Washington's List of Potential Head Coaches: Jim L. Mora

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

We start our look at replacements for Steve Sarkisian with the guy who seems to be at the front of everyone's mind.

Jim L. Mora seems to be pick #1 in terms of external hires for the Huskies -- and maybe the favorite choice of any candidate. Here are his pros and cons:

Career Path: GA'd at the University of Washington under Don James. Spent over 20 years in the NFL as an assistant and eventually a head coach at Atlanta and then Seattle. Compiled a 31-33 record as a pro head coach. Returned to college at UCLA two years ago, and has gone 18-8 there.

What's To Like: Mora clearly holds the position of head coach at the University of Washington in the highest of esteem. He wouldn't use it as a stepping stone; it's a destination job for him. He took over a UCLA program that had been lifeless for over a decade and quickly created a buzz. Defeated crosstown rival USC both times they matched up. Aggressive on the recruiting trail, and already recruits well in the state of Washington. Did an impressive job of filling out his coaching staff in what was essentially his first college coaching stint. His ability to relate to young players is said to be second to none.

Reasons To Be Cautious: Is he the beneficiary of a weak Pac-12 South? He is 9-1 against his division opponents at UCLA, but that record drops to 3-6 when playing teams from the much tougher Pac-12 North. Is winning 18 games in two seasons at UCLA really that impressive? There's always talent there, and one could argue that he underperformed in his first season with a puzzling blowout loss to Cal, losing back to back games against Stanford, and getting run over by Baylor in the Holiday Bowl.

Why He'd Be Interested: He'd get to coach at his alma mater. It's his self proclaimed dream job. The facilities at UW far outstrip UCLA's. The home environment at Husky Stadium destroys the one at the Rose Bowl, which is an eternity away for students to get to. He'd be getting a pay raise. Brett Hundley may be going to the NFL after this season. A pay raise is in line. He'd be moving from a school that has basketball as its #1 priority, to a school that holds football above all else. Scott Woodward has shown to be a far more competent athletic director than Dan Guerrero.

Is It A Good Fit: Unequivocally, yes. At a time when so many schools are beholden to hiring a guy with ties to their school or a previous coach, Jim Mora fits that bill for the Huskies. But he does it in a way that makes sense, rather than attempting to shoehorn a guy into a slot just because of his pedigree. Mora is a defensive mind, which resonates with the history of the Husky program, and would be welcomed back to Montlake with open arms by the majority of the Husky community.

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