The Bruins' new coach made a big impact in his first year and is now getting national recognition.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora has been named a finalist for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Mora is among 10 finalists, but is the only representative of the Pac-12. He led the Bruins to the top of the Pac-12 South in 2012, and came just short of leading the program to its first Rose Bowl since 1998.
Mora inherited a team that went 6-8 in 2011, and has already improved on that win total by three with a game left to play. The Bruins are 9-4 after narrowly dropping the Pac-12 Championship Game to Stanford on the road. UCLA clinched their spot in that game by defeating rival USC, a sure-fire way for Mora to endear himself to Bruin football fans.
The Bruins can get to double-digit wins for the first time since 2005 when they face Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. That will be the most prestigious bowl in which UCLA has participated since the aforementioned Rose Bowl.
Fans will play a part in the selection, and can vote for their favorite finalist at coachoftheyear.com.