his defensive coordinator. Both coordinated for Mora at UCLA.
Make no mistake about it. This is an intrestimg hire by Benedict. On the surface, UConn hired a big name coach to turn the fortunes of the program around. In reality, they hired someone with a great resume and no connection to the school or the northeast. It will be interesting to see how long Mora gets to turn the prigram around.
Either way, the Huskies got their man and they got him at a time that is crucial when it comes to recruiting. Now Mora can hit the ground running and hit the road in an effort to upgrade the talent.
Connecticut’s governor and the school said they were serious about being good in football. Let’s see if they put enough of their money where their mouth is.