POSITION: Head Coach
BORN: May 24, 1935 in Glendale, CA
JOINED SAINTS: 1986
YEARS WITH SAINTS: 1986 - 1996
Jim Mora's career background
In 2002, Mora was honored for his historic career as head coach of the Saints as he was enshrined in the Saints Hall of Fame. Known for turning consistently losing franchises into postseason contenders, Mora had a significant impact on New Orleans as he coached the Saints to their first winning seasons in the franchise's history.
Mora was hired as head coach of the Saints by general manager Jim Finks in 1986. As Finks' first hire, Mora brought a history of successes as head coach at Occidental College and the USFL's Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, where he compiled a 48-13-1 (.782) record and led the team to all three USFL Championships and won two before the league was forced out of business.
As head coach, Mora worked with Finks to continue to build a talented Saints roster, convincing standouts from his USFL team to join the New Orleans squad. Such players included dominant linebackers Vaughan Johnson and Sam Mills, who eventually formed the inside of the Dome Patrol with Rickey Jackson and 1986 third round draft pick Pat Swilling. Jackson and Mills were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2022, respectively. In addition to Swilling, In his first draft, Mora picked up running backs Dalton Hilliard and Rueben Mayes and tackle Jim Dombrowski, three additional future Saints Hall of Fame inductees.
In his second season in New Orleans, Mora led the Saints to their first winning season, finishing with a 12-3 record after winning nine consecutive contests to close out the season. With the second best record in the division, New Orleans earned its first playoff appearance in franchise history. The historical season also led to Mora receiving the NFL Coach of the Year Award. After the 1987 season, Mora led the Saints to three more playoff appearances and their first division title.
After New Orleans, Mora served as a color analyst for NBC for a year before being named the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The team struggled behind a rookie Peyton Manning, going 3-13, but in his second year at the helm he engineered the largest turnaround in NFL history at the time, finishing 13-3.
Mora hung up his coaching hat in 2001 and became an on-air analyst for the NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" in 2003. He continues to work as an on-air analyst for WDSU, where he does game analysis for Saints games.
The Glendale, Caif., native played tight end at Occidental College and was roommates with quarterback Jack Kemp, who played with the Buffalo Bills before becoming a U.S. Congressman for 18 years and a presidential candidate in 1988. Mora graduated in 1957 and returned three years later as the assistant coach, making his way to head coach two years later. Over three years as head coach he led the Oxy's to an 18-9 record. After Occidental, Mora had stints at Stanford, Colorado, UCLA and Washington before breaking into the NFL as a defensive line coach with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Jim Mora's Career Honors
NFL Coach of the Year - 1987
NFC Coach of the Year - 1987
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame