California's Highest-Paid State Employee Needs a Job

Jim Mora during his time as head football coach at UCLA. (Don Ryan / AP)

Take a guess what the highest-paid state employee in California does for work. Doctor, human rights lawyer, chancellor, first responder?

No, that would be college football coach—and he no longer has his job.

On Sunday, UCLA fired head coach Jim Mora after six seasons, a day after the Bruins lost for the third consecutive year to crosstown rival University of Southern California in the battle for Los Angeles bragging rights.

Mora went 46-30 at UCLA and got the ax on his 56th birthday, but don’t shed any tears. According to, the former coach still is owed about $12.36 million from the university and was scheduled to make around $3.7 million a year through 2021. Before bonuses.

Mora said in a statement later Sunday that he wanted to thank [UCLA athletic director Dan] Guerrero and the administration “for giving me the chance to work at a great institution for the past six years. Coaching student-athletes at UCLA has been the most rewarding experience of my career, and I know the future is bright for the program.”

He thanked the “outstanding coaches” for their efforts, and the student-athletes he’d had “the privilege to work with.”

“Again, thank you for the opportunity to be the head football coach at UCLA. It has truly been an honor.

California is the largest state in the union by population and has the world’s sixth largest economy.

You can’t blame Mora for getting paid. But his salary is just one more example of how out of whack U.S. and global priorities are.

Eric Ortiz
Eric Ortiz is a journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at…
Eric Ortiz

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