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Washington Redskins linebacker coach Lou Spanos will leave to take over the UCLA Bruins defensive coordinator position under new coach Jim Mora, according to the Los Angeles Times' Chris Foster. Spanos has spent three years running the Skins' linebacking corps, previously serving as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive quality control from 1995 through 2008.
He has no apparent college experience other than coaching linebackers for a year for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane after his playing career ended. Mora himself has slim college experience, however, and the Bruins are doing just fine on the recruiting trail, so that might not be all that big of a problem.
UCLA's defensive staff is now complete, including former Arizona State coordinator Noel Mazzone as the OC, as they've reached the NCAA staff limit. Mora, a coach with a defensive background, is expected to have a large role in the Bruins' defensive attack.
Jim Mora Jr. is wasting little time putting together his coaching staff at UCLA. The new Bruins coach's most recent hire is apparently Noel Mazzone, who most recently was the offensive coordinator at Arizona State.
Mora assembling a top-notch staff. RT @DevilsDigest: ASU OC Noel Mazzone accepted the OC job at UCLA— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 14, 2011
Mazzone's hire is at least the fourth since Mora was officially announced on Dec. 10. He joins SMU's Adrian Klemm, Washington's Demetrice Martin and Arizona State's Steve Broussard. All three of those coaches have strong recruiting ties to Southern California.
Mazzone comes to UCLA with a rather lengthy coaching resume that has included stops as the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, Auburn, Oregon State and NC State. He even did a stint as the wide receivers coach for the New York Jets.
With the Sun Devils since 2010, Mazzone's offense was 26th in yards per game, 13th in passing yards per game and 25th in points per game this year. The Sun Devils were in the top 30 of all three areas in 2010, as well.
For more insight and analysis of Mora's coaching hires, be sure to check out UCLA blog Bruins Nation.
Johnson is UCLA's offensive coordinator and is in charge of the team as it prepares for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl where they will take on Illinois.
UCLA recently hired Jim L. Mora as its next head coach and it remains unclear if Johnson has a spot on his coaching staff.
Johnson played quarterback at Akron between 1988 and 1989. When asked about the position, he did not comment. He told reporters he was committed to staying at UCLA until after the bowl game, which takes place December 31.
Johnson has expressed interest in staying in Los Angeles on the UCLA staff:
"I love L.A.," Johnson said. "L.A. is a place I grew up and a place I've always called home and I like it here. I'm capable of doing the job if asked to do it. I'm very comfortable with that. I'm comfortable with Jim, I know who he is, I know the type of mentality he's going to bring."
For more on the Zips, visit MAC blog Hustle Belt.
The UCLA Bruins have officially announced new head coach Jim Mora, Jr., who replaces the fired Rick Neuheisel. Mora's previous head coaching experience: stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. He's landed a five-year, $12 million deal in Westwood.
"As someone who has been around the game of football my entire life, I have always held the UCLA job in the highest esteem," said Mora. "Given its location and its tradition, UCLA is truly a sleeping giant and I realize that an opportunity of this magnitude doesn't present itself more than once in a career, so I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin."
Mora proclaimed himself a candidate for both the UCLA and Arizona State jobs a few days ago, all several years after declaring the Washington Huskies gig to be his dream job. The man likes the Pac-12, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's also the only defensive-minded coach to join the conference this time around, which has suddenly become a showcase of offensive coaches.
UCLA is expected to make a formal announcement on Saturday, and he is to be introduced next week at a news conference.
The Bruins hit nearly every possible coaching candidate for the position, including Boise State's Chris Peterson, Houston's Kevin Sumlin, and even Washington's Steve Sarkisian. Mora Jr. will be the first UCLA head coach who was not a player or assistant coach at UCLA in any capacity since Red Snaders in 1949. While Mora Jr. was never connected to the UCLA program, his father was an assistant coach for the Bruins in 1974.
More Jr. will fulfill his NFL Network broadcasting duties before coming to UCLA next week. As a head coach in the NFL, Mora Jr. was 26-22 with the Atlanta Falcons and 5-11 in his single season as the Seattle Seahawks head coach. The Bruins have gone 21-29 the past four season's under Rick Neuheisel.
For more on the UCLA Bruins and the hiring of Jim Mora Jr., visit SB Nation's UCLA blog Bruins Nation.
The UCLA Bruins are continuing their head coaching search after firing Rick Neuheisal. The newest reported target for the Bruins is current Washington Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian. Chris Foster of the Los Angeles times reports that the current Huskies and former USC assistant coach has been approached by the Bruins.
