Several years ago I got a chance to play Pebble Beach. At the first tee we were introduced to a young man and his mother who would be playing with us. He said his name was Jim. I immediately recognized him. I said: “as in Jim Mora, the defensive coach for the San Francisco 49ers.” He smiled and said: “that would be me.” It turned out to be a very pleasant round of golf. He sure seemed like a very nice guy. I really enjoyed getting to know him.
Since then I have watched his career go through some serious ups and down. He was Head Coach for Atlanta. He was fired in January 2007. He later became the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. He was fired in January 2010. He was hired as the head football coach of UCLA in December 2011. It hasn’t been all that great and UCLA fans want him fired. During the first half of tonight’s game UCLA stunk up the field against Texas A & M. At half time it was Texas A & M leading 31 to 10. Then it got ugly. With 4:08 to go in the third quarter, Texas A & M went ahead 44-10. I kept watching the game because I thought this would probably be the last time I saw Jim Mora as head coach of UCLA.
I was wrong. UCLA came back and scored 35 unanswered points to beat Texas A & M. I am not quite sure how that was even possible. I have only seen one other quarterback play like this and that was Joe Montana when he played for Notre Dame. It was the second biggest comeback in the history of the NCAA. The previous one was when Michigan State came back from trailing Northwestern 38-3 with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter. That happened in 2006. The next week, Michigan State blew a 16 point lead against Notre Dame entering the 4th quarter. Just saying!
I do not know what UCLA will do the rest of this season. I suspect that Jim Mora’s job is safe, for at least another week. I think back on the man I played golf with all those years ago and I smile. I hope UCLA wins every game this year, until they play Wisconsin in the championship game. Don’t expect me to root against Wisconsin anytime soon. In any event the Mora of the story is that sometimes good guys don’t finish last after all and that should make everyone smile.