"The search for Steve's successor has already begun," Woodward continued. "I will work hard in the coming days to find the absolute best fit for the University of Washington but I will not comment on or speculate about the process. We have tremendous tradition, fan base and a world-class institution, and I am confident we will find the right man. We will compete for Pac-12 and national championships and we will do so with class, integrity, sportsmanship and a commitment to our student-athletes. That promise is at the forefront of my mind as I embark on finding our next football coach."
UPDATE 12/5: Kim Grinolds and I did a quick, 13-minute podcast with updates on what we know, as well as the rampant speculation on who might become UW's next head coach. You can listen to it HERE
That being said, here's a look at the main candidates:
What's the BUZZ?
PETERSEN UPDATE - 12/5: CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman has sources saying Petersen is interviewing with Washington Thursday night. We have had other sources with knowledge of the situation confirm contact tonight with the BSU Head Coach. Could this mean the UW Coaching Search could be done in the next 24 hours?
PETERSEN UPDATE - 12/5: ESPN 710 in Seattle and other outlets are reporting that they have sources saying Petersen will stay in Boise. Boise State President Bob Kustra issued this statement to the Idaho Statesman's Brian Murphy on Thursday morning: "We are fully committed to Coach Petersen remaining at Boise State and, as always, intend to do everything in our power to support him as Boise State's football coach."
PETERSEN UPDATE - 12/3: A few media members, including ESPN's Joe Schad and FootballScoop.com, are saying that Petersen would be interested in listening to what Washington has to offer.
BIO: Success has come at extraordinary levels for Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen during his seven years guiding the program. Petersen is the winningest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision, boasting an 84-8 record (.913) since taking over as head coach of the Broncos in 2006.
The Broncos have won 10-or-more games in each of his seven seasons, the longest active streak in the country. Included were 12-or-more wins in four-consecutive years (2008-11), the only school to accomplish the feat since 1900.
The Broncos have won five conference championships under "Coach Pete" - four in the Western Athletic Conference (2006, 2008-10), and one in the Mountain West (2012). In conference games, Petersen's two-year record in the Mountain West is 13-2 (.867). The Broncos went 38-2 (.950) in the WAC during his first five years as head coach at Boise State.
Boise State has been to a postseason bowl game in each year under Petersen (5-2), and boasts a streak of four-straight bowl victories. The Broncos won the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 and 2009 seasons, and the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Each Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory capped undefeated seasons for the Broncos, who went 13-0 in 2006 and 14-0 in 2009. Petersen was named Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year following each season, the only head coach to win the award multiple times.
Following the 2010 season, Petersen was unanimously selected as the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, awarded annually to a coach who represents the highest ideals both on and off the field.
In addition to winning the Bear Bryant Award in 2006, Petersen was a finalist for the 2006 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award and was named the Region 4 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association. He was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual and Eddie Robinson Awards in 2008, and for the Joseph V. Paterno Award in 2010.
He was also named WAC Coach of the Year in both 2008 and 2009.
The ninth head coach in the 40-plus-year history of Boise State's football participation at the four-year level, Petersen guided the Broncos to two of the finest seasons in school history in 2006 and 2009, posting undefeated records of 13-0 and 14-0, respectively.
The 2006 season was Petersen's first as head coach, and he is the only coach since 1900 to win 13 games in his debut season with an FBS team. The undefeated season was the first at the school since 1958 - when the school was still a junior college. The season also marked Boise State's first BCS bowl berth and a fifth-straight WAC title.
The first Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has been described as one of the greatest collegiate games of all-time as Boise State defeated the University of Oklahoma, 43-42 in overtime. Three years later Boise State became the only non-BCS school to win two BCS games with a 17-10 win over TCU.
In 2010, the Broncos compiled a 12-1 record, earned a 26-3 victory over Utah in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and captured a share of the WAC title for the eighth time in 10 seasons in the league. The Broncos began the season ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Polls, and ultimately reached No. 2 in each - the highest ranking in school history. Boise State also reached its highest ranking in the BCS standings at No. 3.
Petersen's teams excel in the classroom at the same high levels achieved on the field. In 2011 Boise State was the only school to finish in the top 10 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll (No. 6) and the Associated Press Poll (No. 8), and also receive a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA for finishing in the top-10 percent of the Academic Progress Rate.
The Public Recognition Award was the second of three-straight such honors for Boise State from 2010-12.
