LOS ANGELES -- UCLA football coach Jim Mora has agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2017 season, the university announced Friday, ending speculation Mora would leave for another job.
Mora, hired before last season, originally signed a five-year, $12 million deal. Terms of the additional year were not released, but the extension sends a clear message that Mora is committed to rebuilding the UCLA football program despite reports that he was being sought by other schools and NFL teams. According to multiple reports, the San Diego Chargers recently inquired about Mora as a possible replacement for their vacant head coaching position.
"First and foremost, I want to thank (athletic director) Dan Guerrero for his commitment to me and my staff, and our shared belief that we are on the road to creating something very special," Mora said in a statement. "I believe UCLA will win championships. The 2012 team established a foundation which will launch us forward. Our staff, our returning players, our administration, and the entire Bruin community are pulling together in an effort to win championships. I am proud of our players for what they are doing in the classroom and on the field, and I am grateful for UCLA's commitment to achieve excellence."
In his first season with the Bruins, Mora led UCLA to a 9-5 record, the Pac-12 South title and UCLA's first victory over USC since 2006. The Bruins lost to Baylor in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, but certainly appeared to be a team on the rise after going 34-43 in the previous six seasons.
"What Jim Mora has accomplished in just one season as our head coach is remarkable," Guerrero said in a statement. "The wins, the Pac-12 South Championship, and the bowl berth were accompanied by an equally impressive performance by the team in the classroom and in the community."
Mora had spent the previous 25 years of his coaching career in the NFL, including stints as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks, but has said numerous times this season that he enjoys the college game much more because of the impact he can have on young players.
Still, he said, he needed a commitment from UCLA that football would be a priority. He asked for facility upgrades and pay increases for his assistants, and the school has obliged. All of the assistant coaches are in the process of negotiating salary increases, and the school announced Friday that it is working on plans for an on-campus training facility.
"Jim and I will continue to work closely as partners to enhance all aspects of the program moving forward so that we may continue to compete at the highest level," Guerrero said. "We are thrilled with Jim's commitment to our student-athletes and to this university."