It's Day 2 of the Washington coaching search, and all eyes are focused squarely on Jim L. Mora. If the Twitterverse is to be believed, UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward is making a major play for Mora:
Sources tell me Washington offered to double Jim Mora's current salary if he accepts position to coach the Huskies.— Daniel Buerge (@danielbuergeLA) December 3, 2013
Will that be enough? The folks at Bruin Report Online are hearing positive things for UCLA in retaining Mora:
And after earlier stating he'd be "shocked" if Mora didn't take the UW job, 247Sport recruiting reporter Justin Hopkins now seems to think he's staying put:
It's been pretty quiet and there are no "certain" indications, but it appears right now Jim Mora Jr. Likely to remain at #UCLA— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins247) December 3, 2013
Lots of indications that Mora & staff are still on the road in California recruiting:
Jim Mora & crew of UCLA staff here at Cosumnes Oaks HS near Sacramento to recruit.Been all through state last 2 days. Is still UCLA coach— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) December 3, 2013
So if it turns out Mora doesn't take the UW job, where does Woodward turn? Here's an interesting tweet from the folks at FootballScoop.com:
Most interesting thing I've heard today re: UW search is that Chris Petersen is intrigued enough to listen. That alone says something— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 3, 2013
So what does this all mean? It appears as though Woodward has a plan and is going hard after Mora. If the above report about pay is to be believed, it would seem as though this isn't simply Woodward making a courtesy offer to Mora, but in fact is going all out to get him. If that falls through, it will indeed be interesting to see of Petersen is genuinely interested. I'm not getting my hopes up, but Roussel has good contacts, so maybe there's something there.
I would expect that Woodward is hoping to wrap up this search soon - while it's important to find the right coach, it's also important to get it done quickly for the following reasons:
- Recruiting: The longer the UW goes without their new coach in place, the more recruits will drift towards other programs and the harder it will be to woo them back; as well, there are a limited number of weekends left to host official visits, and it would be preferable to have the new coach in place ASAP so those weekends aren't wasted
- Assistants: While we all know that where an assistant coach is employed at the end of December isn't necessarily where he'll be employed in March, the sooner the head coach is in place the sooner he can begin assembling his staff, and since Washington is among the first wave of schools making new hires, they have an advantage
- Bowl practices: I'm not entirely clear on when the Huskies are scheduled to begin practicing for the bowl, but those extra 15 sessions are a big benefit in terms of continuing to teach and evaluate the younger players; a lot of position switches happen during this time, and they will be a great opportunity for the new coach & staff to begin acclimating to the team and making assessments
As always, we'll keep you posted as news breaks.
Here is the post Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee just published after speaking with Mora, and it contains Mora's first comments on the subject:
He was in good spirits, but he did not want to discuss the Washington Huskies opening, offering this politely when asked if he could comment on his status at UCLA and the Huskies opening amid speculation that he's coming or going, "I'm sorry, I can't. I really can't."
Bruce Feldman is now reporting that Jim Mora will be staying at UCLA:
We've seen this play out in other searches in the past, so until the UW hires a new coach, there will still be speculation about Mora, but for now at least it appears he's out of the picture.
Pete Roussel (aka CoachingSearch.com) throws Bo Pellini's name into the mix:
It will be interesting to see if Bo Pelini goes after the Washington job. Pelini knows Washington AD Scott Woodward well and as noted in this article from the Seattle Times in 2010, Woodward said he would have considered hiring Pelini in the past. In other news related to Washington, there is no question that Alabama offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier wants the job.