The Broncos tied for the second-highest APR in the country in 2011 (989), and posted the second-highest APR in the country in 2012 (993). In 2010 Petersen was recognized for having the best APR average for the two previous reporting years amongst FBS head coaches.
During the 2012 fall semester, the Bronco football team improved its cumulative grade-point-average to a then-school-record 2.98, with 60 student-athletes posting a semester or cumulative GPA of 3.00-or-higher. In spring of 2013, the squad combined for a GPA 3.00, breaking the record once more.
Under Petersen the Broncos have become a consistent presence in the national rankings. Boise State was ranked No. 19 in the year's final Bowl Championship Series standings, the only school to be ranked in the final poll the past seven years - all under the direction of Petersen. Five of those years the Broncos were ranked among the top 10 (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) in the final BCS standings. Boise State ended the 2012 season ranked No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll.
Considered one of the most innovative offensive minds in the collegiate coaching ranks, Petersen and his staff have guided an offense that ranks amongst the nation's best year-in and year-out.
In 2011 - the team's first as a member of the Mountain West - the Broncos completed the season ranked fifth-nationally in scoring offense (44.23) and ninth-nationally in total offense (481.31). In addition to leading the country in sacks allowed (0.62), Boise State also ranked fourth-nationally in passing efficiency (171.57) and 11th-nationally in passing offense (309.38).
Defense was the strength of the 2012 team as the Bronco defense ranked among the top-10 nationally in four major categories: fifth in pass efficiency defense (101.35 rating), fifth in pass defense (169.45 ypg), seventh in red zone efficiency (0.68) and eighth in scoring defense (15.77 ppg).
Individual success is something Boise State has grown accustomed to under Petersen's guidance, as he has helped develop a number of players to elite levels. Of the Broncos' 18 NFL Draft selections since Petersen debuted as head coach, four have been selected in the first round. Offensive tackle Ryan Clady became the first Bronco to be selected in the first round, going No. 12 overall to the Denver Broncos in 2008. Since then, Kyle Wilson was selected No. 29 overall by the New York Jets in 2010, and Shea McClellin and Doug Martin became the first pair of Broncos to be selected in the first round in the same year, going No. 19 (Chicago Bears) and No. 31 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), respectively, in 2012.
Boise State had a school-record six players selected in 2012: McClellin, Martin, third-round selection Tyrone Crawford (Dallas Cowboys), fifth-round selection George Iloka (Cincinnati Bengals), sixth-round selection Billy Winn (Cleveland Browns) and seventh-round selection Nate Potter (Arizona Cardinals).
Most recently, Jamar Taylor was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 2013 draft (No. 54 overall), becoming the second-highest cornerback drafted in school history.
Martin and Clady were each named to the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season, making Boise State one of only 24 schools to place multiple players on the all-star roster.
As Boise State's offensive coordinator and then as its head coach, Petersen was instrumental in the development of quarterbacks Ryan Dinwiddie, Jared Zabransky and Kellen Moore, who are among the most successful collegiate signal callers in the past decade.
Moore, who set the NCAA record with 50-career wins, won three conference offensive player of the year awards and became the first player in NCAA history to record four seasons with both 3,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards of total offense.
Moore rewrote the Boise State record books, claiming the school's career records for total offense, passing yards, attempts, completions, passing touchdowns, 200-yard passing games and 300-yard passing games. His career passing touchdowns (142) are the second-most in NCAA history and his career passing yardage (14,667) ranks fifth all-time.
Moore received unprecedented individual recognition during his four-year starting career, becoming the first Heisman Trophy finalist in school history following his junior campaign. He was also a two-time finalist for both the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards, a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was a two-time recipient of the Touchdown Club of Columbus' Top Quarterback Award, which was ultimately named in his honor.
Twice Moore led the nation in passing efficiency, and in 2009 his interception-to-pass attempt ratio (0.69 percent; 3-of-431) broke the NCAA record for a single season.
Dinwiddie, who guided the Bronco offense from 2001-03, finished as the NCAA's career passing efficiency leader with a rating of 168.19. With Petersen as his quarterback coach, as well as the team's offensive coordinator, Dinwiddie led the Broncos to a 28-6 record as a starter.
