Seahawks hire ex-Husky Mora as assistant head coach
Jim Mora wasn't born in Seattle and he hasn't lived here in more than 20 years. But it's where he went to school from junior high through...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Jim Mora wasn't born in Seattle and he hasn't lived here in more than 20 years.
But it's where he went to school from junior high through college, where he took his first coaching job, and where he will be returning after agreeing to join the Seahawks coaching staff.
"We're just excited to be coming to an organization like Seattle," Mora said.
Mora will be an assistant head coach for the Seahawks, and his job description will include coaching the Seahawks secondary. Teryl Austin coached Seattle's defensive backs last season, but last week accepted a job in Arizona.
Mora was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for the past three seasons, but was fired earlier this month after the team failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year. He was a candidate for the Miami Dolphins' head-coaching job, which went to San Diego assistant Cam Cameron. The New York Giants were interested in him as their defensive coordinator, and Mora would have had opportunities to work as a television analyst had he decided not to coach.
Mora said the idea of taking a year off from coaching evaporated once he was offered a chance to join Mike Holmgren's staff. The two never worked together, but both have roots in the San Francisco 49ers organization.
"I've known Mike for a long, long time, and I've always had great respect for him," Mora said. "When you work in that Bill Walsh stratosphere there's always a connection."
There's also a pretty strong bond to this area. Mora came to Seattle in the 1970s when his father was an assistant coach. Dad is a former NFL coach himself, and they share the same first name, but have different middle names so don't call him Jim Mora Jr.
Mora attended Hyak Junior High, Interlake High School in Bellevue and played defensive back at Washington from 1980 to 1983. He was a graduate assistant under Don James in 1984 and began his career as an NFL assistant the following year.
Mora's affection for Washington became a flashpoint in his final month in Atlanta after he was interviewed by KJR-AM, a Seattle sports-talk radio station. The interview included former UW quarterback Hugh Millen, Mora's college roommate, who regularly appears on the station. The topic of the Huskies coaching job was brought up and Mora referred to it as his dream job and said he would drop whatever he was doing should the position become available.
The comments were not well-received in Atlanta. Mora said it was a poor attempt at humor with his college roommate and that he did not covet any job besides the Falcons position. The Falcons fired him after Atlanta finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They reached the NFC Championship Game in his first season as head coach.
Seahawks president Tim Ruskell was in Atlanta when Mora was hired in 2004.
After agreeing to join the Seahawks coaching staff, Mora told his 12-year-old son, Cole, he was once in a similar situation.
"I moved to Seattle when I was about your age," Mora said he told his son. "And I've never considered any place else to be home."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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