Jim Mora deserves to move on for well-publicized reasons, but UCLA showed poor taste in dumping him the morning after a valiant battle with crosstown rival — with another week left for the seniors and the rest of the organization giving their all. With recent basketball and football leadership behaviors, UCLA seems to be about winning and money, instead of class and character.
Dan Guerrero's 0-3 record of football coaching hires speaks for itself, and the mediocrity of the program should rest squarely on his shoulders. Sure, he has made some decent decisions that have helped the success of various sports teams within the athletic department, including following Title IX guidelines.
However, unless 80,000 people shell out $50 and pack the Rose Bowl to watch a women's tennis match, it is the football program that will be continually be under the microscope. There's definitely a chink in the Under Armour.
Hold on here! Mora's $12-million severance is being paid out of "exclusively athletic department generated funds"? Those funds, no matter where they are generated, belong to the UC system, and therefore, the California taxpayers.
Since when did athletic departments become autonomous institutions?
Incline Village, Nev.
When will taxpayers demand that UCLA quit throwing its money away on buyouts of coaches? The AD and president need to be accountable for fiscal ineptitude for these long-term, automatically extending contracts they continue to give out.
So, Bill Plaschke thinks the sudden firing of Coach Jim Mora is "bold." Really? Let's see...
After their limp-wristed tongue lashing to three do-nothing/know-nothing recruits who only brought shame and disrespect to their university and nation, they fire a coach who had four of six winning seasons, who has dealt with devastating injuries to key players and the loss of his starting quarterback, who recruits so well that the bulk of these players leave early for the NFL, and has boosters and donors throwing millions of dollars to a football program at a basketball school.
And, adding insult to injury, won't let him at least finish out the season and fire him on his birthday! That's cold, not bold.
Jim Mora recruited a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback in Josh Rosen. When he did, he needed to recruit a strong offensive line, a reasonably good runner and receivers who could hold onto passes. By pointing out they would be playing with a Heisman-quality quarterback and thus contend for a national title, he had the tools to do that. He failed in all three categories. That warranted his dismissal.
Bruce N. Miller
Playa del Rey
On Jim Mora's birthday UCLA gave him a birthday present. Here's $12 million, now go away. But a firing with one game left in the season does pose some interesting questions, such as when was this decision was really made, would he still be coaching if UCLA had beaten USC, and was there any thoughts to players and how this could affect them?
But in today's world, where money rules, and attention spans are short, the handwriting was on the walls as attendance at games was what one would expect from fair-weather fans. And in Los Angeles, and at UCLA, where "Championships are Made," this was just unacceptable. But I will try to remember the last time UCLA football did win a championship. Not in my lifetime, and that has been with a lot of different coaches.
Conversation from last Sunday in Westwood:
DG: Hey Jim tough loss last night. I mean Josh said he thought you guys had it won.
JM: Yeah that was a tough one, I too thought we had it won as well. You know with the penalties and messing up that punt return, we had that game.
DG: Well that's how it goes sometimes, you tried. Oh by the way: a very Happy Birthday, Jim, thanks for the memories, oh also, YOU'RE FIRED!!!
I can imagine Junior's response to being told he was fired went something like this: "Layoffs? Don't talk about layoffs! Are you kidding me? Layoffs"?!
Jim Mora should have protected his job better by enrolling as a student at UCLA and stealing something.
I love Bill Plaschke. Though he loves and follows sports intensely, Plaschke is really very much like the rest of us: He really doesn't really know much. In his Saturday column, he assures us that "he (Mora) knows that given the muddled state of the UCLA athletic program, it would take some sort of massive meltdown in these last two games before the Bruins would fire him." And on Sunday, the very next day, we learn that Mora has been fired. Do we really think that the decision for Mora's firing and $12-million buyout was not made well before Plaschke's Saturday column without Mora's knowledge?
As a longtime Bruin fan, I wish to thank coach Mora for his emphasis on the character of his players, coaches, medical staff and assistants in whatever capacity they served. I realize the time had come, but I wish him the very best in the years to come.
Wonder if UCLA will hire a new football before they make a final decision on what to do with the three basketball players who had problems in China? Or are they waiting for the basketball issue to blow over quietly, then let the kids back into the program? Remember it is all about maximizing income for the university and winning. Football and basketball are the major income generators for the athletic department.
Matthew D. Kerster
Ball and the stealers
What would I do if I were UCLA? I believe that the insane comments by LaVar Ball cast a very dark cloud over UCLA and their athletic department. Because of this I would suspend Cody Riley and Jalen Hill for as many games that UCLA deems fit but I would expel LiAngelo and rescind the scholarship offer to LaMelo.
To get the message across to other parents who think they are above it all, I would hope that LaMelo would not be offered a scholarship to any other NCAA school .
Think there is an opportunity here for UCLA and the Ball family to turn this into something positive and offer two books to be included in any shoe sales. First being, "Tips For International Travel (i.e.: Shoplifting not a crime in foreign countries)" and "Grammar For Idiots (i.e.: Ain't no big thing)."
If it takes an international incident to put a shoe in Dad's mouth, so be it.
Memo to Bill Plaschke: If you don't like what the "attention-seeking father" is saying, then stop giving him so much attention.
Magic Johnson claimed he could keep Lavar Ball in line. Apparently that was all a lie and Magic was more caught up in the hype and image than he was in the talent. Lonzo is not even in the top 10 of rookies this year.
Who knew, besides LaVar Ball of course, that it was so easy to win in the NBA? Who needs the Triangle or set plays or even defense when "Go get the W" and "do whatever it takes" is all that's needed.
The current Lakers are definitely a work in progress. Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage is terrible, but he's contributed in other ways. The good news is that the long-term potential for this team remains very high and that the future is bright. The bad news and something the team doesn't need: LaVar Ball trying to teach Luke Walton the finer points of coaching.
With Lonzo shooting 43% from the line, will teams resort to a Maul Ball strategy?
USC 28, UCLA 23
Sam Darnold won the battle, but Josh Rosen will get a bigger paycheck after the 2018 NFL draft.
George Vreeland Hill
Let's see if I have this right. Josh Rosen drove the field and fumbled in the red zone, then drove the field again and threw an interception in the end zone, but because he completed 61% of his ridiculous 52 passes, he had a stellar game? If I had a selection in the draft, I would probably take Josh over Sam as well, but please don't confuse one-dimensional game planning with stellar performance.
Clay Helton seems like a real nice, friendly, happy man. But it is so tiring year after year hearing him talk about how the Trojans are "a work in progress, hoping to learn and get better in the future." Funny, but you never hear Nick Saban saying these things. His club comes out of spring practice each year fully prepared to compete at the highest level week after week. The Trojans could be the worst 10-2 team in college football history. They have played two nice games the entire season.
The Trojans might compete for a Pac-12 title each year, but until Helton and his staff start recruiting and teaching toughness and aggressiveness like Alabama they will remain only an afterthought when it comes to competing for a national championship.
For one shining Thanksgiving morning, Bill Plaschke's column "Pause to give hearty thanks," brought back memories of the great Jim Murray. His column was heartfelt, and the perfect way to begin Thanksgiving, as well as pause and reflect on what the holiday is truly all about. Well done, Bill!
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