Jim Mora – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
New Orleans Saints
In 10-and-half seasons as the head coach of New Orleans Saints (1986-96), Jim Mora led the Saints to an overall mark of 93-74, including their first four playoff appearances. His 93 wins more than tripled any coach that came before him (the organization had only won a total of 90 games in the 19 years before Mora’s arrival) and still ranks No. 2 in Saints history behind Sean Payton.
In 1987, Mora and general manager Jim Finks led the Saints to their first-ever winning season and subsequently their first-ever playoff appearance as he was named the NFL Coach of the Year. In 1991, Mora directed the Saints to their first NFC West Division Championship.
In a 2021 interview with NewOrleanSaints.com, Mora talked about taking the Saints job, despite their less-than-auspicious history, “I had a chance to meet Jim Finks for the first time, it was sometime probably in December, we met in Philadelphia in the airport. And he had just been hired as the GM and president. I walked out of that meeting and I wanted to be the head coach of the New Orleans Saints. There was no question in my mind that I wanted it. One of the reasons I wanted it was I had a lot of respect for Jim. I’d met Tom Benson before and I had a lot of respect for him, and it’s so important as a head coach to feel that way about your owner and your president and GM. And I really wanted that job, but he hadn’t offered it to me. He told me they needed to interview a few more guys. And the Super Bowl was going to be in New Orleans that year in January, and he said, ‘I’ve got to wait for that, I’ve got to interview some more guys,’ and that kind of stuff. But he sounded interested. It wasn’t like he wasn’t interested, I could feel some interest there. But I wanted it bad. And then when he called me and told me they had decided to hire me I was extremely excited. And one of the things that I liked about that job was that they had not had success for a long time. And I felt like – and I’d done some research into the team, the players – I felt like if we could go in there and win, that it would be big for the city, big for the organization. It would be something you’d be proud of, that I would be proud of.”
After his tenure with the Saints, the California product coached the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2002.
After his coaching days, he worked as an NFL radio and television analyst on many stations, including the NFL Network.