Washington football Coach Steve Sarkisian, a former assistant coach at USC, has been approached by UCLA, according to people familiar with the situation who are not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
The Bruins failed to sign Boise State head coach Chris Peterson after reportedly offering him a contract of around $4 million per year. Washington athletic director Scott Woodward stated that UCLA has not asked to speak with Sarkisian. "Steve, I know, hasn't talked to them, as far as I know," Woodward added.
For more on the UCLA Bruins coaching search, visit SB Nation's UCLA blog Bruins Nation.
Just like that, another one's off the UCLA Bruins list: the Los Angeles Times reports Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden has no interest in heading to Westwood. This should come as no surprise, seeing as Golden just signed a four-year contract extension.
Next up, according to the Times: former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Jr. He had a 31-33 record as a NFL coach, and once joked to a radio show that he'd leave the Falcons midseason to take over his alma mater, the Washington Huskies. This man really likes the Pac-12.
He's expressed interest to ESPN radio in both the UCLA job and the Arizona St. Sun Devils gig, meaning he's utilized the air waves to put himself in contention for a quarter of the Pac-12 at one point or another.
Houston Cougars head coach Kevin Sumlin, who's been a hot name for the Arizona St. Sun Devils and Texas A&M Aggies jobs, is reportedly no longer a UCLA Bruins candidate, according to ESPN. That would make two Pac-12 schools who've reportedly changed their mind on Sumlin.
UCLA's reported pursuit of Sumlin was short-lived, beginning days after the Bruins had been turned down by Boise St. Broncos head coach Chris Petersen. According to ESPN, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero met with Sumlin over the weekend -- which would have to mean, like, the day after the Conference USA Championship -- but no offer was made.
Hard to believe one loss could damage Sumlin's prospects this badly. It was kind of strange to see UCLA emerge as a contender for Sumlin's services later than everybody else did.
This leaves Miami coach Al Golden, who recently signed a four-year extension, as the only reported UCLA candidate.
Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin is on the coaching candidate list of every school in the country. This is not true, but it's starting to feel like it would just save time to assume so. After appearing on the Arizona St. Sun Devils list for a spell and looking to be Texas A&M's top choice, Sumlin's now emerged as the UCLA Bruins next prospect, according to the Los Angeles Daily News:
UCLA is expected to make a serious run at Sumlin, according to the source, and he is clearly their top choice.
According to the report, former Oregon Ducks coach Mike Bellottii isn't a legitimate candidate. Other reports have mentioned Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden. Boise St. Broncos coach Chris Petersen appeared to be target No. 1, but that wasn't ever going to happen anyway.
Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin -- presently preoccupied with the Conference USA Championship Game -- has been heavily linked with the Texas A&M Aggies job after being heavily linked with the Arizona St. Sun Devils job. He's a coveted property, no matter who's doing the coveting.
As the Associated Press puts it, Houston athletics director Mack Rhoades "says he'll be 'proactive' in making Sumlin understand how much he's valued by the university."
Enhanced compensation is in Sumlin's immediate future, whether UH is able to pony up sufficiently or not. A&M's pending SEC riches likely mean they can offer anything the Cougars can and then some, even with their various other budget concerns. TAMU is a bigger and better job in a familiar region and one to which Sumlin already has working experience ties.
Having been reportedly turned down by Boise St. Broncos head coach Chris Petersen, as is custom, the UCLA Bruins are setting their sights on Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden, according to the Los Angeles Times and others.
Golden just signed a four-year contract extension with the Canes, locking him up (not locking him up at all) through 2019. The chance to leave the impending debacle in south Florida and join the nation's sudden hottest coaches conference could be enticing, but who leaves a school weeks after signing a mega extension?
Can't help but think UCLA's heading down another dead end, if this is really Plan B. But, hey, Miami didn't do Golden any favors by failing to warn him about the mess he'd inherit if he came aboard at the U.
When you heard the UCLA Bruins planned to make Boise St. Broncos coach Chris Petersen their No. 1 coaching target, you said to yourself, "Good luck with that!" Petersen does not appear to be motivated by the same things as other coaches, and unless he's holding out for a top-five job, he's content to just keep building something neat in Idaho.
So it's no shock to see Joe Schad report that it's one up, one down for the Bruins after Petersen has declined. That was a fun side quest, and now UCLA's coaching search can begin in earnest. It's a formality.
Insiders have said it would take "dynamite" to get Peterson out of Boise, and the UCLA job isn't dynamite. The USC gig would be more like it. That sort of job is the only thing that could do it.
Boise State's Chris Petersen is UCLA's top target to replace the recently fired Rick Neuheisel, reports Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed "influential people with knowledge of the situation." UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero is expected to travel to Boise to make his pitch, which reportedly includes an annual contract worth more than $3 million.
Whether that's enough remains to be seen. Petersen is believed to have turned down a similar contract to replace Jim Harbaugh at Stanford -- and that was after Stanford's 11-1 season in which they ranked fourth in the BCS.