After Dinwiddie left, Petersen helped groom Zabransky into one of the nation's most successful quarterbacks from 2004-06. Zabransky led Boise State to three-straight league titles, two undefeated regular seasons and a 32-5 record in his three years as a starter - including a 23-1 record in WAC games.
In Petersen's seven years as head coach, 47 players have earned first-team all-conference honors and 26 others have been named second-team all-conference. Several have also earned All-America accolades, including Clady and Potter, who were each consensus All-Americans. In 2006, Petersen's first season as head coach, Clady earned second-team All-America recognition from SI.com, while Ian Johnson (first-team SI.com and CBS Sportline; second-team Sporting News; and third-team Associated Press) and linebacker Korey Hall (second-team Sporting News) also earned All-America honors that year.
In 2009 two of Petersen's players earned All-America honors. Moore was named first-team All-America by ESPN.com, SI.com and CBSSports.com, and Wilson earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Associated Press. Moore was also named All-America by the Football Writers Association of America in 2010, and was an honorable mention All-American in 2011 (SI.com).
Potter, a consensus All-American following the 2011 season, was also Boise State's first Academic All-America First Team selection since 1978.
In his five seasons as offensive coordinator, Petersen had two players earn All-America honors - running back Brock Forsey in 2002 and offensive tackle Daryn Colledge in 2004. He also helped 12 Broncos earn first-team All-WAC honors, while two (Forsey in 2002 and Dinwiddie in 2003) were named WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Prior to taking over the top coaching position at Boise State in 2006, Petersen was offensive coordinator for the Broncos from 2001-05. During that time the Boise State offense featured one of the most potent attacks in the country, averaging 41.3 points per game while also finishing as the nation's top scoring team twice (2002 and 2003). The Broncos also finished second (2004) and eighth (2005) in the nation in scoring while Petersen was running the Broncos' offense. During Petersen's five seasons as offensive coordinator, Boise State finished in the top 10 in total offense three times - first in 2002, fourth in 2004 and seventh in 2003.
As Boise State's offensive coordinator, he was twice (2002 and 2004) a finalist for the Broyles Award, which honors the nation's top assistant football coach.
Prior to joining the Boise State staff under former head coach Dan Hawkins, Petersen worked at Oregon as wide receivers coach. He joined the Ducks' staff in 1995 and immediately helped contribute to a passing attack that ranked among the nation's elite each of the six seasons he was an assistant. Twice during Petersen's tenure at Oregon, the Duck offense broke the school record for single-season passing yards, and three times in the same time period the team broke the single-season school record for most touchdowns.
Prior to working at Oregon, Petersen served as the quarterbacks coach at Portland State from 1993-94, helping the Vikings advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs both seasons.
In 1992 Petersen was the quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh. That season the Panthers established a school record for passing yards and ranked eighth-nationally in total offense and passing. Additionally, he contributed to the development of first-team All-Big East Conference quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who eclipsed the school's passing yardage totals previously held by Dan Marino.
Petersen's success as a coach can be linked to his record-setting career as a quarterback at the University of California, Davis. As a senior with the Aggies, he was named the Northern California Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was the top-rated Division II quarterback in the nation. Petersen received second-team Kodak Division II All-America honors and still holds the Division II record for career pass completion percentage (69.6 percent). Petersen was inducted into the UC Davis Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 2011 Petersen earned the inaugural Legacy Award from UC Davis which honors past Aggie student-athletes for achievements made subsequent to their departure from the UC Davis campus.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in psychology from UC Davis in 1988, Petersen started his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as UC Davis' head freshman coach in 1987-88 and the receivers coach from 1989-91. Petersen holds a master's degree in educational psychology from UC Davis. He and his wife Barbara are the parents of two sons, Jack and Sam.
What's the BUZZ?
NUSSMEIER UPDATE - 12/5: With the news that Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen is likely to stay in Boise, does that mean Doug Nussmeier jumps to the head of UW's wish list? Many sources believe that Washington Athletic Director was looking at Petersen first but then top coordinators after that, including Nussmeier and current UW Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox. Add to that the fact that ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported that Nuss is scheduled to have an interview with UW Thursday will only add fuel to the fire. TNussmeier has apparently made it known that he would love to come back to Seattle. There's also rumors out there - unconfirmed - that Woodward is making inquiries about other 'big splash' head coaching hires, but at this time we have not been able to determine who else he has spoken to.
