UConn hires former UCLA coach Jim Mora to lead Huskies

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UConn on Thursday hired former UCLA coach Jim Mora, who also coached two NFL teams, to lead the Huskies.

The 59-year-old Mora has been out of coaching and working as a television analyst after spending six seasons (2012-17) leading UCLA to a 46-30 record.

“Jim is a proven winner, a man of integrity and he possesses the experience and energy to lead our football program back to success,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a statement.

Mora coached four seasons in the NFL, three with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the San Francisco 49ers, going 31-33. UConn has been searching for a head coach since Randy Edsall stepped down in September.

Mora and UConn agreed to a five-year deal that runs through the 2026 season, with a first-year salary of $1.5 million, according to the school’s announcement.

He will be added to the UConn staff immediately as an assistant coach, allowing him the ability to do some coaching in practice with the current players and, most importantly, to have full privileges in recruiting.

“This program is loaded with potential, and I look forward to getting to know the student-athletes on the team and am eager to get to work,” Mora said in a statement.

Mora’s father, also named Jim, was a head coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

The Huskies are 1-8 in the their first season playing as an independent in football. After starting the season 0-2, Edsall, who was in his second stint leading the program, announced he would retire after this season.

A day later, it was announced Edsall would step down immediately and Lou Spanos took over as interim coach.

The Huskies football program has not had a winning season since 2010, reaching just one bowl game. The collapse of Big East football left UConn as a member of the American Athletic Conference and the football program was never able to find its footing in the AAC.

UConn made the decision to leave the AAC and return to the basketball-centric Big East in 2020, turning the football program into one of the few FBS independents.

Last year would have been UConn’s first season as an independent, but with the program in transition, the school canceled the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Huskies’ only victory this season has come against Yale from the Ivy League. UConn plays at Clemson this Saturday.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.