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Originally published Friday, October 31, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Mora will not be a candidate for Huskies job

Seahawks assistant coach Jim Mora, who will succeed Mike Holmgren as head coach next season, is not a candidate to coach the Washington Huskies.

Seattle Times staff reporters

Jim Mora, the favorite of many fans to become the next coach of the Washington Huskies, said Friday he will not be a candidate for the job.

"I am not a candidate for the University of Washington coaching vacancy," Mora said in a statement released by the Seahawks. "I wish the university well with their search and the program nothing but sustained success in the future."

There was no formal approach or proposal from Washington, but according to a source with knowledge of the situation, there was an informal inquiry about Mora's availability through intermediaries and the message was conveyed to UW that Mora would not be a candidate.

The Seahawks have signed Mora to be their head coach beginning in 2009. Mora had not previously talked publicly about the UW job since it opened, deferring questions from the media on Thursday.

Washington is beginning the process of choosing its next football coach after Monday's announcement that Tyrone Willingham will not be back as coach in 2009.

Mora is a favorite of many UW fans due to his ties with the school. He played at Washington under Don James and served as a graduate assistant for one season before entering the NFL as an assistant coach with San Diego in 1985. His father, Jim Mora, was an assistant under James from 1975-77.

Mora came to the Seahawks in 2007 after the Atlanta Falcons fired him as their head coach. During that season he had characterized the Huskies position as his "dream job" during a radio interview with KJR-AM in Seattle. Mora later said he was simply joking on the air with one of the hosts, Hugh Millen, his college roommate.

Mora signed a contract to become the next Seahawks coach in February after he interviewed for the vacant head-coaching position with the Washington Redskins. Mora withdrew himself from consideration for the Redskins job and was subsequently hired to be the Seahawks' head coach after Mike Holmgren completed his 10th and final season in charge of the team.

The Huskies are just beginning their search for a new coach with Willingham agreeing to stay on to coach the rest of the season, which ends Dec. 6 at California.

The school is expected to soon assemble a search committee to aid in the process, though the ultimate decision on a new coach will be made by president Mark Emmert and athletic director Scott Woodward.

With Mora out of the picture, rumors will shift focus to other candidates. One of the leading candidates could be Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, a former UW assistant under James. Pinkel declined to comment on the UW job this week when asked by reporters in Missouri.

Other possible candidates include Pat Hill of Fresno State, Chris Petersen of Boise State, former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick, Utah's Kyle Whittingham, TCU's Gary Patterson, California's Jeff Tedford, Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun.

Kiffin and Sarkisian have each publicly expressed interest in the job in the past week.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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