NUSSMEIER UPDATE - 12/2: There has been no public comment from Nussmeier about possibly coming back to Seattle yet, but the Portland native and Sarkisian's first Offensive Coordinator at UW certainly fits the bill if Woodward is looking to go back to the 'hot offensive coordinator' well again. When he joined Alabama in January, 2012 all Nuss did was help lead the Crimson Tide offense to a National Championship. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron threw for a school-record 26 touchdown passes.
BIO: Doug Nussmeier begins his second season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama after joining the Crimson Tide in February 2012 after three seasons at the University of Washington.
In Nussmeier's first year at the helm of the Alabama offense, the 2012 Crimson Tide produced one of the most proficient offensive seasons in school history. UA set records for rushing/passing touchdowns scored (68), total points (542), total offense (6,237) and passing touchdowns (31). His tutelage of quarterback AJ McCarron resulted in one of the best seasons by a quarterback in school history. McCarron set a record for single-season touchdowns (30) while throwing for 2,933 yards (second in school history), completing 67.2 percent of his passes and throwing just three interceptions. He also led the nation in passing efficiency (175.28). Nussmeier built a balanced and explosive offense. The Tide rushed for 3,185 yards while throwing for 3,052, becoming the first Alabama team to rush and pass for 3,000 yards in a single season while accounting for 134 plays of 15-yards or more (76 passing and 58 rushing).
Despite replacing a first-round pick at quarterback, Nussmeier's 2011 offense at Washington had a very successful campaign in 2011 and the unit improved statistically in each of his three seasons. Washington's offense scored 57 touchdowns and 434 points in 2011, the second-highest totals in school history (behind only the 1991 national championship team). The 2011 season marks for passing yards (3,322) and total offense (5,328) also were second in the UW record book. Nussmeier helped guide sophomore quarterback Keith Price to one of the top individual seasons at Washington. As the first-year starter, Price broke records for passing touchdowns (33), completion percentage (.669) and passing efficiency (161.9). That efficiency rating was seventh nationally and second in the Pac-12 behind only Andrew Luck of Stanford. The Huskies scored 30 or more points in nine of 13 games and also featured an outstanding ground game led by Chris Polk, who ranked 16th nationally with an average of 114.5 rushing yards per game.
In 2010, Nussmeier oversaw a balanced Huskies attack that finished with 2,238 rushing yards and 2,475 passing yards. The offense was led by Polk, whose 1,415 rushing yards were second-most in UW single-season history. Nussmeier also mentored quarterback Jake Locker, who finished his career ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in nearly every major quarterbacking category. Locker was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the by Tennessee Titans.
In his first season at Washington, Nussmeier's offense made tremendous strides over the previous season. The Huskies scored 26.1 points per game, nearly doubling their average from the previous year while total offense was up more than 110 yards per game over the 2008 average. Nussmeier also spent his first season coaching Locker, who had one of the most productive seasons in Huskies history. Locker passed for 2,800 yards, the third-highest total in school history, while the offense boasted a 1,000-yard rusher in Polk.
Nussmeier came to the UW after one season as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State. He joined the Fresno State staff after spending two seasons as the quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams on the staff of head coach Scott Linehan. Nussmeier coached Marc Bulger, who was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2006, finishing with 4,301 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and only eight picks.
Before his time with the Rams, Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach at Michigan State for three seasons. In 2005, MSU quarterback Drew Stanton passed for a school-record 3,415 yards, breaking a record set by another Nussmeier pupil, Jeff Smoker, who threw for 3,395 yards in 2003. Smoker also set MSU records for completions (302) and passing touchdowns (21).
Nussmeier, who played in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League, began his coaching career in the CFL. In 2001, he was the quarterbacks coach for the British Columbia Lions and then served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Ottawa Renegades in 2002.
During his outstanding collegiate career at Idaho, Nussmeier passed for 10,824 yards and averaged 309.1 yards per game in total offense for his career. Along with Steve McNair, Daunte Culpepper and Colin Kaepernick, he is one of only four quarterbacks in NCAA history to total 10,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing during his career. Nussmeier set Idaho school records for touchdown passes (91), passing efficiency (154.4), completion percentage (.609) and total offense (12,054 yards). In 1993, he won the Walter Payton Award, Division I-AA's version of the Heisman Trophy. That year, Nussmeier led Idaho to an 11-3 record and set a school record with 33 touchdown passes. He also was the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year in 1992, when the Vandals went 9-3 and won the conference crown. Nussmeier was inducted into the University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 1994, Nussmeier was drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints. He played four years (1994-97) with the Saints and one with the Indianapolis Colts (1998). In 2000, he helped the BC Lions win the Grey Cup Championship.
