UCLA fired Jim Mora on his birthday, something even more savage than USC’s Lane Kiffin firing

Photo of UCLA fired Jim Mora on his birthday, something even more savage than USC’s Lane Kiffin firing

As if getting canned at the airport wasn’t unceremonious enough, the Bruins might have one-upped their rivals.

Jim Mora’s out at UCLA the day after his Bruins couldn’t beat crosstown rivals USC. In Hollywood fashion, the Bruins gave Mora the pink slip on his 56th birthday in what can only be termed as a really unfortunate coincidence.

As is the case, UCLA will always be linked with USC because the two are blood rivals. Now they have another similarity: savagely firing a coach. If you’ll remember, the Trojan canned Lane Kiffin at the airport right after the team returned from a road loss.

“I was a good 20 yards off the tarmac,” Kiffin said.

It was actually a private room near the team bus where Haden broke the news. Kiffin tried to talk his boss into being able to coach the rest of the season after a 3-2 start. Haden didn’t budge.

“I had no idea at all,” Kiffin said. “It totally caught me off guard. I got off the plane. I put my bag on the bus. I was going to sleep at the facility. Someone came and said, ‘Pat wants to see you.’ I left my briefcase on the bus.”

But now, UCLA has their own version of an especially awkward canning, albeit one that makes a lot of sense when you look into it.

Mora spent six seasons leading the Bruins, and the first three were good ones. The Bruins went 10-16 under Rick Neuheisel in the two seasons before Mora’s arrival, then 29-11 in his first three. They finished No. 16 in the AP Poll in 2013 and No. 10 in 2014, when they won the Alamo Bowl. UCLA hadn’t broken through but looked to be on the right track.

Then the Bruins stalled out. They went 8-5 in 2015, which wasn’t good but at least carried promise in the form of five-star freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.

The Bruins are 5-6 this season, and will need a win over Cal to get to a bowl game under interim head coach Jedd Fisch.

Despite the epic comeback to open the season things never got as good for the program in 2017 as they were that first game. Rosen’s been hurt and the team’s defense has sputtered on what is a fairly talent-laden roster.

There have been fits and there have been starts. Now there’s an end. At least he’ll have some extra birthday money to play with in the form of his $12 million buyout.

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