|UCLA's Jim Mora is a target of Texas for the vacant coaching position, according to a report.|
Just when it seemed as if the Texas coaching search had been narrowed down to a short list of finalists, UCLA head coach Jim Mora has emerged as a candidate.
The Longhorns and Mora's representatives spoke Thursday, ESPN.com reported.
Mora, 52, is 19-8 in two seasons with the Bruins and has shown a mastery of talent procurement and development. Add in his media savvy, and Mora would check all the boxes necessary to replace Mack Brown in one of the most coveted and stressful jobs in college football.
However, Mora already secured one lucrative contract extension from UCLA after his alma mater Washington expressed interest in hiring him last month. He also refuted interest from Texas, saying it was "flattering." And with a neutral-site game between UCLA and Texas set for this September, it could all be too awkward for Mora to make a move to the 40 Acres at this moment.
Others up for the vacancy include Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, Baylor head coach Art Briles and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, though the latter two have also signed contract extensions.
Strong reportedly interviewed for the job last week with Texas athletic director Steve Patterson.
But leave it to former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs to take things back to the outlandish, after Texas had already abandoned its pursuit of Nick Saban, Bill Belichick and the ghost of Vince Lombardi.
"They should hire Jon Gruden," McCombs told the San Antonio Express-News. "I think he's the best football coach out there. And he's available."
Gruden, the color analyst on "Monday Night Football," has repeatedly declined interest in vacancies at the college and NFL levels over the past few seasons, but that doesn't seem to matter to the billionare Texas booster.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.