The Oswego, Ore., native attended Lakeridge High School and earned his bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Idaho in 1994. He and his wife Christi have two sons Garrett and Colton and a daughter Ashlynn.
What's the BUZZ?
WILCOX UPDATE - 12/4: We've learned that there is a coaches meeting with Scott Woodward Wednesday afternoon, so Wilcox may get a feel for his future outside of the bowl game, Washington should know their bowl fate no latter than next Monday. It's also been rumored that the defensive staff would love to stick together and continue what was started under Sarkisian.
WILCOX UPDATE - 12/2: Multiple source have reported that Wilcox, along with Washington Defensive Line Coach Tosh Lupoi, will join Sarkisian at USC, but we believe all of the UW assistant coaches have been asked to be at work Tuesday morning, where their futures will be discussed.
While we believe Wilcox has not been offered the UW Head Coaching job at this point, we've also been told that Wilcox has not made any immediate decisions about his future and is waiting to see who Woodward has targeted.
BIO: Justin Wilcox was named Washington's defensive coordinator on Jan. 2, 2012. A native of Junction City, Ore., and a four-year letterman for Oregon from 1996 to 1999, Wilcox returns to his Northwest roots by joining the Husky staff. He comes to Washington after having spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator at Tennessee.
In 2011, Wilcox presided over a Tennessee defense that ranked No. 28 in the nation in total defense (340.5 yards per game) and 35th in scoring defense. In his first season with the Vols in 2010, his defense led a late-season rally that led them to a bowl game. The UT defense held four straight November opponents to 14 or fewer points in that season-ending stretch.
Wilcox began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Boise State in 2001 and 2002. He then moved to California, where he was linebackers coach for three seasons (2003-05), helping the Bears to a 26-12 record and three bowl games during that span. In 2006, he returned to Boise State as defensive coordinator and mentored a Broncos squad that led the WAC in defense all four seasons he worked there (2006-09). In 2009, BSU finished the season ranked No. 14 in the nation in total defense and scoring defense, and No. 3 in turnover margin. In 2008, Boise's defense was third nationally in scoring at just 12.6 points per game. Eight of 13 opponents were held to 10 points or fewer. In Wilcox's first season, 2006, the Bronco ranked No. 8 in the nation in rush defense and Boise State finished the year with a 13-0 record and a famous overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
A safety and cornerback at Oregon, Wilcox was a classmate and roommate of current Huskies linebackers coach Peter Sirmon. During his four seasons with the Ducks, he helped the team to four bowl games. In 1999, Wilcox earned first-team Academic All-Pac-10 and won the team's Bob Officer Award, presented to the Ducks' player who excels in spite of physical adversity.
Wilcox, who earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology from Oregon in 1999, is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox, an 11-year member of the San Francisco 49ers.
What's the BUZZ?
MORA UPDATE - 12/2:Ever since Sarkisian's departure rampant speculation has littered the internet about Mora's potential interest in returning to his alma mater. There was even talk that Mora may be in Seattle for the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and New Orleans, but it was later confirmed that he was in Northern California recruiting for the Bruins. Los Angeles media had reported earlier that UW had reached out to Mora, and Mora is scheduled to be at the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center in Tacoma on Thursday for a charity event.
Speculation - chiefly from Football Scoop - also circulated that Woodward was meeting either with Mora Monday night or Tuesday, but those reports have not been confirmed. Mora has not publicly come out with any comment about the speculation, but it does sound as if UCLA is going to try and do everything they can to meet Mora's concerns regarding assistant compensation and admission requirements for recruiting.
BIO: On December 10, 2011, former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora was named UCLA's 17th head coach in school history.
In his first year, Mora guided the Bruins to the 2012 South Division Championship of the Pac-12 Conference and matched the school-record for wins by a first-year coach, with nine. The Bruins, who played in the Holiday Bowl, set numerous offensive records during the course of the 2012 season, including establishing a new school rushing leader, in Johnathan Franklin, and several passing marks achieved by Brett Hundley. On defense, Anthony Barr emerged as one of the most dynamic performers in the country in his first season as a linebacker and led the nation in sacks for a good portion of the year. Eric Kendricks led the conference in tackles, ranking 11th in the country. Four players were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, including defensive end Datone Jones in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.