UCLA, on the other hand, is currently 6-6 and will likely finish the season with a losing record after facing Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game this coming Saturday. The only reason UCLA has a chance to play for the conference title is because of USC's self-imposed ban on postseason play due to NCAA infractions.
In six seasons at Boise State, Peterson has compiled a 71-6 record, going undefeated in 2006 and 2009. He's won four WAC championships and has gone 3-2 in bowl games, including two Fiesta Bowl wins. Boise State is currently ranked No. 9 in the BCS with a 10-1 record.
Houston football coach Kevin Sumlin says he has had preliminary discussions with the school about a contract renegotiation and that he has not been contacted by any other schools yet.
Black Sunday added quite a few programs to the "Now Hiring" list. Let's catch up on both the strength of each program and who they might try to hire.
All signs point to Rick Neuheisel no longer remaining the UCLA Bruins head coach after the Pac-12 Championship Game. After reports of his pending oust broke, the fourth-year UCLA coach cautioned against proclaiming his time in Westwood done just yet:
"I was told we needed to move the needle, and if the needle moved, that we'd be fine," said Neuheisel, 21-29 in his fourth year in charge of his alma mater. "I'd get to continue along my five years of my five-year contract. We have won five conference games, as opposed to three last year. We have won the right to represent the South in the conference championship. We have certainly had some unfortunate evenings where things haven't gone our way, but I think the program is headed in the right direction."
One such thing that hasn't gone the right way: losing 50-0 to the USC Trojans, the actual best team in the Pac-12 South. If not for the Trojans' NCAA postseason ban, Neuheisel would likely already be gone.
It would be pretty amazing if the Bruins manage to make it to a Rose Bowl with Neuheisel fired along the way. Or without him being fired. Just going to the Pac-12 title game as a .500 team is pretty remarkable stuff.
UCLA football head coach Rick Neuheisel is expected to be fired at the end of the season, according to The Los Angeles Times' Chris Foster, who cites "influential people close to the program who did not want to be identified publicly because the decision was not final."
The Bruins lost to cross-town rival USC Saturday in embarrassing fashion in a 50-0 defeat. Yet, UCLA will play in the Pac-12 title game because USC is banned from postseason play.
Dan Guerrero, UCLA's athletic director, will sit down with Neuheisel after the season to discuss the future, a meeting that could take place after next weekend's conference championship game against Oregon.
When asked if he knew of his job security, Neuheisel was blunt in response;
"I have no idea. All I'm trying to do is my best."
Neuheisel is 21-28 in four seasons with the Bruins, including a 3-25 record against teams that finished with a winning record.
It's Hot Seat Tuesday! With Houston Nutt's tenure in Oxford coming to an end soon, let's look at who else has some work to do to fend off football's grim reaper.
It's Hot Seat Monday! With over half of the regular season now in the books, let's take a look at the coaches least likely to be on the sideline this time next year (or, in some cases, a few weeks from now).
Now he tells us. After making at least two iffy comments about the job status of football coach Rick Neuheisel, UCLA Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero came out and said something definitive. And definitively good, for the coach. It took a nationally televised, 48-12 curbing at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats for it to happen, though.
Here's Guerrero to ESPN:
We'll evaluate at the end of the year like we always evaluate and make determinations (of) what we're going to do at that point. But right now, all this talk about him staying or him going, that does nothing for our team that is trying to regroup and go out there every week and play hard and try to win football games.
At the moment, the Bruins are still somehow only a game out of first place in the Pac-12 South despite having a losing overall record. Based on earlier comments by Guerrero, a division title sounds like goal No. 1 for Neuheisel. Not that anybody foresees it happening, but it's still possible. I guess.
Depending on how you read UCLA Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero's latest comments on football coach Rick Neuheisel, you might conclude the Bruins will need to win the Pac-12 South in order for the coach to remain in Westwood. You'll definitely conclude Guerrero should take a break from sharing so many read-between-the-lines thoughts. I think.
The critical portions of his weekly blog:
That said, in order to compete on the national stage, we must first achieve success in the Pac-12 Conference. Rick, his staff and players have worked hard to get us to the point where we are presently in position to vie for the championship in the South division ... Among the expectations for this year is to get back into a bowl game; to not accomplish this goal for a second consecutive season would be a disappointment. But be assured that returning to a bowl is just one of several steps we need to take to get this program to the level we all desire.
The statement was meant to clarify Guerrero's own earlier admission that Neuheisel's job status at UCLA was "day-to-day."
UCLA's AD called football coach Rick Neuheisel's job status "day-to-day" and said anything less than a bowl berth for the 3-3 Bruins would be a disappointment
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