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Image from Kirby Lee/US Presswire

UCLA went 9-4 this year, but their record doesn’t tell the whole story. Jim Mora, their new head coach, took a team with an image of being “soft” or “undisciplined”, and implemented a major cultural shift.

The UCLA athletic department seemed to be comfortable with a 6-7 win season. Jim Mora changed that. He created a winning culture that says “we won’t rest on our laurels. Our goal is to be the very best.” He held his coaching staff and players accountable, and he put his money where his mouth is. If a coach or player shirked their responsibility, there were repercussions—as is the case with three players that got kicked off the team for not following rules.

Because of Jim Mora’s leadership and cultural changes, combined with the raw talent UCLA had, the team already looks dramatically better. As the years progress, this team will only get better. Mora has brought in some of the top recruiters, and soon enough the team will begin to be filled with his own recruits. 

Give Jim Mora your vote as Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year 2012 at: http://coachoftheyear.com