Mora, a former NFC Coach of the Year, came to UCLA after spending part of 2010 and most of 2011 as an analyst and contributor for the NFL Network and the NFL on FOX. He brought 25 years of NFL coaching acumen with him to UCLA, including four years of NFL head coaching experience while at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06) and the Seattle Seahawks (2009).
Mora took over for Mike Holmgren as head coach of the Seahawks in 2009. He had served as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach for Seattle in the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. The Seahawks went 10-6 and finished first in the NFC West in the 2007 season and won the Wild Card game in the playoffs.
In his initial season as the head coach of Atlanta in 2004, Mora directed the team to an 11-5 record, becoming just the eighth rookie head coach in NFL history to win 11 games and the 11th to bring home a Division title. The Falcons captured the NFC South title and earned an appearance in the NFC Championship Game for only the second time in franchise history. Mora was selected as the NFC Coach of the Year.
The Falcon's defense improved from a league ranking of 32nd in 2003 to No. 14 overall the next season, fueled by a league-leading and franchise record 48 quarterback sacks. Atlanta topped the NFL in rushing in all three of Mora's seasons as head coach. In 2006, Michael Vick became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. Mora had joined the Falcons following a seven-season stint with the San Francisco 49ers (1997-2003). He spent his last five seasons in San Francisco as the defensive coordinator. In his first year, the 49ers finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, No. 2 in pass defense (25 interceptions), takeaways (41) and run defense, as well as finishing No. 3 in the League in sacks (54). The 1998 squad tied for No. 1 in the NFC, and No. 4 in the NFL in interceptions, with 21. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons with San Francisco, the defense finished no lower than fourth in the NFL versus the run and in 2003, produced 42 sacks, to tie for second in the conference. The 1997 team advanced to the NFC Championship Game and had three defensive players voted to the Pro Bowl, while the 1998 and 2002 squads captured Wild Card Game wins.
From 1992-1996, Mora worked on the staff of his dad, Jim E. Mora, as the secondary coach with the New Orleans Saints. His defensive expertise began to take shape and the Saints boasted the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL during his first two years.
In 1985, Mora broke into the NFL coaching ranks with the San Diego Chargers, under head coach Don Coryell. He spent seven seasons with the Chargers, advancing from the league's first quality control coaching position to defensive backs coach, while working for head coaches Coryell, Al Saunders and Dan Henning.
NFL Pro Bowlers who have played under coach Mora over the years include -- Julian Peterson, LB-Seattle and San Francisco; Marcus Trufant, DB-Seattle; Allen Rossum, DB-Atlanta; Patrick Kerney, DL-Atlanta; Roderick Coleman, DL-Atlanta; Keith Brooking, LB-Atlanta; DeAngelo Hall, DB-Atlanta; Michael Vick, QB-Atlanta; Alge Crumpler, TE-Atlanta; Warrick Dunn, RB-Atlanta; Bryant Young, DL-San Francisco; Lance Schulters, DB-San Francisco; Merton Hanks, DB-San Francisco; Eric Allen, DB-New Orleans; Tyrone Hughes, DB-New Orleans; Gill Byrd, DB-San Diego.
Mora began his coaching career, in 1984, at the University of Washington. He joined the staff of head coach Don James, in the role of defensive assistant, following a four-year playing career as a defensive back for the Huskies. While at UW, Mora had the opportunity to be a part of two Rose Bowl teams as a player (1981-loss to Michigan; 1982-win over Iowa), and helped the Huskies land a berth in the 1985 Orange Bowl (win over Oklahoma) as a graduate assistant coach. During his five seasons in the Husky program, Washington compiled a 48-12 record, ranked among the nation's Top 10 teams on three occasions, and did not finish lower than second in the Pac-10 standings.
Outside of his role as a coach and then, broadcaster, Mora and his wife, Shannon, founded the Jim Mora Count on Me Foundation in 2005, which strives to support children in need by affording them the opportunity to realize their potential and dreams, help create more stability in their lives, support advocacy for children, and support channels that allow children to have a voice. Mora and his wife have four children - Cole, Lillia, Ryder and Trey.